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States of the USA Article Index

Alabama Facts and Information

by

Chickasee, Choctaw, Cherokee, and Choctaw Indians were already in Alabama when Hernando DeSoto and other Spanish Explorers passed through the land in the 16th century.

It wasn't until 1702 that the Europeans established a real foothold, though, with a French settlement.

But settlement in general was slow, until after Andrew Jackson's defeat of the Creek Confederacy in 1814. This was the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

Cotton growers then moved into the area, using slave labor to operate their sprawling plantations. The federal government began to threat this system, and Alabama seceded from the Union in 1861. The Civil War was bloody in Alabama, and it stayed under military rule until 1868--the year the Union admitted it back as a state.

The war, combined with the corruption of Reconstruction and the carpet baggers, dealt Alabama a blow that kept it impoverished. Even with the advent of industrialization, Alabama--like many of its Confederate allies--would continue to remain a land of strife and economic disadvantage for generations.

In the early 20th century, a boll weevil infestation nearly collapsed Alabama's cotton trade, exacerbating an difficult situation.

Alabama figured prominently in the Civil Rights Movement. The 1954 Supreme Court decision outlawing school segregation ("separate but equal" for "blacks" and "whites") was part of the national integration process. This process did not go well in Alabama, but it did eventually come to fruition.

Alabama is the locale for several important events in the Civil Rights Movement. Governor Wallace's infamous clash with the federal authorities over the admission of "blacks" to a "white" college is among the highlights. But despite this, and racial violence, Alabama successfully integrated its schools by the early 1970s.

Today, the state's emphasis is on economic and educational issues. Alabama is a choice location for many companies seeking to locate a manufacturing plant or a work force. The state enjoys economic diversification and a bright future.

-- Mark Lamendola

Alabama facts

  • Statehood: Dec. 14, 1819; the 22d state.
  • Nickname: Heart of Dixie.
  • Bird: Yellowhammer.
  • Flower: Camellia.
  • Tree: Southern pine.
  • Motto: Audemus jura nostra defendere ("We dare maintain our rights").
  • Song: "Alabama."
  • Area: 135,293 Square Km (52,237 Square miles); rank: 30th.
  • Capital: Montgomery (1998 est. pop., 197,014).
  • Largest city: Birmingham.
  • Counties: 67.
  • Elevations: highest: 733 m (2,405 ft), at Cheaha Mountain; lowest: sea level, Gulf of Mexico.

Government

  • Electoral college votes: 9.
  • State legislature: 35 senators, 105 representatives.

Trivia

  • While New Orleans is famous for Mardi Gras, that event started in Alabama. It's held on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent begins.
  • Alabama is the only state that has all the natural resources required for making steel.
  • Huntsville is known as the rocket capital of the World; it's where the Apollo rockets were built.

Some famous citizens

  • Helen Keller, Tuscumbia.
     
  • Courteney Cox, Actress, Birmingham.
  • Louise Fletcher, Actress, Birmingham.
  • Kate Jackson, Actress, Birmingham.
  • Jim Nabors, Actor and Singer, Sylacauga.
     
  • Hank Aaron, Athlete, Mobile.
  • Bo Jackson, Athlete, Bessemer.
  • Joe Louis, Athlete, Lafayette.
  • Willie Mays, Athlete, Westfield.
  • Jesse Owens, Athlete, Danville.
     
  • Jimmy Buffett, Musician, Mobile.
  • Nat King Cole, Musician, Montgomery.
  • The Commodores, Band, Tuskegee.
  • Lionel Richie, Musician, Tuskegee.
  • Percy Sledge, Musician, Leighton.
  • Toni Tennille, Musician, Montgomery.
  • Hank Williams, Musician, Mount Olive.
  • Tammy Wynette, Musician, Red Bay.
     
  • Truman Capote, Writer, New Orleans.
  • (Nelle) Harper Lee, Writer, Monroeville.
  • Zelda Fitzgerald, Writer, Montgomery.

     

 

Check out these Alabama posters:

 



 

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