Fort Smith is Arkansas' second largest city and its most important manufacturing center. Its factories produce over 100 different products. The city lies on the Arkansas River on the border with Oklahoma, and is an important port in the Arkansas River Navigation System.
Fort Smith was founded in 1817 as a US army fort to keep peace between the Osage and Cherokee Indians. It was named after the military district commander, General Thomas A. Smith. The city was incorporated in 1885. Growth was fueled by natural gas which was discovered nearby in 1900.