Little Rock is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arkansas. It is also the county seat of Pulaski County. It was incorporated on November 7, 1831, on the south bank of the Arkansas River close to the state's geographic center. The city derives its name from a rock formation along the river, named the "Little Rock" (French: La Petite Roche) by the French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe in the 1720s. The capital of the Arkansas Territory was moved to Little Rock from Arkansas Post in 1821. The city's population was 193,524 at the 2010 census. The six-county Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is ranked 78th in terms of population in the United States with 738,344 residents according to the 2017 estimate by the United States Census Bureau.
Little Rock is a cultural, economic, government, and transportation center within Arkansas and the South. Several cultural institutions are in Little Rock, such as the Arkansas Arts Center, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, in addition to the hiking, boating, and other outdoor recreational opportunities. Little Rock's history is available through history museums, historic districts or neighborhoods like the Quapaw Quarter, and historic sites such as Little Rock Central High School. The city is the headquarters of Dillard's, Windstream Communications, Acxiom, Stephens Inc., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Heifer International, the Clinton Foundation, and the Rose Law Firm. Other large corporations, such as Dassault Falcon Jet and LM Wind Power have large operations in the city. State government is a large employer, with many offices being in downtown Little Rock. Two Interstate highways, Interstate 30 and Interstate 40, meet in Little Rock, with the Port of Little Rock serving as a shipping hub.
Little Rock derives its name from a small rock formation on the south bank of the Arkansas River called the "Little Rock" (French: La Petite Roche). The Little Rock was used by early river traffic as a landmark and became a well-known river crossing. The Little Rock is across the river from The Big Rock, a large bluff at the edge of the river, which was once used as a rock quarry.
Archeological artifacts provide evidence of Native Americans inhabiting Central Arkansas for thousands of years before Europeans arrived. The early inhabitants may have been the Folsom people, Bluff Dwellers, and Mississippian culture peoples who built earthwork mounds recorded in 1541 by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. Historical tribes of the area were the Caddo, Quapaw, Osage, Choctaw, and Cherokee.
Little Rock was named for a stone outcropping on the bank of the Arkansas River used by early travelers as a landmark. It was named in 1722 by French explorer and trader Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe, marked the transition from the flat Mississippi Delta region to the Ouachita Mountain foothills. Travelers referred to the area as the "Little Rock." Though there was an effort to officially name the city "Arkopolis" upon its founding in the 1820s, and that name did appear on a few maps made by the US Geological Survey, the name Little Rock is eventually what stuck.
Little Rock is located at (34.736009, −92.331122).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 116.8 square miles (303 km2), of which 116.2 square miles (301 km2) is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) (0.52%) is water.