We do magic to Maps
Alabama (AL) Fast Facts
Location and Geography: Alabama is located in the center of America’s Deep South, in between the states of Mississippi and Georgia. Like many states near the Gulf of Mexico, it has a wet and humid climate that facilitates an agricultural society.
Counties and Regions: Alabama is divided into 67 counties, but can also be recognized as being made up of the following general regions:
- Alabama Gulf Coast
- Black Belt
- Central Alabama
- Greater Birmingham
- Lower Alabama
- Mobile Bay
- North Alabama
- Northeast Alabama
- Northwest Alabama
- South Alabama
Population: With its population on the rise, Alabama is now home to about 4.8 million people.
Major Cities: The biggest city in Alabama is Birmingham, which has upwards of 1.1 million people living in its metropolitan area. The state capital, Montgomery, is in second place for number of residents (about 200,000) but has a smaller metropolitan area than a few other towns such as Huntsville and Mobile.
Story Behind the Name: The name “Alabama,” or something very much like it, was originally the name of the native tribe that lived in the region. It is not certain what this word might have meant, but its possible meaning could be something like “thicket clearers” or “herb gatherers.”
History and Colonization: Native American civilizations flourished in what is now the American South before European contact occurred. Modern-day Alabama was first explored by the Spanish in the sixteenth century, but in later years both the French and British monarchies laid claim to it as well. The British gained complete control before losing the American Revolutionary War, and immediately ceded the land to Spain. Spain and the United States struggled over the territory for a while, before Spain, on the cusp of the nineteenth century, handed it over through the Treaty of Madrid.
Under the control of the United States, present-day Mississippi and Alabama were combined into a single area known as the Mississippi Territory. In the early years of the nineteenth century, a war raged between the white settlers and the Native American tribes who were being pushed out of their lands, but the latter ultimately lost the conflict. Many tribes ceded land to the American government through various treaties. Shortly thereafter, Alabama and Mississippi were split up, and each was admitted to the union as a state within a few years of the other.
Alabama has been a heavily agricultural state for much of its history, and was the center of the slave-reliant cotton industry of the early- and mid-nineteenth century. As one of the first and most important states to join in the Confederacy during America’s Civil War, Alabama suffered greatly through the war and the eventual Southern defeat. Unlike many other areas of the South, Alabama’s economy continued to rely on cotton even after the slaves were freed, creating a great deal of economic depression. This would not be turned around until World War II, when industrial and military production rejuvenated the economy of the state.
Like other states in the Deep South, Alabama went through many political changes during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Efforts to end the disenfranchisement of blacks led to changing laws and the redrawing of districts, permanently changing the makeup of representation in the state. Today, Alabama is still invested greatly in its rural population and agrarian traditions, although urban populations and industrial interests are growing.