Maritime History

Arkansas, although a land locked state, has a long, deep, and direct connection with the maritime trades and with naval and maritime history. Many of her sons and daughters have “gone to sea in ships”. Some, like Charles Cooke of Fort Smith, rose to positions of great leadership in the Navy.

Even today, Arkansas continues to be connected to maritime issues. For example, the red and green lights on the bow of a bass boat are there because of international maritime regulations and the blue and white “Alpha” flag is an international maritime flag flown to indicate that a vessel has divers down.

Arkansas ranks #1 in the US in minnow farming and #2 in catfish farming. The aquaculture industry in Arkansas has a value of over $125 million annually.

In addition, nearly 13 million tons of cargo were moved along the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System in 2004 alone. Over 500,000 trucks would have been needed to carry the same tonnage. Major cargo includes chemicals, agricultural products and petroleum products. Cargo to or from at least forty two different countries has traveled the river. The river isn’t just traveled by barges, either (or just by submarines).

Specific Maritime History Topics

Admiral Charles M. “Savvy” Cooke, Jr.