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It Started Here: Early Arkansas and the Louisiana Purchase

It Started Here: Early Arkansas and the Louisiana Purchase

Larry Foley
Arkansas Educational Television Network

No single acquisition of land did more to shape the United States than the Louisiana Purchase. But when Thomas Jefferson bought the land from France in 1803, the boundaries and features of the territory were largely unknown. The quest to map and measure that mysterious land began at the territory’s edge in a wilderness that would one day be known as the state of Arkansas.

Produced through a collaboration between the University, Arkansas Educa-tional Television Network and the Arkan-sas Secretary of State’s Office, “It Started Here: Early Arkansas and the Louisiana Purchase” explores the history of Arkansas from 1803 to 1836, beginning with its role in surveying the Louisiana territory.

Written and directed by associate professor of journalism Larry Foley, with camerawork by alumnus Trey Marley and original music by professor James Greeson, the 30-minute documentary uses the survey as the starting point of a story that covers broad historical terrain.

The film addresses the history of the Arkansas Post, oldest settlement west of the Mississippi River, and the founding of Fort Smith, built to keep peace between two warring American Indian tribes. It touches upon the lives of the Quapaw, Osage and Cherokee Indians in Arkansas and describes the New Madrid earthquake that shook the region around 1811.

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