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Arkansas State Symbols

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Welcome to Arkansas, the Natural State. With nearly three dozen state symbols, Arkansas appears to be a pretty average state. But Arkansans can’t seem to make up their minds.

Or should we call them Arkansians? How about Arkies? Some residents prefer to be called Arkansawyers. (Continued below)

Arkansas State Flag
Nicknames & Slogans
Nicknames The Natural State, Hot Water State, Bowie State, Toothpick State 1995
(former) Land of Opportunity 1953
(former) Wonder State 1923
Symbols of State
Motto Regnat Populus 1907
Anthem Arkansas 1987
Song Arkansas (You Run Deep in Me) 1987
Song Oh, Arkansas 1987
(former) Arkansas 1963
(former) The Arkansas Traveler 1949
(former) Arkansas 1917
Historical Song The Arkansas Traveler 1987
EcoSymbols
Flower apple blossom (Malus) 1901
Tree pine (Pinus) 1939
Fruit and Vegetable South Arkansas vine ripe pink tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) 1987
Grape Cynthiana grape (Vitis aestivalis) 2009
Nut pecan (Carya illinoinensis) 2009
Grain rice (Oryza) 2007
Bird mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) 1929
Mammal white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) 1993
Primitive Fish alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) 2019
Insect honeybee (Apis mellifera) Redundant Symbol 1973
Butterfly Diana fritillary butterfly (Speyeria diana) 2007
Mineral quartz crystal 1967
Gemstone diamond 1967
Rock bauxite 1967
Dinosaur † Arkansaurus fridayi 2017
Soil Stuttgart 1997
Cultural Symbols
Historic Cooking Vessel Dutch Oven 2001
Beverage milk Redundant Symbol 1985
Musical Instrument fiddle 1985
Folk Dance square dance Redundant Symbol 1991
Language English Redundant Symbol 1987
Flag Salute 1953
Creed 1972

If you think that’s confusing, check out Arkansas’ state songs and nicknames. Talk about musical chairs?

Arkansawyers have changed their state song at least three times. Today, the state has four official songs. Do you see a pattern?

  • “Arkansas”
  • “Oh, Arkansas”
  • “The Arkansas Traveler”
  • “Arkansas (You Run Deep in Me)”

The main theme is Arkansas. But what is Arkansas?

Name Games ˆ

The nickname Bear State recalls the bears that were once so numerous in Arkansas. Another nickname, Bowie State, was inspired by the famous Bowie knife. The nickname Toothpick State also refers to Bowie knives.

Arkansas’ state motto is Regnat Populus (“The People Rule”).

Hot Springs, Arkansas was named for its famous warm water springs. It gave birth to yet another nickname, Hot Water State. Arkansas is also famous for its limestone caves. Its caves and hot water springs probably inspired the nickname Wonder State, which was officially adopted in 1923.

In 1953, the nickname was changed to Land of Opportunity. This nickname reflected political or economic interests.

In 1995, the official nickname was changed once again to my favorite: the Natural State.

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If you think state flags and flowers are nothing more than trivia, guess again. A thorough exploration of the more than 1,500 items adopted as state symbols embraces geography, history, and psychology.

You have found the best state symbols website, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The introduction above is adapted from Geobop’s State Symbols and My State Symbols Book, by far the biggest and most detailed state symbols references ever. You can learn still more about the symbols of the 50 states in the books Flag Quest and Grading the States. (Learn more about them here.)

After you spend some time exploring your favorite state’s symbols, you can come back here and tell us what you think about them.

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