The Arkansas Chiefdom was one of the four early chiefdoms of the Confederacy of the Arkansas. It was easternmost chiefdom, sharing borders with the U.S. states of Missouri, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The Chiefdom of Arkansas was unique in that it was not founded by a relocated Indian tribe, but by the Iron Battallion, a former United States Army unit made-up primarily of Negro soldiers that had fled the United States in the aftermath of the Battle of Algiers in 1820. Consequently, as more states of the U.S. passed Freedmen Exclusion Acts, former slaves, as well as some abolitionists and sympathetic whites, made their way to the Arkansas Chiefdom. By 1824, there were nearly eighty thousand blacks and ten thousand whites within the Chiefdom.
Arkansas Chiefdom had adopted a republican model and used Cherokee terminology. There were several chiefs within the Chiefdom, but the Principal Chief was the equivalent of the State Governor. Throughout its early history, Patrick Driscol, leader of the Iron Battallion was the unanimously elected Principal Chief.
As Arkansas Chiefdom shared a border with the U.S., Driscol implimented a policy of military preparedness, including conscription, making Arkansas Chiefdom the defensive bulwark of the Confederacy. This created tensions with the other Chiefdoms, which were not nearly as militarly developed and so relied almost exclusively on Arkansas Chiefdom for defence, a state of affairs that created substantial tensions among the Chiefdoms. Adding to this tension was the fact that while Arkansas Chiefdom did not permit slavery, other chiefdoms did.