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Arkansas City () is a city in Cowley County, Kansas, United States, situated at the confluence of the Arkansas and Walnut rivers in the southwestern part of the county. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 12,415.
The name of this city is not pronounced like the nearby state of Arkansas, but rather as (the final "s" is pronounced). Over the years there has been much confusion about the regional pronunciation of "Arkansas", which locals render as rather than . Throughout much of Kansas, residents use this alternative pronunciation when referring to the Arkansas River, as well as Arkansas Street in the city of Wichita.
Present-day Arkansas City sits on the site of an ancestral Wichita city, Etzanoa, which flourished from 1450 to 1700 and had an estimated population of 20,000.
In 1601, New Mexico Governor Juan de Oñate led an expedition across the Great Plains and found a large settlement of Indians he called Rayados. They lived along the Walnut River in the eastern part of Arkansas City. Extensive remains of Indian settlements have been found along six miles (9.7 km) of the Walnut River. The Rayados were the ancestors of the Indians later called Wichita. Wichita settlements from the 18th century are also found a few miles south of Arkansas City on the west bank of the Arkansas River.
European-American settlers first congregated in the area where Arkansas City now stands in the 1860s. Local Native Americans referred to the place as Nichonka, which roughly translates as "place between the waters," a reference to the confluence of the Arkansas and Walnut rivers.
Settlers established a town in 1870.
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