From Arkansaw to Arkansas

The District of Louisiana was organized into the Louisiana Territory in 1805 by the United States Congress. When the state of Louisiana joined the Union in 1812, the Territory was renamed "Missouri" to avoid confusion. The future area of Carroll County was located in the New Madrid County of the Missouri Territory. In fact, the new Missouri Territory encompassed the entire future area of the State of Arkansas until 1819, when the Territory of Arkansaw was organized. The name "Arkansaw" is said to have been derived from a French translation of the Illinois tribe's word for the Quapaw tribe - Akansea, meaning "land of downriver people". The spelling was soon changed, and in 1836, the State or Arkansas was the 25th state to join the Union. However, the correct pronunciation of "Arkansas" wouldn't be determined until 1881, when the Arkansas state legislature passed a bill to designate the official pronunciation of the state's name.

As if all of this wasn't confusing enough for the local population, Arkansas also decided to change its official state abbreviation in 1963, from "Ark" to "AR"!