Little Rock was founded by a French explorer Bernard de la Harpe who called attention to the area in 1722 with reference to the rock formations he called La Petite Roche and La Grande Roche on the banks of the Arkansas River. The location of the "little rock" was a splendid site for a river crossing. Soon economic trade began and in 1831, Little Rock was incorporated. During reconstruction in the 1870s, Little Rock's population soared from 4,000 to 12,000 making it the largest city in the state. Rapid growth continued through the 1920s.
In 1916, Little Rock completed the Arkansas State Capitol, which is the third one for the state. All three of these still survive, making Arkansas the only state to have three capitol buildings.
Today, the growth rate of Little Rock has slowed, but Little Rock still holds the largest city title for the state, with a population of over 500,000 in the greater Little Rock area.