One of the first Europeans to explore the Great Lakes, French explorer Henri de Tonti established the first European settlement in the lower Mississippi Valley in 1686 called Poste de Arkansas, or Arkansas Post.
The outpost was meant to facilitate the fur trade between the French and the Quapaw, and was also strategically important to the French, Spanish and English for its control of the Mississippi River Valley. It was briefly the territory’s capital before it was moved to the more central Little Rock.
For his role in founding Arkansas Post Henri de Tonti known as the “father of Arkansas.”
– Margaret Willard, The 100 Companies