Alabama is a state in the southeastern region of the United States.
As of 1 January 2017, the population of Alabama was estimated to be 4,872,725 people. It is the 24th most populous state in the United States.
Alabama is the 30th largest state in the United States in terms of total area with 135,765 square kilometers (52,419 square miles).
Montgomery is a major city and the capital of Alabama. Named for Richard Montgomery, it is located on the Alabama River, in the Gulf Coastal Plain.
The largest city by population is Birmingham, which has long been the most industrialized city; the largest city by land area is Huntsville.
The oldest city is Mobile, founded by French colonists in 1702 as the capital of French Louisiana.
Alabama’s terrain – In the north and northeastern regions of Alabama, and along much of its border with Georgia, the lands are hilly and mountainous. The central, west and southwestern areas are covered by rolling grassland plains that slope gently west into Mississippi, and south to the Gulf of Mexico.
Cheaha Mountain is the highest mountain in Alabama at 735 meters (2,413 feet) above sea level. The highest point is marked with a USGS benchmark in front of Bunker Tower, a stone Civilian Conservation Corps building with an observation deck on top.
Alabama’s land consists of 89,000 square kilometers (22 million acres) of forest or 67% of total land area.
Alabama has 96.5 kilometers (60 miles) of coastline.
Alabama’s coastline, home to the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, is an important part of the quality of life for many of the state’s citizens and one of the state’s greatest economic and environmental assets.
The white, sandy beaches of the coastal towns of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores and Dauphin Island are beloved and popular vacation destinations for Alabamians and out-of-state tourists.
Cheaha State Park is a publicly owned recreation area located in northern Clay and southwestern Cleburne counties in Alabama. The park’s 1,133 hectares (2,799 acres) include Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in the state. It is Alabama’s oldest continuously operating state park. The park opened to the public in 1933.
Noccalula Falls Park is a 101-hectares (250-acre) public park located in Gadsden, Alabama. The main feature of the park is a 27-meter (90-foot) waterfall with a trail winding through Black Creek Gorge at its base past caves, an aboriginal fort, an abandoned dam, pioneer homestead, and Civil War carvings.
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama is a museum operated by the government of Alabama, showcasing rockets, achievements, and artifacts of the U.S. space program. Sometimes billed as “Earth’s largest space museum”, astronaut Owen Garriott described the place as, “a great way to learn about space in a town that has embraced the space program from the very beginning.”
The star attraction of the Memorial Park in Mobile is the 1940s USS Alabama Battleship docked along the waterfront, but there are many other interesting sites. Also on site are a variety of aircraft, including a B-52 bomber, and equipment from other war time periods. The park is a memorial to all those who served in WWII, as well as more recent operations.
The Vulcan statue is the largest cast iron statue in the world, and is the city symbol of Birmingham, reflecting its roots in the iron and steel industry. The 17-meter (56-foot) tall statue depicts the
Roman god Vulcan, god of the fire and forge. It was created as Birmingham’s entry for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904 World’s Fair) in St. Louis, Missouri. The statue is the world’s largest iron-ore statue, and among the nation’s tallest.
The Boll Weevil Monument in downtown Enterprise, is a prominent landmark and tribute erected by the citizens of Enterprise in 1919 to show their appreciation to an insect, the boll weevil, for its profound influence on the area’s agriculture and economy. Hailing the beetle as a “herald of prosperity,” it stands as the world’s first monument built to honor an agricultural pest.
Indigenous peoples of varying cultures lived in the area for thousands of years before the advent of European colonization.
With exploration in the 16th century, the Spanish were the first Europeans to reach Alabama.
The state of Alabama was named after the river. The Alabama River [photo below] was named by early European explorers after the Indian tribe that lived in the territory and first appeared in 1540 spelled as “Alibamu”, “Alibamo” and even “Limamu” in the journals of the Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto.
On December 14, 1819, Alabama was admitted as the 22nd state to the Union.
The Telegram that began the American Civil War was sent from Montgomery, Alabama by Leroy Pope Walker, first Confederate States Secretary of War. The text that was sent is “Montgomery, April 11, 1861. General Beauregard, Charleston: Do not desire needlessly to bombard Fort Sumter. If Major Anderson will state the time at which, as indicated by him, he will evacuate, and agree that in the meantime he will not use his guns against us unless ours should be employed against Fort Sumter, you are thus authorized to avoid the effusion of blood. If this or its equivalent be refused, reduce the fort as your judgment decides to be most practicable. L. P. Walker, Sec. of War. C.S.A.”
Alabama 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.
Alabama is nicknamed the Yellowhammer State, after the state bird. Alabama is also known as the “Heart of Dixie” and the “Cotton State”.
The first rocket to put humans on the moon was built in NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama.
The very first American 911 call was placed on February 16, 1968, in Haleyville, Alabama made by Alabama Speaker of the House, Rankin Fite and answered by Congressman Tom Bevill.
Alabama once had wooden roads. The most notable one, appropriately called ‘Old Plank Road’, was constructed in the early part of the 19th century. The road was constructed of large pine logs, sawed lengthwise and laid round-side down. Over four-miles long, the road cost between 8 and 10 thousand dollars to construct.
The Monarch butterfly is the state’s official insect.
Conecuh Ridge Whiskey is a type of whiskey produced and officially marketed as “Clyde May’s Alabama Style Whiskey” by Conecuh Ridge Distillery Inc. It is marketed as a high-quality aged moonshine whiskey which was produced illegally in Alabama during the mid to late 20th century. The brand was legalized by the moonshiner’s son Kenny May. In 2004 it was designated the official “State Spirit” of Alabama by legislative resolution.
There really is a Sweet Home Alabama. The house is locted at the intersection of Arlington Avenue and 19th Street South, Bessemer. It was built in 1906 by architect William E. Benns for H. W. Sweet at a cost of $10,000.
An estimated 20 million tourists visit the state each year.