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State of Alabama
State flag of Alabama State seal of Alabama
(Flag of Alabama) (Seal of Alabama)
State nickname: Camellia State, The Heart of Dixie¹, Yellowhammer State
Map of the U.S. with Alabama highlighted
Other U.S. States
Capital Montgomery
Largest city Birmingham
Governor Bob Riley (R)
Senators Richard Shelby (R)

Jeff Sessions (R)

Official language(s) English
Area 52,423 mi²/135,775 km² (30th)
 - Land 50,750 mi²/131,442 km²
 - Water 1,673 mi²/4,333 km² (3.19%)
Population (2000)
 - Population 4,447,100 (23rd)
 - Density 33.84 /km² (26th)
Admission into Union
 - Date December 14, 1819
 - Order 22nd
Time zone Central: UTC-6/DST-5
Latitude 30°13'N to 35°N
Longitude 84°51'W to 88°28'W
Width 190 mi/306 km
Length 330 mi/531 km
 - Highest point Mount Cheaha 2,408 ft/734 m
 - Mean 499 ft/152 m
 - Lowest point 0 ft/0 m
 - ISO 3166-2 US-AL
Web site
State motto We Dare Defend Our Rights
State bird Yellowhammer
State flower Camellia
State song "Alabama"
State tree Longleaf Pine
State spirit Conecuh Ridge
State reptile Red-bellied turtle

Alabama is a state located in the southern United States.



Main article: History of Alabama

The memory of the Native American presence is particularly strong in Alabama. Among Native American people once living in present Alabama were Alabama (Alibamu), Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Koasati, and Mobile. Trade with the Northeast via the Ohio River began during the Burial Mound Period (1000 B.C.-A.D. 700) and continued until European contact. Meso-American influence is evident in the agrarian Mississippian culture that followed.

The French established the first European settlement in the state with the establishment of Mobile in 1702. Southern Alabama was French from 17021763, part of British West Florida from 17631780, and part of Spanish West Florida from 17801814. Northern and central Alabama was part of British Georgia from 17631783 and part of the American Mississippi territory thereafter. Its statehood delayed by the lack of a coastline (rectified when Andrew Jackson captured Spanish Mobile in 1814), Alabama became the 22nd state in 1819.

The state of Alabama seceded from the Union on January 11, 1861 and became the Alabama Republic and on February 18, 1861 became a Confederate state. While not many battles were fought in the state, it contributed about 120,000 soldiers to the Civil War. After the war a provisional government was set up in 1865 and Alabama was officially readmitted to the Union on July 14 1868.

The cradle of the Confederacy during the Civil War, Alabama was at stage center in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

Law and government

Main article: Law and Government of Alabama

Local & County Government

Alabama has 67 counties, each having its own elected legislative branch, usually called the Board of Commissioners, which usually also has executive authority in the county. Due to the restraints placed in the Alabama Constitution, all but 7 counties (Jefferson, Lee, Mobile, Madison, Montgomery, Shelby, and Tuscaloosa) in the state have little to no home rule. Instead, most counties in the state have to lobby to the Local Legislation Committee the state legislature to get simple local policies such as waste disposal to land use zoning.

Political Climate

The current governor of the state is Bob Riley and the two U.S. senators are Jefferson B. Sessions III and Richard C. Shelby (all three from the Republican Party). The current Alabama Constitution was adopted in 1901.

During Reconstruction following the American Civil War, Alabama was occupied by federal troops of the Third Military District under General John Pope. In 1877, the Reconstruction period ended with the recognition of Rutherford B. Hayes as President-elect. White Southerners assumed control of the government and passed laws to segregate and disenfranchise black residents. The state became part of the "Solid South," a one-party system in which the Democratic Party became essentially the only political party in every Southern state. For nearly 100 years, local and state elections in Alabama were decided in the Democratic Party primary, with generally no Republican challenger running.

From 1876 through 1956, Alabama supported only Democratic presidential candidates, by margins as high as 73 percentage points. In 1960, Alabama gave most of its electoral votes to segregationist candidate Harry F. Byrd. In 1964, the national Republican Party began to win more votes in the South by following a "Southern Strategy" which emphasized "states' rights" and the increasing liberalism of the national Democratic Party. The first such candidate was conservative Barry Goldwater, who became the first Republican candidate supported by Alabama. In 1968, Alabama supported native son and American Independent Party (Segregationist) candidate George Wallace.

The last Democratic candidate to win Alabama's votes in a presidential election was Southerner Jimmy Carter in 1976. Today, the Republican party has become increasingly dominant in conservative Alabama politics. However, in local politics, Democrats still control many offices, including majorities in both houses of the Legislature, and registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state. In 2004, George W. Bush won Alabama's nine electoral votes by a margin of 25 percentage points with 62.5% of the vote. The only 11 counties voting Democratic were Black Belt counties, where African Americans are in the majority.


Main article: Geography of Alabama

Map of Alabama
Map of Alabama

Alabama is the 30th largest state in the United States with 135,775 km2 (52,423 mi2) of total area. 3.19% of that is water, making Alabama 23rd in the amount of surface water. About three-fifths of the land area is a gentle plain with a general incline towards the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. Alabama generally ranges in elevation from sea level at Mobile Bay, to a little more than 1800 feet or 550 meters in the Appalachian mountains in the northeast. The highest point is Mount Cheaha.


According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the 2003 total gross state product was $132 billion. The per capita income for the state was $26,505 in 2003. Alabama's agricultural outputs are poultry and eggs, cattle, nursery stock, peanuts, cotton, vegetables, milk, and soybeans. Its industrial outputs are paper, lumber and wood products, mining, rubber and plastic products, transportation equipment and apparel.


For more details on this topic, see Demographics of Alabama.
Historical populations

1800 1,250
1810 9,046
1820 127,901
1830 309,527
1840 590,756
1850 771,623
1860 964,201
1870 996,992
1880 1,262,505
1890 1,513,401
1900 1,828,697
1910 2,138,093
1920 2,348,174
1930 2,646,248
1940 2,832,961
1950 3,061,743
1960 3,266,740
1970 3,444,165
1980 3,893,888
1990 4,040,587
2000 4,447,100

As of 2004, Alabama's population was estimated to be 4,530,182. The state had 108,000 foreign-born (2.4% of the state population), of which an estimated 22.2% were illegal aliens (24,000).

Race and ancestry

The racial makeup of the state and comparison to the prior census:

Census year: 2000 1990
White 71.1% 73.6%
Black 26.0% 25.3%
Asian 0.7% 0.5%
Native American 0.5% 0.4%
Other race 0.7% 0.1%
Mixed race 1.0%
White, non-Hispanic 70.3% 73.3%
Hispanic 1.7% 0.6%
* Not available; mixed race was first reported in the census of 2000.
Hispanics may be of any race and are included in applicable race categories.

The largest reported ancestry groups in Alabama: American (17.0%), English (7.8%), Irish (7.7%), German (5.7%), and Scotch-Irish (2.0%). 'American' includes those reported as Native American or African American.


The major religions of Alabama:

  • Christian – 92%
    • Protestant – 79%
      • Baptist – 49%
      • Methodist – 10%
      • Presbyterian – 3%
      • Episcopalian – 2%
      • Church of God – 2%
      • Church of Christ – 2%
      • Pentecostal – 2%
      • Lutheran – 2%
      • Other Protestant – 7%
    • Catholic – 13%
  • Other religions – 1%
  • Non-religious – 7%

See List of Protestantism by US State

Colleges and Universities (incomplete)

Main article: List of colleges and universities in Alabama

Culture and interests


  • Pickett, Albert J. (1851) History of Alabama: And Incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period. Charleston, South Carolina: Walker and James.
  • Armes, Ethel. (1910) "The Story of Coal and Iron in Alabama." Cambridge, Massachusetts: The University Press.
  • Adams, George I.; Butts, Charles; Stephenson, L. W.; & Cooke, Wythe (1926). Geology of Alabama. Geological Survey of Alabama, Special Report No. 14. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press.
  • Carmer, Carl. (1934) Stars Fell on Alabama. New York, New York: The Literary Guild.
  • Workers of the Writer's Program of the Works Progress Administration. (1941) Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South. American Guide Series. Montgomery, Alabama: Alabama State Planning Commission.
  • U.S. Census Bureau.

External links


¹ The phrase The Heart of Dixie is required by state law to be included on standard state license plates, but has recently been reduced to a very small size and eclipsed by the phrase Stars Fell on Alabama.

Flag of Alabama State of Alabama
Capital: Montgomery
Largest Metro: Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman Metropolitan Area
Regions: Greater Birmingham | Black Belt | Central Alabama | Lower Alabama | Mobile Bay | North Alabama | South Alabama
Largest cities: Birmingham | Huntsville | Mobile | Montgomery
Major cities: Anniston | Auburn | Decatur | Dothan | Florence | Gadsden | Hoover | Tuscaloosa
All cities: List of cities in Alabama
Counties: Autauga | Baldwin | Barbour | Bibb | Blount | Bullock | Butler | Calhoun | Chambers | Cherokee | Chilton | Choctaw | Clarke | Clay | Cleburne | Coffee | Colbert | Conecuh | Coosa | Covington | Crenshaw | Cullman | Dale | Dallas | DeKalb | Elmore | Escambia | Etowah | Fayette | Franklin | Geneva | Greene | Hale | Henry | Houston | Jackson | Jefferson | Lamar | Lauderdale | Lawrence | Lee | Limestone | Lowndes | Macon | Madison | Marengo | Marion | Marshall | Mobile | Monroe | Montgomery | Morgan | Perry | Pickens | Pike | Randolph | Russell | Shelby | St. Clair | Sumter | Talladega | Tallapoosa | Tuscaloosa | Walker | Washington | Wilcox | Winston
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Federal district District of Columbia
Insular areas American Samoa | Baker Island | Guam | Howland Island | Jarvis Island | Johnston Atoll | Kingman Reef | Midway Atoll | Navassa Island | Northern Mariana Islands | Palmyra Atoll | Puerto Rico | Virgin Islands | Wake Island
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