Camden, Arkansas

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Camden is a city in and the county seat of Ouachita County in the southern part of the U.S. state of Arkansas. Long an area of American Indians villages, the French also made a permanent settlement here because of its advantageous location above the Ouachita River. [2] According to 2007 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 11,657.[3] Camden is the principal city of the Camden Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Ouachita and Calhoun counties.



Indigenous peoples of various cultures had lived along the rivers of Arkansas for thousands of years and created complex societies. Mississippian culture peoples built massive earthwork mounds along the Ouachita River beginning about 1000 CE. Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto recorded the mounds and Indian occupants in his expedition through the area in 1540.

In 1783, this area was part of New France. A French trader named Fabre settled on a bluff above the Ouachita River and called the settlement Écore Fabre (Faber’s Bluff). This was the first European permanent settlement of what would become Camden. He traded with the Ouachita and other American Indians who inhabited the area.

The city of Camden marks its founding as 1824, after the Louisiana Purchase brought a wave of migrants from the Southern United States. They developed farmlands as cotton plantations and transported thousands of enslaved African Americans into the area for labor. The city was not incorporated and officially named “Camden” until 1844. Some controversy exists over the origin of the name, but most agree it is named for Camden, Alabama, the hometown of General Thomas Woodward, another early city founder. Prior to the name change from Écore Fabre to Camden, the location was simply known as "The Bluff".

During the American Civil War, Camden was occupied for several months in 1864 by Union soldiers as part of the Union army's ill-fated Red River Campaign. The Confederates won the Battle of Poison Springs west of the city on April l8, 1864.

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