States of the US


A map of AlabamaA map of AlabamaAlabama is located in the southeastern region of the US. Much of the state is made up of a rolling plain that slopes gently down towards the Gulf of Mexico. A number of rivers, including the Alabama and its tributaries, flow across it in a generally southwards direction. In the north of the state, the Tennessee River cuts a deep valley across the mountains that make up the far southwestern corner of the Cumberland Plateau—part of the Appalachian range. Alabama was once covered by vast areas of pine forest. Today, although it still has the second most extensive forests of all the states in the contiguous US after Georgia, it is mostly agricultural.

The view from Mount Cheaha, northern AlabamaThe view from Mount Cheaha, northern Alabama

Alabama Theater, BirminghamAlabama Theater, Birmingham


The naming of both the state and Alabama River comes from the Alabama people, a Muskogean-speaking tribe who once lived in the area close to where the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers meet the Alabama river. The Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto first used the name, which he wrote as “Alibamu”, when describing his expedition there in 1540.  

Ships and boats aground after Hurricane KatrinaShips and boats aground after Hurricane Katrina


Alabama has very hot summers—among the hottest in the US—and mild winters, with high levels of rainfall throughout the year. Temperatures are generally warmer in the southern part of the state, close to the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico, while northern parts, especially in the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast, tend to be cooler.

In some parts, Alabama is prone to tornadoes, tropical storms and hurricanes. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused major flooding and destruction along the coast.

The Rocket Park, USSRC, HuntsvilleThe Rocket Park, USSRC, Huntsville

Cotton being harvested near HuntsvilleCotton being harvested near Huntsville


Although about half of Alabama's area is devoted to farming, manufacturing accounts for a much larger share of the state's income. While Alabama is still known as "The Cotton State", its central “Black Belt”, which was once the chief cotton-growing area, is now given over to raising poultry and cattle. Other agricultural products include peanuts, maize, vegetables and soya beans.  

Much of Alabama's economic growth since the 1990s has been due to its growing vehicle manufacturing industry. Once known as a coal mining state, Alabama’s other main industries include paper, chemicals, rubber, plastics, textiles and iron and steel. 

Shrimp boats moored at Bayou La BatreShrimp boats moored at Bayou La Batre

Facts about Alabama

  • Area 52,419 sq miles (135,775 sq km)
  • Highest point Mount Cheaha 2413 ft (736 m)
  • Population 4,833,722
  • Capital Montgomery
  • Largest cities Birmingham, 212,113; Montgomery, 201,332; Mobile, 194,899; Huntsville, 186,254
  • Nicknames The Yellowhammer State, The Cotton State
  • State bird Yellowhammer
  • State flower Camellia
  • State tree Southern longleaf pine
Alabama flagAlabama flagAlabama location mapAlabama location map

History of Alabama

  • 16th century
    Among the Native American peoples living in the area at the time of European contact were the Iroquoian-speaking Cherokee and the Muskogean-speaking Alabama (Alibamu), Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Koasati peoples
  • 1540
    Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto passes through the area
  • 1702
    The French claim the area of present-day Alabama as part of French Louisiana (La Louisiane) and found the first European settlement at Fort Louis de la Mobile (later moved to the current site of Mobile in 1711)
  • 1763
    Alabama, then known as the Yazoo lands, becomes part of British West Florida by the Treaty of Paris
  • 1767
    The area is claimed by the Province of Georgia
  • 1783
    After the US victory in the American Revolutionary War, what is now Alabama is split between the US and Spain
  • 1798
    The Territory of Mississippi, which includes parts of present-day Alabama, is established; the land is still largely a wilderness
  • 1813
    The Spanish garrison at Mobile surrenders to US forces, leading to a US takeover of the Spanish lands
  • 1814
    Andrew Jackson defeats a Native American force at Horseshoe Bend
  • 1817
    Alabama Territory is created by the US Congress, with Saint Stephens as its capital
  • 1819
    Alabama is admitted to the Union as the 22nd state; “Alabama Fever” gets underway as settlers, bringing slaves with them, pour into the state to claim the fertile lowlands for cotton cultivation
  • 1830
    Alabama’s population has increased to more than 300,000 people (it was under 10,000 in 1810); most Native American tribes are removed from the state after the Indian Removal Act
  • 1861
    Alabama secedes (breaks away) from the Union; it joins the Confederate States of America at the outbreak of the Civil War
  • 1868
    Alabama is officially restored to the Union
  • 1870
    Birmingham is founded in 1870; its first blast furnace (for the production of steel) begins operations in 1880
  • 1880s
    Coal mining and cotton textile industries are developed
  • 1901
    Constitution of Alabama effectively disenfranchises (removes the right to vote from) nearly all African-Americans and Native Americans, as well as many poor whites
  • 1915
    Boll weevil devastates the cotton fields
  • 1920s
    Major migration of African-Americans out of Alabama to the manufacturing cities in the northern US
  • 1955–56
    Montgomery Bus Boycott: African-American Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger, and is arrested for violating the city’s segregation laws
  • 1965
    “Freedom March” from Selma to Montgomery; federal civil rights legislation enforces the constitutional rights of black inhabitants as citizens

An 8-km (5-mile) wide meteorite impact crater, Wetumpka crater, is located in Elmore County, just north of Montgomery. It was created when a massive meteorite crashed to Earth about 80 million years ago.

The Gulf Coast around Mobile Bay experiences thunderstorms on average around 70 and 80 days each year.

The northern parts of Alabama (along the Tennessee Valley) and Mississippi states make up what is sometimes known as Dixie Alley. The area experiences more violent tornadoes than nearly anywhere else in the US. Alabama, together with Oklahoma, has the most major tornadoes of any state.

Alabama is one of the most religious states in the United States, with about 58% of the population attending church regularly.

© 2017 Q-files Ltd. All rights reserved. Switch to Mobile