Alabama, which joined the union as the 22nd state in 1819, is located in the southern United States and nicknamed the “Heart of Dixie.” The region that became Alabama was occupied by aboriginals as early as some 10,000 years ago. Europeans reached the area in the 16th century. During the first half of the 19th century, cotton and slave labor were central to Alabama’s economy. The state played a key role in the American Civil War; its capital, Montgomery, was the Confederacy’s first capital. Following the war, segregation of blacks and whites prevailed throughout much of the South. In the mid-20th century, Alabama was at the center of the American Civil Rights Movement and home to such pivotal events as the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In the early 21st century, the state’s economy was fueled in part by jobs in aerospace, agriculture, auto production and the service sector.

Date of Statehood: December 14, 1819

Capital: Montgomery

Population: 4,779,736 (2010)

Size: 52,420 square miles

Nickname(s): The Yellowhammer State; The Heart of Dixie; The Cotton State

Motto: Audemus jura nostra defendere (“We dare maintain our rights”)

Tree: Southern Longleaf Pine

Flower: Camellia

Bird: Yellowhammer Woodpecker (Northern Flicker)

Interesting Facts

  • In 1919, the city of Enterprise erected a monument to the boll weevil in recognition of the destructive insect’s role in saving the county’s economy by encouraging farmers to grow more lucrative crops such as peanuts instead of traditional cotton.
  • The DeSoto Caverns near the city of Birmingham, which contain a 2,000-year-old Native American burial site, served as a clandestine speakeasy with dancing and gambling during Prohibition.
  • Alabama was the first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday, in 1836.
  • The Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American flying unit in the U.S. military, were trained in Alabama. Their accomplished combat record, including the accumulation of more than 850 medals, was an important factor in President Truman’s decision to desegregate armed forces in 1948.
  • In 1965, five months before President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act prohibiting discriminatory voting practices, thousands of non-violent protesters joined a 54-mile Selma to Montgomery march to bring attention to the injustice African Americans faced when attempting to register to vote.
  • The Saturn V rocket that made it possible for humans to land on the moon was designed in Huntsville, Alabama.


Alabama - HISTORY

The land that is today the state of Alabama was originally settled by two groups of Native Americans: the Cherokee and the Muskogee peoples. The Muskogee peoples included the Choctaw, the Creek, and the Chickasaw tribes. They were organized into clans such as the Bear Clan and the Fox Clan. They lived in small villages in domed-shaped homes with thatched roofs. The Cherokee lived in the northern portion of Alabama.

The first European to arrive in the area was Spanish explorer Alonso Alvarez de Pineda in 1519. More Spanish explorers arrived in the early 1500s including Hernando de Soto in 1540. The Spanish were only searching for gold, however, and did not settle the land.

The first European settlement, Fort Louis, was established by the French in 1702. In 1711, the fort was destroyed by a flood and the location was moved to the current site of Mobile, Alabama. In the 1700's, Europeans began to move to Alabama to farm the land. Many of them came from France and Canada. Originally most of the people settled around Mobile and left the rest of the land to the Native Americans.

Alabama Capitol Building
by Carol M. Highsmith

Fighting over the Land

Alabama was controlled by the French until the French and Indian War broke out in 1754 between Britain and France. The local Indians sided with the French because they didn't want the British to take their land. However, the British won the war and took control in 1763. Alabama once again changed hands after the War of 1812 when it became part of the United States. In 1817, the U.S. Congress created the Alabama Territory with the city of Saint Stephens serving as the first capital.

During the War of 1812 the Creek Indians sided with the British. Andrew Jackson of the United States fought against the Creek and won. The Indians were then forced to sign treaties handing over much of their land to the United States.

Alabama became the 22nd state on December 14, 1819. The first capital city was Huntsville. The capital later moved to other cities including Cahaba and Tuscaloosa before finally moving permanently to Montgomery in 1846.

In order to help work the land, slaves were brought in from Africa. Over the years, slaves became an important part of the local economy. By 1860, out of the 964,000 people in the state, 435,000 were slaves.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Alabama seceded from the Union of the United States and joined the Confederate States of America. Some battles were fought in Alabama including the Battle of Mobile Bay, the Battle of Fort Blakely, and the Battle of Selma. Alabama also sent soldiers and supplies to the Confederate Army fighting in other regions of the country. After losing the war, the slaves in Alabama were freed. The state came under military rule from 1865 to 1868 and was under Reconstruction until 1874.

Although the slaves had been freed after the Civil War, African Americans were still subject to discrimination and segregation. Laws called Jim Crow laws created separate schools, restaurants, drinking fountains, and more. Alabama became the center of the Civil Rights Movement with African Americans such as Martin Luther King, Jr. leading the way. Major civil rights protests in the state included the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Birmingham Campaign, and the march from Selma to Montgomery.

Rosa Parks by Unknown

Territorial Period and Early Statehood

Mississippi Territory The early history of Alabama as a territory and a state was marked by an increasing number of Americans migrating into the region that, with the United States' continual expansion westward, became known as the "Old Southwest." As these migrants, rich and poor, white and black, free and enslaved, travelled southward, they brought with them traditions of government, labor, culture, and social order, all of which would shape life on America's southern frontier. The period was marked by turbulent relations with Native Americans, the development of a cotton-based economy dependent on enslaved labor, and political conflict between two political factions within state government, one based in the Black Belt region and the other centered in the northern hill country. Benjamin Hawkins and the Creek Indians Alabama's Native American residents, predominantly members of the Creek, Cherokee, and Choctaw nations, played a central role during the state's territorial period as conflicts between Indians and white settlers during the early 1800s paved the way for the creation of the state of Alabama. Indian frustrations over white land claims and the resulting Creek War of 1813-14 were rooted in the policies known as the "plan of civilization" initiated during Pres. George Washington's administration. With orders from the federal government, Indian agent Benjamin Hawkins pressed southeastern Indians to adopt white methods of education, agriculture, and labor systems that relied on enslaved African Americans and urged them to accept white clothing styles, gender roles, and Christianity. White expansionists felt that by accepting these and other characteristics, Native Americans would assimilate into mainstream American culture and abandon their vast hunting lands more quickly to white settlers. Not all Indian peoples resisted the transformation. One eighteenth-century Creek leader who embraced aspects of both European and Creek culture was Alexander McGillivray, the son of a prominent Creek woman and a Scottish deerskin trader who ultimately became one of Georgia's leading citizens. Well-read and affluent, McGillivray emerged in the 1780s and 1790s as an influential politician who bridged the divide between early American leaders and Creek peoples by centralizing Creek power and managing the affairs of the Creek Nation. Ultimately, he was recognized by the Washington administration as the most important of the Creek leaders. Yet, the opportunity to expose internal division in Indian societies over "civilization" presented itself as the War of 1812 between Americans and the British seemingly ran parallel with the internal Creek War in the southeastern United States. During the Creek War, the United States sided with the Lower Creeks led by men like McGillivray who had accepted and profited from the new order but who were directly challenged by Upper Creeks engaged in a religious revival movement centered on defending "traditional" Indian life. The pan-Indian leader Tecumseh and his Massacre at Fort Mims followers, known as Red Sticks, led this movement to reject white culture. Andrew Jackson's defeat of the Creek insurgency at Tohopeka, or Horseshoe Bend, in March 1814 won him national fame for subduing Indian opposition to white expansion. This and other engagements like those at or Burnt Corn Creek and Fort Mims demonstrated the complexity of the evolving relationships between white Americans, Indian residents, and their mixed-ancestry children on the Alabama frontier. Jackson's own presidency ensured that the Creek War was not the last time the Indian inhabitants of Alabama would be forced to deal with the federal government's support of white expansion. Treaty of Fort Jackson Whereas some historians have considered the land-hungry migrants from neighboring southern states such as Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and the Carolinas as "settlers," other historians view the settlement of Alabama differently. They perceive the migration phenomenon commonly referred to as "catching Alabama fever" as a second wave of in-migration that built upon roughly two centuries of European encroachment. Fueling this influx during the early 1800s was the idea commonly held among white migrants that this new territory represented a frontier filled with opportunity. In the Old Southwest, the possibility of a new beginning enticed migrants whose opportunities for land ownership had narrowed in older southern states. In addition to the poorer whites looking for cheap land came the sons of Virginia and South Carolina planters as well as those who had settled briefly in Georgia, such as members of the Broad River Group. These men carried with them the capital to establish themselves as the frontier's social and political elites. Emerging conflicts between these two classes of new migrants manifested themselves in land sales and the creation of the state's first constitution. William Wyatt Bibb In frontier Alabama, and throughout its formative period, political ideologies clashed and co-mingled as politicians attempted to form a state government that all members of the body politic could support. Alabama's early governors and party stalwarts embraced these ideological debates as interest-group politics emerged. The majority of elite Alabamians concentrated in the Black Belt and in Huntsville supported the "Georgia faction," led by the state's first governor, William Wyatt Bibb (1819-20), and his brother and successor Governor Thomas Bibb (1820-21) individuals from the middling and lower classes sided with governors Israel Pickens (1821-25) and John Murphy (1825-29) as they championed the interests of the "common man" versus those of the landed and monied elite. Early Alabama possessed an active journalistic culture that offered a venue for many of these early political debates to take place. Various newspapers like the Cahawba Press and Alabama Intelligencer and Huntsville's Alabama Republican and Huntsville Democrat demonstrated the regional splits that expanded during Alabama's early decades. This conflict for consensus seems to be most clearly expressed during the negotiations for the permanent seat of the state's capital. Nevertheless, early Alabamians could act collectively when the opportunity to fashion themselves as frontier yet civilized and cultured Americans presented itself. In April 1825, French nobleman and Revolutionary State Capitol at Cahaba war hero the Marquis de la Lafayette journeyed through Alabama and attended lavish balls held in his honor at Montgomery, Cahawba and Mobile, costing the fledgling state an estimated $17,000. Alabamians long delighted in retelling how they entertained the hero the American and French Revolutions even as the experience left the young state facing an exorbitant debt.

Vine and Olive Colony Although settlers of the upper and lower river valleys were involved in some form of agriculture, the centrality of slave labor evolved differently in the two regions. Farmers small and large in these districts had early on experimented with growing indigo, olives, small grains like wheat, and grapes (such as the French settlers of the Vine and Olive Colony), but they soon directed their attention to the emerging cotton culture. The degrees to which Alabamians did so exacerbated regional differences by the close of the 1820s. At the beginning of the 1830s, planters who staked out lands in lower Alabama began raising cotton with the assistance of slave labor, while in the hilly upcountry the majority of the inhabitants' interests centered on small-scale subsistence agriculture. These regional divisions and their continued evolution would go on to affect state politics and daily life for all Alabamians throughout the early nineteenth century.

Abernethy, Thomas Perkins. The Formative Period in Alabama, 1815-1828. 1965. Reprint, Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1990.

Alabama History Timeline

The first inhabitants of the area we now call Alabama have been living here for thousands of years. One location in Alabama has proof that prehistoric Native Americans existed there 10,000 years ago. Today, this location is preserved as the Russell Cave National Monument. The cave provided shelter for these people, while the surrounding forest provided them with food and fuel. The artifacts from the cave indicate that the site was inhabited almost continuously from that time.

Alabama was populated by many Native American groups when Europeans arrived in the 1500s. These Native Americans were mostly unaffected until the French established a permanent settlement in 1699. In the 1700s many more Europeans moved into the area. Eventually these new residents would clash with various Native American groups, many of whom were organized as the Creek Confederacy.

16th Century Alabama History Timeline

1519 - Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda of Spain explores Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Mexico, including Mobile Bay.

1528 - 1536 - Spaniard Panfilo de Narvaez fails in Florida Gulf Coast colonization attempt.

1539 - 1541 - Hernando de Soto explores Southeast, meeting Chief Tuskaloosa (Tascaluza) in Battle of Maubila (October 1540).

1540 - October 18 - The largest Indian battle in North America occurs at the village of Mabila (or Mauvila) between Hernando de Soto's Spaniards and Chief Tuscaloosa's (or Tascaluza's) warriors. Accounts vary, but most agree that the Indian village and most of its more than 2,000 inhabitants were destroyed. The exact location of this battle has eluded researchers for centuries.

1559 -1561 - Don Tristan de Luna fails to establish permanent Spanish colony on Alabama-Florida coast.

17th Century Alabama History Timeline

1600 - Beginning of the rise of the historic tribes of Alabama - Muskogean-speaking Indian groups, remnants of the Mississippian chiefdoms, coalesces into the Creek Confederacy. Similar developments take place among the other heirs to the Mississippian tradition, creating the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Cherokee tribes.

18th Century Alabama History Timeline

1700's - Alabama was first explored by the Spanish.

1702 - January 6 - Le Moyne brothers, Iberville and Bienville, establish French fort and settlement at Twenty-seven Mile Bluff settlement and fort moved downriver to Mobile site, 1712.

1717 - Fort Toulouse on the Coosa River constructed to trade with the Indians and offset influence of British farthest eastward penetration of the French.

1720 - French Louisiana capital moved from Mobile west to Biloxi then to New Orleans (1722).

1721 - Africane sails into Mobile harbor with cargo of over 100 slaves.

1724 - French Code Noir extended from French West Indies to North American colonies, institutionalizing slavery in Mobile area.

1780 - Spanish capture Mobile during American Revolution and retain the West and East Floridas as part of war-ending treaty.

  • May 5 - US Army Lieutenant John McClary takes possession of Fort St. Stephens from the Spanish and the United States flag is raised for the first time on soil that would eventually belong to Alabama.
  • Andrew Ellicott surveys the boundary between the United States and Spanish West Florida and places a stone north of Mobile to mark the 31st latitude.

19th Century Alabama History Timeline

1802 - Georgia formally cedes western claims for its southern boundary at the 31st parallel.

1803 - 1811 - Federal Road conceived and built connecting Milledgeville, Georgia to Fort Stoddert, American outpost north of Mobile.

1805 - 1806 - Indian cessions opened up to white settlement large portions of western (Choctaw) and northern (Chickasaw and Cherokee) Alabama.

1810 - West Florida, from Pearl River to the Mississippi, annexed by US from Spain.

1811 - 1812 - Schools established in Mobile (Washington Academy 1811) and Huntsville (Green Academy 1812).

1811 - 1816 - Newspapers established in Mobile to the south (Sentinel May 11, 1811 Gazette 1812) and Huntsville to the north (Alabama Republican 1816).

1813 -1814 - Creek Indian War

  • July 27, 1813 - Battle of Burnt Corn Creek
  • August 30, 1813 - Fort Mims Massacre
  • December 1813 - Battle of Holy Ground
  • April, 1813 - US annexed West Florida, from the Pearl River to the Perdido River, from Spain Spanish surrender Mobile to American forces.
  • March 1814 - Battle of Horseshoe Bend
  • August 9, 1814 - The Treaty of Fort Jackson is finalized after warring Creeks, under the leadership of William Weatherford, aka Red Eagle, surrender to Gen. Andrew Jackson and cede their lands to the federal government. This event opened up half of the present state of Alabama to white settlement.
  • September, 1814 - British attack on Fort Bowyer on Mobile Point fails, prompting them to abandon plans to capture Mobile and turn towards New Orleans.

February, 1815 - British forces take Fort Bowyer on return from defeat at New Orleans, then abandon upon learning that the war is over.

1817 - March 3 - The Alabama Territory is created when Congress passes the enabling act allowing the division of the Mississippi Territory and the admission of Mississippi into the union as a state. Alabama would remain a territory for over two years before becoming the 22nd state in December 1819.

  • Janurary 19 - The first legislature of the Alabama Territory convenes at the Douglass Hotel in the territorial capital of St. Stephens. Attendance is sparse with twelve members of the House, representing seven counties, and only one member of the Senate conducting the business of the new territory.
  • The Alabama, the area's first steamboat, constructed in St. Stephens.
  • Cedar Creek Furnace, the state's first blast furnace and commercial pig-iron producer, established in present-day Franklin County.
  • November 21 - Cahaba, located at the confluence of the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers, is designated by the territorial legislature as Alabama's state capital. Huntsville would serve for a short time as the temporary capital. The selection of Cahaba was a victory for the Coosa/Alabama River contingent, which won-out over a Tennessee/Tombigbee Rivers alliance group that wanted to place the capital at Tuscaloosa. The power struggle would continue between the two sections of the state in 1826 the capital was moved to Tuscaloosa, but in 1847 it was moved to the Alabama River at Montgomery.
  • March 2 - President Monroe signs the Alabama enabling act.
  • July - Constitutional Convention meets in Huntsville. Constitution adopted with Cahaba selected as temporary seat of government for the new State.
  • September 20-21 - The first general election for governor, members of the US Congress, legislators, court clerks, and sheriffs is held as specified by the Constitution of 1819. Held on the third Monday and following Tuesday of September, the voters elected William Wyatt Bibb as the state's first governor.
  • October 25 - December 17 - General Assembly meets in Huntsville until the Cahaba Capitol is constructed.
  • December 14 - Alabama enters Union as 22 nd state.

1822 - December - The Legislature charters Athens Female Academy, which later becomes Athens State University.

1825 - French general and American Revolution-hero, the Marquis de Lafayette, toured Alabama at Governor Israel Pickens' invitation.

1826 -Capitol moved to Tuscaloosa.

  • Tuscumbia Railway Company chartered by General Assembly first two miles of track link Tuscumbia and Sheffield (1832).
  • January 19 - LaGrange College chartered by the Legislature eventually becomes the University of North Alabama
  • State's population=309,527: 1830 Federal Census - White population=190,406 African-American population=119,121 Slave population=117,549 Free black population=1,572 Urban population=3,194 Rural population=306,333.

1831 - April 13 - The University of Alabama formally opens its doors. Fifty-two students were accepted that first day. By the end of the session, the student body had swelled to nearly one hundred. The faculty was made up of four men including the Reverend Alva Woods who had been inaugurated president of the University on April 12, 1831.

  • Bell Factory (Madison County), state's first textile mill, chartered by General Assembly.
  • Alabama's first railroad, the Tuscumbia Railway, opens, running the two miles from Tuscumbia Landing at the Tennessee River to Tuscumbia. The railway was the first phase of a planned railroad to Decatur, forty-three miles to the east. That railroad was needed in order for river traffic to avoid the dangerous and often un-navigable Muscle Shoals of the Tennessee River.
  • In a spectacle seen across the Southeast, a fantastic meteor shower causes this night to be known as "the night stars fell on Alabama." The shower created great excitement across the state and for years was used to date events and became part of Alabama folklore. It also became the title of a famous book and song in the 1930s. Jimmy Buffet sang "Stars Fell on Alabama" at the January 1999 inauguration of Governor Don Siegelman.
  • Daniel Pratt established cotton gin factory north of Montgomery his company town, Prattville (founded 1839), became a manufacturing center in the antebellum South.
  • Alabama gold rush, concentrated in east-central hill country.
  • Dr. James Marion Sims, "the Father of Modern Gynecology," established a medical practice in Mt. Meigs, then in nearby Montgomery (1840), before moving on to New York in 1853 to found the renowned Woman's Hospital.
  • Second Creek War (Seminole War).
  • Battle of Hobdy's Bridge last Indian battle in Alabama (1837).

1840 - State population=590,756: 1840 Federal Census - White population=335,185 African-American population=255,571 Slave population=253,532 Free black population=2,039 Urban population=12,672 Rural population=578,084.

1846 - January 28 - Montgomery is selected as capital of Alabama by the State Legislature on the 16th ballot. Montgomery won the final vote largely because of promises of Montgomery city leaders to provide $75,000 for a new capitol and the rise of the prominence of the Black Belt region of the state.

1850 - State population=771,623: 1850 Federal Census - White population=426,514 African-American population=345,109 Slave population=342,844 Free black population=2,265 Urban population=35,179 Rural population=736,444 Cotton production in bales=564,429 Corn production in bushels=28,754,048 Number of manufacturing establishments=1,026.

1852 -Alabama Insane Hospital established at Tuscaloosa (renamed Alabama Bryce Insane Hospital upon death of its first director, Peter Bryce, 1892).

1854 -Alabama Public School Act creates first state-wide education system by establishing an office of State Superintendent of Education.

  • Alabama Coal Mining Company begins first systematic underground mining in the state near Montevallo.
  • East Alabama Male College established at Auburn by Methodists evolved into Auburn University.
  • State School for Deaf, Dumb, and Blind established at Talledega.
  • State population=964,201: 1860 Federal Census - White population=526,271 African-American population=437,770 Slave population=435,080 Free black population=2,690 Urban population=48,901 Rural population=915,300 Cotton production in bales=989,955 Corn production in bushels=33,226,282 Number of manufacturing establishments=1,459.
  • January 11 - The Alabama Secession Convention passes an Ordinance of Secession, declaring Alabama a "Sovereign and Independent State." By a vote of 61-39, Alabama becomes the fourth state to secede from the Union.
  • February 18 - After being welcomed to Montgomery with great fanfare, Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as president of the Confederate States of America on the portico of the Alabama capitol. Davis, a former U. S. senator from Mississippi, lived in Montgomery until April, when the Confederate government was moved from Montgomery to its new capital of Richmond, Virginia.
  • February - May - Montgomery serves as C.S.A. capital until move to Richmond, Virginia.
  • March 11 - The Confederate Congress, meeting in Montgomery, adopts a permanent constitution for the Confederate States of America to replace the provisional constitution adopted the previous month. The seceded states then ratified the essentially conservative document, which was based largely on the United States Constitution.

1861 - 1865 - 194 military land events and 8 naval engagements occurred within the boundaries of Alabama including -

  • Streight's Raid in north Alabama (April-May 1863)
  • Rousseau's Raid through north and east-central Alabama (July 1864)
  • Wilson's Raid through north and central Alabama (March-April 1865)
  • Battle of Mobile Bay (August 1864) and the subsequent campaign which involved action at Spanish Fort (April 8, 1865) and Blakeley (April 9, 1865) before the fall of the city of Mobile (April 12, 1865).
  • May 4 1865 -General Richard Taylor surrenders last sizable Confederate force at Citronelle, Mobile County
  • September 12 -1865 - New Alabama Constitution adopted to comply with Presidential Reconstruction dictates to rejoin Union rejected by US Congress.
  • December 6 -1865 -The Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution is ratified, thus officially abolishing slavery.

1866 - Lincoln Normal School founded as private institution for African-Americans at Marion relocated to Montgomery (1887) and evolved into Alabama State University.

1868 - Reconstruction Constitution ratified (February) gaining Alabama readmission to the Union, and allowing black suffrage for the first time.

1870 - State population=996,992: 1870 Federal Census - White population=521,384: African-American population=475,510 Urban population=62,700 Rural population=934,292 Cotton production in bales=429,482 Corn production in bushels=16,977,948 Number of manufacturing establishments=2,188.

1871 - Birmingham founded evolves into center of Southern iron and steel industry.

1873 - Huntsville Normal and Industrial School chartered evolves into Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University.

1874 - State elections return conservative Democrat "Bourbon Redeemers" to political power.

1875 - November 16 - Alabama's Constitution of 1875 is ratified. The Bourbon Democrats, or "Redeemers," having claimed to "redeem" the Alabama people from the Reconstruction rule of carpetbaggers and scalawags, wrote a new constitution to replace the one of 1868. It was a conservative document that gave the Democrats, and especially Black Belt planters, a firm grip on their recently reacquired control of state government.

1880 - State population= 1,262,505: 1880 Federal Census - White population= 662,185 African-American population= 600,103 Urban population= 68,518 Rural population= 1,193,987 Cotton production on bales= 699,654 Corn production in bushels= 25,451,278 Number of manufacturing establishments= 2,070.

1881 - February 10 - The Alabama Legislature establishes Tuskegee Institute as a "normal school for the education of colored teachers." The law stipulated that no tuition would be charged and graduates must agree to teach for two years in Alabama schools. Booker T. Washington was chosen as the first superintendent and arrived in Alabama in June 1881. Washington's leadership would make Tuskegee one of the most famous and celebrated historic black colleges in the US

1887 -1896 - Farmers' Alliance grew out of earlier Grange (1870s) and Agricultural Wheel (early 1880s) organizations evolved into the Populist movement which challenged conservative Democrats for control of state politics.

1890 - State population= 1,513,401: 1890 Federal Census - White population= 833,718 African-American population= 678,489 Urban population= 152,235 Rural population= 1,361,166 Cotton production in bales= 915,210 Corn production in bushels= 30,072,161 Number of manufacturing establishments= 2,977.

1895 - February 16 - Alabama formally adopts a state flag for the first time. The legislature dictated "a crimson cross of St. Andrew upon a field of white," which was the design submitted by John W. A. Sanford, Jr., who also sponsored the bill. This flag remains Alabama's flag today.

1896 - October 12 - The Alabama Girls' Industrial School opens its doors as the first state-supported industrial and technical school devoted to training girls to make a living. The school later became known as Alabama College, and is now the University of Montevallo.

20th Century Alabama History Timeline

1900 - State population= 1,828,697: 1900 Federal Census - White population= 1,001,152 African-American population= 827,307 Urban population= 216,714
Rural population= 1,611,983 Cotton production in bales= 1,106,840 Corn production in bushels= 35,053,047 Number of manufacturing establishments= 5,602.

  • January 31 - Tallulah Bankhead, star of stage, screen, and radio in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, is born in Huntsville. The daughter of US Congressman William B. Bankhead, Tallulah was most famous for her flamboyant lifestyle, throaty voice, and stage role in The Little Foxes (1939) and her part in the film Lifeboat (1943). (There is some question of the exact birth date this is the most generally accepted).
  • March 2 - Trustees of the Alabama Department of Archives and History meet in Gov. William J. Samford's office to organize the nation's first state archival agency. Charged with, among other responsibilities, "the care and custody of official archives [and] the collection of materials bearing upon the history of the State," the department was housed in the capitol until 1940. In that year it moved across Washington Avenue to the War Memorial Building, which had been constructed for the Archives.
  • New state Constitution ratified, disfranchising substantial numbers of black and white voters (November).

1902 - November 29 - The New York Medical Record publishes an account of Dr. Luther Leonidas Hill performing the first open heart surgery in the western hemisphere when he sutured a knife wound in a young boy's heart. Dr. Hill was the father of Alabama politician and US senator Lister Hill.

1904 - Colonel William Crawford Gorgas of Alabama begins elimination of scourges of yellow fever and malaria in Panama Canal Zone.

1907 - Tennessee Coal and Iron Company in Birmingham purchased by US Steel.

  • Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur, establish "flying school" on land outside Montgomery (present site of Maxwell Air Force Base) six years after their first flights.
  • Boll Weevil, insect destroyer of cotton, enters state from Mississippi border.

1910 - State population= 2,138,093: 1910 Federal Census - White population= 1,228,832 African-American population= 908,282 Urban population= 370,431 Rural population= 1,767,662 Cotton production in bales= 1,129,527 Corn production in bushels= 30,695,737 Number of manufacturing establishments= 3,398.

1919 - December 11 - The boll weevil monument is dedicated in Enterprise. The monument honors the insect that killed cotton plants and forced local farmers to diversify by planting more profitable crops such as peanuts. Even though the monument was in appreciation of the boll weevil, the weevil statue was not added to the monument until 30 years later.

1920 - State population= 2,348,174: 1920 Federal Census - White population= 1,447,031 African-American population= 900,652 Urban population= 509,317 Rural population= 1,838,857 Cotton production in bales= 718,163 Corn production in bushels= 43,699,100 Number of manufacturing establishments= 3,654.

1928 - Convict lease system ended.

1930 - State population= 2,646,248: 1930 Federal Census - White population= 1,700,844 African-American population= 944,834 Urban population= 744,273 Rural population= 1,901,975 Cotton production in bales= 1,312,963 Corn production in bushels= 35,683,874 Number of manufacturing establishments= 2,848.

  • March 25 - Nine black youths, soon to be known as the Scottsboro Boys, are arrested in Paint Rock and jailed in Scottsboro, the Jackson County seat. Charged with raping two white women on a freight train from Chattanooga, the sheriff had to protect them from mob violence that night. Within a month, eight of the nine were sentenced to death. Based on questionable evidence, the convictions by an all-white jury generated international outrage.

1936 - August 3 - Lawrence County native Jesse Owens wins his first gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Owens went on to win four gold medals in Berlin, but German leader Adolf Hitler snubbed the star athlete because he was black. Today visitors can learn more about Owens at the Jesse Owens Memorial Park and Museum in Oakville, Alabama.
William B. Bankhead elected Speaker, US House of Representatives.

1937 - State sales tax instituted to help fund education.
Alabama Senator Hugo Black appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt to the US Supreme Court.

1940 - State population= 2,832,961: 1940 Federal Census - White population= 1,849,097 African-American population= 983,290 Urban population= 855,941 Rural population= 1,977,020 Cotton production in bales= 772,711 Corn production in bushels= 31,028,109 Number of manufacturing establishments= 2,052.

1941 - Training of African-American military pilots, the "Tuskegee Airmen," underway.

1944 - First Oil Well In Alabama: On January 2, 1944, the State of Alabama granted Hunt Oil Company a permit to drill the A.R. Jackson Well No. 1 near Gilbertown, Choctaw County.

1945 - University of Alabama Medical School moved from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham.

1947 - Georgiana's Hank Williams signs recording contract with MGM and becomes regular on The Louisiana Hayride radio program.

  • July 17 - The Dixiecrat Convention assembles in Birmingham, with over 6,000 delegates from across the South in attendance. They selected Strom Thurmond as their candidate for President for their States' Rights Party. In the 1948 presidential election the Dixiecrats carried four states, including Alabama, where Democratic candidate Harry Truman's name did not even appear on the ballot.

1950 - State population= 3,061,743: 1950 Federal Census - White population= 2,079,591 African-American population= 979,617 Urban population= 1,228,209 Rural population= 1,833,534 Cotton production in bales= 824,290 Corn production in bushels= 40,972,309 Number of manufacturing establishments (1954)= 3,893.

1954 - Democratic nominee for state Attorney General, Albert Patterson, murdered in Phenix City, prompting clean-up of the "wickedest city in America."

  • December 1 - Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, is arrested for refusing to give up her seat for a boarding white passenger as required by Montgomery city ordinance. Her action prompted the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott and earned her a place in history as "the mother of the modern day civil rights movement. "Ms. Parks was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in August 2000.
  • Army Ballistic Missile Agency established at Huntsville's Redstone Arsenal.
  • Autherine Lucy unsuccessfully attempts to desegregate the University of Alabama.
  • December 21 - The Supreme Court ruling banning segregated seating on Montgomery's public transit vehicles goes into effect. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks were among the first people to ride a fully integrated bus, ending the historic year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  • September 8 - The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville is dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Gov. John Patterson and Werner von Braun, director of the space flight center, were in attendance as was Mrs. Marshall who unveiled a bust in honor of her husband.
  • State population= 3,266,740: 1960 Federal Census - White population= 2,283,609 African-American population= 980,271 Urban population= 1,689,417 Rural population= 1,577,323 Cotton production in bales= 683,491 Corn production in bushels= 62,580,000 Number of manufacturing establishments (1963)= 4,079.
  • May 1 - Harper Lee of Monroeville wins the Pulitzer Prize for To Kill A Mockingbird, her first, and only, novel. The gripping tale set in 1930s Alabama became an international bestseller and was made into a major Hollywood motion picture starring Gregory Peck.
  • May 20 - The Freedom Riders arrive at the Greyhound bus terminal in Montgomery where they are attacked by an angry mob. The Freedom Ride, an integrated bus trip from Washington D.C., through the Deep South, was formed to test the 1960 Supreme Court decision prohibiting segregation in bus and train terminal facilities. Before reaching Montgomery, they had already suffered violent reprisals in Anniston and Birmingham. The Freedom Ride eventually resulted in a campaign that caused the Interstate Commerce Commission to rule against segregated facilities in interstate travel.
  • Governor George C. Wallace inaugurated for first of four terms in office.
  • Birmingham bombings of Civil Rights-related targets, including the offices of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the home of A.D. King (brother of Martin Luther King, Jr.), and the 16th Street Baptist Church (in which 4 children were killed), focus national attention on racial violence in the state.
  • Governor Wallace's "stand in the schoolhouse door" at the University of Alabama protests federally forced racial integration Vivian Malone and James Hood register for classes as first African-American students.
  • University of South Alabama founded in Mobile.
  • February 15 - "The man with the velvet voice," Nat King Cole dies in Santa Monica, California. Born the son of a Baptist minister in Montgomery in 1919, Cole sold over 50 million records and became the first African-American male with a weekly network television series.
  • March 7 - Six-hundred demonstrators make the first of three attempts to march from Selma to the capitol in Montgomery to demand removal of voting restrictions on black Americans. Attacked by state and local law enforcement officers as they crossed Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge, the marchers fled back into the city. The dramatic scene was captured on camera and broadcast across the nation later that Sunday, causing a surge of support for the protestors.
  • March 21 - Rev. Martin Luther King leads 3,200 marchers from Selma toward Montgomery in support of civil rights for black Americans, after two earlier marches had ended at the Edmund Pettus Bridge - the first in violence and the second in prayer. Four days later, outside the Alabama state capitol, King told 25,000 demonstrators that "we are on the move now . . . and no wave of racism can stop us." On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.

1967 - Lurleen Wallace inaugurated as state's first woman governor (died 1968).

1969 - University of Alabama at Huntsville established. University of Alabama at Birmingham established, joining University's medical and dental schools there since the 1940s.

1970 - State population= 3,444,165: 1970 Federal Census - White population= 2,533,831 African-American population= 903,467 Urban population= 2,011,941 Rural population= 1,432,224 Cotton production in bales= 507,000 Corn production in bushels= 12,535,000.

1972 - May 15 - Gov. George C. Wallace is shot in Maryland while campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president. The assassination attempt by Arthur Bremer left the Governor paralyzed from the waist down and effectively ended his chances at the nomination. He campaigned again for president in 1976, marking his fourth consecutive run for that office.

1980 - State population=3,894,000: 1980 Federal Census - White population=2,783,000 African-American population=996,000 Urban population=2,338,000 Rural population=1,556,000 Cotton production in bales=275,000 Corn production in bushels=15,000,000.

1981 - Country music group Alabama selected "Vocal Group of the Year" by Academy of Country Music went on to garner fifth consecutive "Entertainer of the Year" award from the Country Music Association (1986).

1985 - Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway opens.

1990 - State population=4,040,587: 1990 Federal Census - White population=2,975,837 African-American population=1,020,677 Urban population=2,439,549 Rural population=1,601,038 Cotton production in bales=375,000 Corn production in bushels=13,920,000.

1993 - Governor Guy Hunt, in second term as first Republican governor of the state since Reconstruction, convicted of misuse of public funds and removed from office.

1995 - Alabama's Heather Whitestone serves as first Miss America with a disability.

1998 - Anniston native Dr. David Satcher is appointed Surgeon General of the United States.

21st Century Alabama History Timeline

  • State population=4,447,100: 2000 Federal Census - White population = 3,188,102 African-American population = 1,138,726 Hispanic population=45,349

2000 - Etowah County Circuit Judge Roy Moore is elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Moore rose to national attention earlier when he was sued by the ACLU for displaying the Ten Commandments in his courtroom.

  • Birmingham native Condoleeza Rice is appointed National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush. She is the first woman to occupy that position.
  • 2001 (November) Winfield native and CIA operative Michael Spann dies in prison uprising in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan, becoming the first US casualty in the war in Afghanistan.
  • Birmingham native Vonetta Flowers and teammate Jill Bakken win a gold medal in bobsledding at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Flowers is the first African American to win a gold medal in a winter Olympics.
  • May 22 - Bobby Frank Cherry is convicted of murder for his part in the bombing of Birmingham's Sixteenth St. Baptist Church. Cherry is the last living suspect to be prosecuted for the Sept. 15, 1963, blast that killed 11-year-old Denise McNair, and 14-year-olds Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Addie Mae Collins

2004 - Condoleezza Rice appointed US Secretary of State by President George W. Bush

Alabama — History and Culture

There’s a lot of history underneath the veneer of Alabama, and much of it is controversial. The state has always been at the center of American social issues, from its role as the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War to its status as the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. Alabama is proud of its divisive past, as well as its reputation for being at the forefront of equality. This is the authentic American South, and the locals won’t let you forget it.


America’s 22nd state was born on the back of cotton. Great plantations were built to exploit Alabama’s rich, fertile soil and black slaves were brought in to work the fields. In 1861, Alabama seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy. Though few actual battles were fought in Alabama, sites like Fort Morgan on the Gulf Coast were pivot points in the Civil War.

Alabama emerged as the capital of the Confederate States. Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as its first president at the First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery on February 18, 1861. Alabama enlisted 120,000 of its men to fight for the South. By 1863, the Union army had a strong foothold in the northern part of the state and eventually took the Gulf Coast in 1864 with a naval blockade.

In 1865, Alabama’s slaves were freed, but the state still depended almost entirely on cotton for its economy. The local population did not return willingly to the American Union, and resentment simmered for decades afterwards between whites and blacks. The Ku Klux Klan had a strong presence in the state during this period and blacks were not welcomed into their new roles of freemen.

The state wrote a new constitution in 1901 that banned blacks and disenfranchised whites from basic rights like voting. Segregation was blatant in Alabama, despite the fact that 30 percent of the population was black. This bias eventually led to the rise of the African American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s, the events of which are on display in the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Birmingham was the flashpoint for the Civil Rights Movement in 1963 when black leaders like Martin Luther King called for the desegregation of schools, stores, and restaurants. It was an ugly period in Alabama’s (and America’s) history, and only an act by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 finally put the issue to rest with the passing of the Civil Rights Act.


The culture of Alabama is intricately tied to Old Dixie, its lost hope for a separate nation of its own. The Confederate flag is a common sight and the white locals tend to have strong opinions about their plight in the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement. But this is also a state with proud African-American heritage and an incredibly rich tradition of music and literature that spans from the country bluegrass of Hank Williams to the iconic American novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

History buffs and music fans have plenty to absorb in its main cities, while foodies will discover the unparalleled genres of soul and southern barbecue, which is taken to superlative extremes here. Alabamans are generally friendly, though racial tensions still linger beneath the surface. It’s a fascinating state like no other, where a day retracing the steps of Martin Luther King can be followed by a visit to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

MOBILE PARK'S IRON DEER IS SURVIVOR OF THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES By Benjamin D. Baker Alabama Writers' Program Works Project Administration Council Chamber,&hellip

The eighth edition, BANISHED, documents The Indian Removal Act called for the “voluntary or forcible removal of all Indians” residing in the eastern United States to the west of the Mississippi River. Between 1831 and 1837, approximately 46,000 Native Americans were forced to leave their homes in southeastern states. Available in paperback and ebook at this link


Before Alabama, bands were usually relegated to a supporting role in country music. In the first part of the century, bands were popular with audiences across the country, but as recordings became available, nearly every popular recording artist was a vocalist, not a group. Alabama was the group that made country bands popular again. Emerging in the late '70s, the band had roots in both country and rock in fact, many of Alabama's musical concepts, particularly the idea of a performing band, owed more to rock and pop than hardcore country. However, there is no denying that Alabama is a country band -- the bandmembers' pop instincts may come from rock, but their harmonies, songwriting, and approach are indebted to country, particularly the Bakersfield sound of Merle Haggard, bluegrass, and the sound of Nashville pop. A sleek country-rock sound made the group the most popular country group in history, selling more records than any other artist of the '80s and earning stacks of awards.

First cousins Randy Owen (born December 14, 1949 lead vocal, rhythm guitar) and Teddy Gentry (born January 22, 1952 vocals, bass) form the core of Alabama. Owen and Gentry grew up on separate cotton farms on Lookout Mountain in Alabama, but the pair learned how to play guitar together the duo had also sung in church together before they were six years old. On their own, Gentry and Owen played in a number of different bands during the '60s, playing country, bluegrass, and pop on different occasions. During high school, the duo teamed with another cousin, Jeff Cook (born August 27, 1949 lead guitar, vocals, keyboards, fiddle), to form Young Country in 1969. Before joining his cousins, Cook had played in a number of bands and was a rock & roll DJ. Young Country's first gig was at a high-school talent contest performing a Merle Haggard song, the band won first prize -- a trip to the Grand Ole Opry. However, the group was fairly inactive as Owen and Cook went to college.

After Owen and Cook graduated from college, they moved with Gentry to Anniston, Alabama, with the intention of keeping the band together. Sharing an apartment, the band practiced at night and performed manual labor during the day. They changed their name to Wildcountry in 1972, adding drummer Bennett Vartanian to the lineup. The following year, they made the decision to become professional musicians, quitting their jobs and playing a number of bars in the Southeast. During this time, they began writing their own songs, including "My Home's in Alabama." Vartanian left soon after the band turned professional after losing four more drummers, Rick Scott was added to the lineup in 1974.

Wildcountry changed its name to Alabama in 1977, the same year the band signed a one-record contract with GRT. The resulting single, "I Wanna Be with You Tonight," was a minor success, peaking in the Top 80. Nevertheless, the single's performance was an indication that Alabama was one of the most popular bands in the Southeast at the end of the decade, the band was playing over 300 shows a year. After "I Wanna Be with You Tonight," the group borrowed $4,000 from a Fort Payne bank, using the money to record and release its own records, which were sold at shows. When GRT declared bankruptcy a year after the release of "I Wanna Be with You Tonight," the bandmembers discovered that they were forbidden from recording with another label because of a hidden clause in their contract. For two years, Alabama raised money to buy out their contract. In 1979, the group was finally able to begin recording again. That same year, Scott left the band. Scott was replaced by Mark Herndon, a former rock drummer who helped give Alabama their signature sound.

Later in 1979, Alabama self-recorded and released an album, hiring an independent record promoter to help get radio play for the single "I Wanna Come Over." The band also sent hundreds of handwritten letters to program directors and DJs across the country. "I Wanna Come Over" gained the attention of MDJ Records, a small label based in Dallas. MDJ released the single, and it reached number 33 on the charts. In 1980, MDJ released "My Home's in Alabama," which made it into the Top 20. Based on the single's success, Alabama performed at the Country Music New Faces show, where the band was spotted by an RCA Records talent scout, who signed the group after the show.

Alabama released its first RCA single, "Tennessee River," late in 1980. Produced by Harold Shedd, the song began a remarkable streak of 21 number one hits (interrupted by the 1982 holiday single "Christmas in Dixie"), which ran until 1987 after one number seven hit, the streak resumed for another six singles, resulting in a total of 27 number one singles during the decade. Taken alone, the amount of chart-topping singles is proof of Alabama's popularity, but the band also won numerous awards, had seven multi-platinum albums, and crossed over to the pop charts nine times during the '80s.

In the '90s, their popularity declined somewhat, yet they were still having hit singles and gold and platinum albums with regularity, and it's unlikely that any other country group will be able to surpass the success of Alabama. The group disbanded in 2006 following a farewell tour and two albums of gospel , 2006's Songs of Inspiration and 2007's Songs of Inspiration, Vol. 2, but reunited in 2011. A third gospel album, Angels Among Us: Hymns & Gospel Favorites, was released by Gaither Music in 2014. In September 2015, Alabama further sealed the relaunch of their career, delivering Southern Drawl, their first album of all new material in 14 years.


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Early History of Native Americans in Alabama

The names of the Alabama tribes included:

  • Alabama- The Native word is "Albina" which means to camp. This tribe belonged to the Muskhogean Tribe which was the Southern Division.
  • Abihika- A branch of the Muskgoee & Creek Confederacy
  • Atasi- A sub-tribe of the Muskgoee.
  • Apalachee- This is one of the older lower creek tribes of Alabama. A few later joined the Creeks to he move to Oklahoma.
  • Apalachicola- The early tribe lived on the Chattahoochee River & then moved to the other side to Georgia.
  • Cherokee- Occupied towns such as Turkeytown which runs by the Coosa River in my hometown to towns such as Muscle Shoals, Wills Creek in Willstown, & Tuscumbia & where just about wiped out & removed by 1835.
  • Chatot- A tribe near Mobile.
  • Choctaw- A tribe that shortly occupied the Tombigbee area for hunting grounds.
  • Chickasaw- A tribe that covered the Nortwest part of Alabama.
  • Creek Confederacy- This tribe was built around the Muskogee which where dominant at the time. They also occupied the Coosa River in my hometown at one time.
  • Fus-hatchee- Another branch of the Muskogee tribe.
  • Eufaula- Also, a subtribe of the Muskogee.
  • Hitchiti- A Muskhogean tribe which branched into Georgia.
  • Hilibi- Another subtribe of the Muskogee.
  • Kan-hatki, Kealedji, Kolomi, Koasati, Muskogee, Okchai, Pakana, Wakokai, Wiwohka, where all subtribes branched from the Muskogee tribe which was apparently the most dominant tribe of Alabama. The Tukabahchee tribe was one of the four heads of the Muskogee's.
  • Mobile- This was a subtribe of the Choctaw &/or Chickasaw.
  • Muklasa- Also, a branch of the Choctaw. The word means "friends"
  • Napochi- The nearest connection found was to the Choctaw. They stayed around the Black Warrior River.
  • Natchez- This tribe stayed near the Coosa River as well & later joined the Creeks to Oklahoma.
  • Okmulgee- This was a branch of the Creek tribe.
  • Osochi- It is believed their language was Muskogee but little is known about the meaning of Osochi. The closest relation seems to be with the Chiaha.
  • Pawotki- This tribe came from Florida & later joined the Creek Confederacy.
  • Pilthlako- Also, a branch of the Creeks.
  • Sawokli- This tribe belonged to the Muskhogean tribe.
  • Shawnee- They occupied the Tallapoosa & Sylacauga areas.
  • Taensa- This group came from Louisiana & settled in Mobile.
  • Tohome- This was a division of the Muskogean tribe.
  • Tuskegee- Also, a branch of the Muskogeans.
  • Yuchi- This was an older tribe from around the Muscle Shoals area & it is suggested they probably moved toward the East Tennessee area.
  • Yamasee- This tribe was in the Mobile Bay area & later moved to West Florida area with the Seminoles.

Alabama was populated by many Native American groups when Europeans arrived in the 1500s. These Native Americans were mostly unaffected until the French established a permanent settlement in 1699. Groups of native people can be identified as belonging to one of the historic tribes of Alabama, including the groups who speak Muskogee, and those belonging to the Mississippian chiefdoms. These groups combined to become the Creek Confederacy. In similar fashion, other groups of tribes came together to create the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Cherokee tribes.

Agriculture was practiced by Indians such as the Creeks and Cherokee in the east, and the Choctaws and Chickasaws in the west when Spanish explorers arrived. The first known European contact with what would become Alabama occurred in 1519 when Alonso Alvarez de Pineda sailed in Mobile Bay. Cabeza de Vaca (and possibly Pánfilo de Narvaez) visited Alabama in 1528, and the Spanish did not really explore the area for another two decades, when Hernando de Soto led an expedition into the region about 1540.

In the 1700s many more Europeans moved into the area. Eventually these new residents would clash with various Native American groups, many of whom were organized as the Creek Confederacy.

The first permanent European settlement in Alabama was founded by the French at Fort Louis de la Mobile in 1702. The British gained control of the area in 1763 by the Treaty of Paris, but had to cede almost all the Alabama region to the US and Spain after the American Revolution.

Between 1805 and 1806, the Choctaw tribes (in western Alabama) and the Chickasaw and Cherokee tribes (in northern Alabama) were forced to cede their land to white settlement. The Creek Indians attempted to ally themselves with other tribes from the North in resistance to white settlement, but were ultimately unsuccessful. As a result, most of the native people of Alabama were resettled in the Oklahoma territory.


More than 10,000 years ago people came to the area that is now Alabama, some living in Russell Cave. Thousands of years later Native American tribes such as the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek resided in the area. Although many Native Americans were forced to leave Alabama in the 1800s, today some descendants of those tribes still live in the state.

Spanish explorers first arrived in the 1500s. The area was controlled at different times by England, France, then Spain again. It was finally was signed over to the United States—along with what’s now Mississippi—in the 1795 Treaty of San Lorenzo. In 1819 Alabama became a U.S. state. It would leave the Union in 1861, and rejoin after the Civil War.

In the 1950s and 60s, Alabama was at the center of the civil rights movement. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery. Many protests against segregation followed, often led by Martin Luther King, Jr.


The state’s name comes from the Alabama tribe, one of the Native American groups from that area.

“Dixie” is a nickname for the southern states, especially the Confederate states, which left the Union during the Civil War. Alabama is called the Heart of Dixie because Montgomery, Alabama, was the first Confederate capital.

Watch the video: Chris Doering said WHAT about the Alabama Crimson Tide? Are the Crimson Tide Elite in 2021? (January 2022).