Little Rock, city (1990 pop. 175,795), state capital and seat of Pulaski co., central Ark., on the Arkansas River; inc. 1831. It is a river port and the administrative, commercial, transportation, and cultural center of the state. The city's industries process agricultural products, fish, beef, poultry, and bauxite and timber. Its manufacturing industries are closely related with those of North Little Rock across the river.
The settlement was a well-known river crossing when Arkansas Territory was established in 1819. It became territorial capital in 1821 and state capital when Arkansas entered the Union in 1836. In the Civil War the battle of Little Rock (1863) was fought there. The city became a center of world attention in 1957, when federal troops were sent there to enforce a 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling against segregation in the public schools.
Little Rock is the seat of Philander Smith College, Arkansas Baptist College, the Univ. of Arkansas at Little Rock, and several other branches of the university, including the law and medical schools. Of interest are the beautiful Old State House, which served as capitol from 1836 to 1910 and is now a museum; several other museums, including the Arkansas Arts Center; and the Clinton presidential library. The present capitol building was built in 1911. The city also contains several state institutions and has a noteworthy symphony orchestra. Little Rock Air Force Base is in nearby Jacksonville.