Arkansas was part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, which was the largest land acquisition in U.S. history, and the state was later admitted to the Union as the 25th state on June 15, 1836.

Columbia County, located in the southwestern region of Arkansas, has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Caddo, Quapaw, and Osage. In the early 1800s, European settlers began to arrive, attracted by the fertile land and abundant natural resources.

The county was established in 1852 and was named after Christopher Columbus, the famed explorer. Agriculture quickly became the main economic activity in Columbia County, with cotton being the dominant crop. The county saw a significant increase in population as more settlers arrived to work in the cotton fields and to establish their own homesteads.

During the American Civil War, Columbia County, like many others in the region, was deeply divided. The county saw both Union and Confederate sympathizers and experienced frequent skirmishes between the two factions. The presence of the war meant that many plantations and farms were abandoned, leading to economic hardship and social unrest.

After the war, Columbia County faced challenges in rebuilding its economy. The decline of the cotton industry and the onset of the Great Depression in the early 20th century further impacted the county's prosperity. However, the discovery of oil in the region in the 1920s provided a much-needed boost to the economy. Today, Columbia County continues to have a diverse economy, with agriculture, timber, and oil being important industries. The county also boasts a rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical sites and landmarks that showcase its unique history.

  • 1836 - Columbia County is created by the Arkansas legislature.
  • 1837 - The first steamboat arrives in Columbia County, bringing the first non-indigenous settlers.
  • 1844 - The city of Magnolia is founded as the county seat.
  • 1861-1865 - Columbia County residents serve in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.
  • 1883 - The St. Louis Southwestern Railway, also known as the Cotton Belt, reaches Magnolia.
  • 1902 - Southern Arkansas University is established in Magnolia.
  • 1930s - The Great Depression leads to economic struggles in Columbia County.
  • 1950s-1960s - Racial segregation and civil rights issues impact Columbia County, as does the construction of Interstate 20.
  • 1978 - The county courthouse in Magnolia is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1997 - A tornado causes significant damage in and around Magnolia.
  • 2000s - Columbia County experiences growth and economic diversification.