Arkansas Post (1686-1821) - A series of posts, forts, and communities established starting in 1686 near present-day Gillett, Arkansas County, Arkansas. Finally named Arkansas Post by anglicizing the name of the then Fort San Estevan de Arkanzas, the last European (Spanish) post on the site when it was taken over by the U.S. in 1804 as a result of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. Abandoned as a fortification in 1821. During the U.S. Civil War, the Confederates built Fort Hindman here in 1861 and that fort was destroyed by Union forces in 1863 and occupied by them until the end of the war in 1865.
From the very beginning fortifications built in this area were periodically forced to relocate by the annual spring flooding of the Arkansas River. Not only did the flooding damage the fortifications but it also caused the river to change paths until in 1903 the river moved completely away from the area leaving it without river access.
Poste de Arkansea (French)
The French Explorer La Salle visited the area in 1682 and later gave a land grant and trading concession to his trusted lieutenant Henri de Tonty. In 1686 de Tonty had ten men build a cabin and a crude fort at this location on the Arkansas River. His post predated the establishment of New Orleans in 1718 by some 32 years.
In the late spring of 1687, Henri Joutel and the other survivors of La Salle's ill-fated Fort St. Louis on Matagorda Bay in Texas reached the edge of the Arkansas River, where they discovered a large cross and a short distance away, the Poste de Arkansas.
The original French site was abandoned by 1699 due to a glut of beaver pelts and competition from the British.
Fort Les Arcansas (French)
In 1721 the post was reestablished as Fort Les Arcansas with a French military garrison. It was rebuilt in 1748 near Lake Dumond and rebuilt again in 1752.
Fort San Carlos (5) (Spanish)
The Spanish took control of the post in 1765 as a result of the French defeat in the French & Indian War. They renamed the post Fort San Carlos (1765-1779)
Fort Carlos III (Spanish)
In 1779 the fort was moved back to the site of the old French settlement and was renamed Fort Carlos III. The fort had a stockade with one 3-pounder gun in each bastion and manned by just 30 troops. In April 1783 the fort was attacked by the British and Indians but they were unable to overcome the garrison. This was the only battle of the American Revolution to take place in Arkansas.
Fort San Estevan de Arkanzas (Spanish)
Extensive flooding forced a new fort to be built and it was named Fort San Estevan de Arkanzas (1791-1804, rebuilt 1796). Even though the French took control of Louisiana in 1800, the Spanish never relinquished their forts in the territory until the Americans bought the Louisiana Territory.
Arkansas Post (American)
The Americans then took over in 1804 after purchasing the Louisiana Territory from the French in 1803. A government Indian Factory for the Quapaw Indian Agency was located here from March 1805 to November 1810.
Fort Hindman (American)
Confederate troops built an 11-gun earthen fort here called Fort Hindman (1861-1863). The Union destroyed it in January 1863 after the Confederates surrendered and evacuated. The site of the fort is now underwater.
Now the Arkansas Post National Memorial.
Visited: 5 Sep 2020