Excavations of archaic Indian remains indicate that people lived in the region of Alabama at least as early as 7000 B.C. During the Mound Builder, or Mississippian culture, period ( A.D 700 -1700), large temple mounds were built along the major rivers, notably around Moundville. By the early 16th century this remarkable culture was in decline. At that time, the main Indian groups in the state were the Chickasaw, in the northwest; the Cherokee, in the northeast; the Creek, in the center and southeast; and the Choctaw, in the southwest. European Exploration and Early Settlement. European contact with the Alabama area began when the Spanish navigator Alonso Álvarez de Piñeda explored Mobile Bay in 1519. In 1540 another Spaniard, Hernando de Soto, led an army of about 500 men through Alabama; on Oct. 18, 1540, they crushed a large force of Choctaw under Chief Tuscaloosa. The Spanish failed to establish a firm foothold in Alabama, and the French founded (1711) the first permanent white settlement, at present-day Mobile. The French also established large farms, and in 1719 the first black Africans arrived to work as slaves. European contact with the Alabama area began when the Spanish navigator Alonso Álvarez de Piñeda explored Mobile Bay in 1519. In 1540 another Spaniard, Hernando de Soto, led an army of about 500 men through Alabama; on Oct. 18, 1540, they crushed a large force of Choctaw under Chief Tuscaloosa. The Spanish failed to establish a firm foothold in Alabama, and the French founded (1711) the first permanent white settlement, at present-day Mobile. The French also established large farms, and in 1719 the first black Africans arrived to work as slaves.

In 1763, France ceded Alabama to Great Britain, and in 1783 most of it became part of the United States. The region around Mobile had been taken by the Spanish during the American Revolution, and it was captured by the United States in 1813, during the War of 1812. Also during that conflict, at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (Mar. 27, 1814), the power of the Creek Indians was broken by U.S. troops under Andrew Jackson. In the following 25 years nearly all of Alabama's Indians were removed to the western United States.

Statehood. Alabama was organized as a separate territory in 1817, and on Dec. 14, 1819, it was admitted to the Union as the 22d state. Huntsville was the first capital; the capital was moved to Cahaba in 1820, to Tuscaloosa in 1826, and finally to Montgomery in 1847. The state's population grew from 128,000 in 1820 to 964,000 (435,000 of whom were slaves) in 1860. The economy was dominated by large plantations (mostly in the Black Belt) that produced cotton for export. The rivers were the prime means of transportation, although the state's first railroad began operations in 1832, and by 1860 about 1,100 km (683 mi) of railroad track had been laid. The state was overwhelmingly rural; Mobile, a growing seaport, was the only sizable city.

The Civil War and Reconstruction. Most white Alabamians viewed slavery as an integral part of their economic and social systems, and they opposed attempts to abolish it. Soon after the election of President Abraham Lincoln, perceived by Alabamians as a particularly strong opponent of slavery, Alabama seceded (Jan. 11, 1861) from the Union, the fourth state to do so. In February 1861 the Confederate States of America was organized at Montgomery, and Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as its president at the Alabama state capitol. Montgomery remained the Confederate capital until May 1861. Alabama contributed about 100,000 troops to the Confederacy, and perhaps 25% of them died during the Civil War. No major land battle was fought in the state, but the Union admiral David G. Farragut won an important naval engagement at Mobile Bay in August 1864. Union armies captured the Tennessee Valley in 1862 and took Montgomery in early 1865.

The Reconstruction period, which followed the Confederate surrender in April 1865, was one of confusion in Alabama. Because it refused to ratify the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Alabama was placed under military rule in 1867. After the amendment was ratified, and blacks were assured citizenship, Alabama reentered (June 1868) the Union. During the next few years black and white Republicans exercised considerable power, but by 1874 white Democrats, including numerous former supporters of the Confederacy, had regained control of the state. In the following years racial segregation was written into many state and local laws.

Economic Recovery. Although Alabama began large-scale industrialization in the late 19th century, the economy continued to be dominated by cotton culture. Cotton was grown mainly by small farmers, largely tenants or sharecroppers, many of whom became debt-ridden due to low prices paid for the crop. Alabama was fertile ground for agrarian reformers, and the Populist party had numerous adherents in the 1890s.

In the early 20th century cotton declined in importance, partly because boll weevil infestations made farming more precarious; many rural Alabamians left the state, especially for cities of the northern United States. The state's economy was rejuvenated by the demands of the American effort during World War I; steelmaking boomed, and Mobile developed an important shipbuilding industry. The state was severely affected by the Depression of the 1930s; many banks failed and unemployment increased drastically. World War II marked the beginning of a long-term economic upswing.

Civil Rights. Race relations were a major issue in Alabama in the 1950s and '60s, as civil rights advocates worked to end racial segregation in the state. During 1955 -56, Martin Luther King, Jr., organized a black boycott that ended racially separate seating on municipal buses in Montgomery. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, but white officials in Alabama avoided implementing the decision until 1963, when, after tense confrontations between Gov. George C. Wallace and federal officials, integration was begun.

In 1963 four black children were killed when a bomb destroyed part of their Birmingham church. The incident, widely deplored in the nation, helped create the atmosphere for passage of the landmark federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1965, King led a march from Selma to Montgomery to protest discrimination in voter registration. The U.S. Congress responded with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which helped add many blacks to the voting rolls in Alabama and thereby encouraged white politicians in the state to moderate their views in order to attract black votes.

By the early 1970s most of Alabama's schools had been integrated. Progress continued for blacks through the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, with Alabama electing numerous black mayors, county officials, and state legislators.

The Ascent of Two-Party Government. Governor Wallace, whose tenure had spanned the civil rights movement, retired in 1987 after four (nonconsecutive) terms in office. His successor, Guy Hunt, was the state's first Republican governor in 112 years. Hunt was removed from office in 1993 after conviction on ethics charges, but the 1994 election of Republican Fob James, who served until 1999, was evidence of continued movement toward a two-party system in Alabama. Governor Wallace, whose tenure had spanned the civil rights movement, retired in 1987 after four (nonconsecutive) terms in office. His successor, Guy Hunt, was the state's first Republican governor in 112 years. Hunt was removed from office in 1993 after conviction on ethics charges, but the 1994 election of Republican Fob James, who served until 1999, was evidence of continued movement toward a two-party system in Alabama.

Race relations were a major issue in Alabama in the 1950s and '60s, as civil rights advocates worked to end racial segregation in the state. During 1955 -56, Martin Luther King, Jr., organized a black boycott that ended racially separate seating on municipal buses in Montgomery. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, but white officials in Alabama avoided implementing the decision until 1963, when, after tense confrontations between Gov. George C. Wallace and federal officials, integration was begun.

Although Alabama began large-scale industrialization in the late 19th century, the economy continued to be dominated by cotton culture. Cotton was grown mainly by small farmers, largely tenants or sharecroppers, many of whom became debt-ridden due to low prices paid for the crop. Alabama was fertile ground for agrarian reformers, and the Populist party had numerous adherents in the 1890s.

Most white Alabamians viewed slavery as an integral part of their economic and social systems, and they opposed attempts to abolish it. Soon after the election of President Abraham Lincoln, perceived by Alabamians as a particularly strong opponent of slavery, Alabama seceded (Jan. 11, 1861) from the Union, the fourth state to do so. In February 1861 the Confederate States of America was organized at Montgomery, and Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as its president at the Alabama state capitol. Montgomery remained the Confederate capital until May 1861. Alabama contributed about 100,000 troops to the Confederacy, and perhaps 25% of them died during the Civil War. No major land battle was fought in the state, but the Union admiral David G. Farragut won an important naval engagement at Mobile Bay in August 1864. Union armies captured the Tennessee Valley in 1862 and took Montgomery in early 1865.

Alabama was organized as a separate territory in 1817, and on Dec. 14, 1819, it was admitted to the Union as the 22d state. Huntsville was the first capital; the capital was moved to Cahaba in 1820, to Tuscaloosa in 1826, and finally to Montgomery in 1847. The state's population grew from 128,000 in 1820 to 964,000 (435,000 of whom were slaves) in 1860. The economy was dominated by large plantations (mostly in the Black Belt) that produced cotton for export. The rivers were the prime means of transportation, although the state's first railroad began operations in 1832, and by 1860 about 1,100 km (683 mi) of railroad track had been laid. The state was overwhelmingly rural; Mobile, a growing seaport, was the only sizable city.

Statehood. Alabama was organized as a separate territory in 1817, and on Dec. 14, 1819, it was admitted to the Union as the 22d state. Huntsville was the first capital; the capital was moved to Cahaba in 1820, to Tuscaloosa in 1826, and finally to Montgomery in 1847. The state's population grew from 128,000 in 1820 to 964,000 (435,000 of whom were slaves) in 1860. The economy was dominated by large plantations (mostly in the Black Belt) that produced cotton for export. The rivers were the prime means of transportation, although the state's first railroad began operations in 1832, and by 1860 about 1,100 km (683 mi) of railroad track had been laid. The state was overwhelmingly rural; Mobile, a growing seaport, was the only sizable city.

The Civil War and Reconstruction. Most white Alabamians viewed slavery as an integral part of their economic and social systems, and they opposed attempts to abolish it. Soon after the election of President Abraham Lincoln, perceived by Alabamians as a particularly strong opponent of slavery, Alabama seceded (Jan. 11, 1861) from the Union, the fourth state to do so. In February 1861 the Confederate States of America was organized at Montgomery, and Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as its president at the Alabama state capitol. Montgomery remained the Confederate capital until May 1861. Alabama contributed about 100,000 troops to the Confederacy, and perhaps 25% of them died during the Civil War. No major land battle was fought in the state, but the Union admiral David G. Farragut won an important naval engagement at Mobile Bay in August 1864. Union armies captured the Tennessee Valley in 1862 and took Montgomery in early 1865.

The Reconstruction period, which followed the Confederate surrender in April 1865, was one of confusion in Alabama. Because it refused to ratify the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Alabama was placed under military rule in 1867. After the amendment was ratified, and blacks were assured citizenship, Alabama reentered (June 1868) the Union. During the next few years black and white Republicans exercised considerable power, but by 1874 white Democrats, including numerous former supporters of the Confederacy, had regained control of the state. In the following years racial segregation was written into many state and local laws.

Economic Recovery. Although Alabama began large-scale industrialization in the late 19th century, the economy continued to be dominated by cotton culture. Cotton was grown mainly by small farmers, largely tenants or sharecroppers, many of whom became debt-ridden due to low prices paid for the crop. Alabama was fertile ground for agrarian reformers, and the Populist party had numerous adherents in the 1890s.

In the early 20th century cotton declined in importance, partly because boll weevil infestations made farming more precarious; many rural Alabamians left the state, especially for cities of the northern United States. The state's economy was rejuvenated by the demands of the American effort during World War I; steelmaking boomed, and Mobile developed an important shipbuilding industry. The state was severely affected by the Depression of the 1930s; many banks failed and unemployment increased drastically. World War II marked the beginning of a long-term economic upswing.

Civil Rights. Race relations were a major issue in Alabama in the 1950s and '60s, as civil rights advocates worked to end racial segregation in the state. During 1955 -56, Martin Luther King, Jr., organized a black boycott that ended racially separate seating on municipal buses in Montgomery. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, but white officials in Alabama avoided implementing the decision until 1963, when, after tense confrontations between Gov. George C. Wallace and federal officials, integration was begun.

In 1963 four black children were killed when a bomb destroyed part of their Birmingham church. The incident, widely deplored in the nation, helped create the atmosphere for passage of the landmark federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1965, King led a march from Selma to Montgomery to protest discrimination in voter registration. The U.S. Congress responded with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which helped add many blacks to the voting rolls in Alabama and thereby encouraged white politicians in the state to moderate their views in order to attract black votes.

By the early 1970s most of Alabama's schools had been integrated. Progress continued for blacks through the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, with Alabama electing numerous black mayors, county officials, and state legislators.

The Ascent of Two-Party Government. Governor Wallace, whose tenure had spanned the civil rights movement, retired in 1987 after four (nonconsecutive) terms in office. His successor, Guy Hunt, was the state's first Republican governor in 112 years. Hunt was removed from office in 1993 after conviction on ethics charges, but the 1994 election of Republican Fob James, who served until 1999, was evidence of continued movement toward a two-party system in Alabama. Governor Wallace, whose tenure had spanned the civil rights movement, retired in 1987 after four (nonconsecutive) terms in office. His successor, Guy Hunt, was the state's first Republican governor in 112 years. Hunt was removed from office in 1993 after conviction on ethics charges, but the 1994 election of Republican Fob James, who served until 1999, was evidence of continued movement toward a two-party system in Alabama.

Race relations were a major issue in Alabama in the 1950s and '60s, as civil rights advocates worked to end racial segregation in the state. During 1955 -56, Martin Luther King, Jr., organized a black boycott that ended racially separate seating on municipal buses in Montgomery. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, but white officials in Alabama avoided implementing the decision until 1963, when, after tense confrontations between Gov. George C. Wallace and federal officials, integration was begun.

Although Alabama began large-scale industrialization in the late 19th century, the economy continued to be dominated by cotton culture. Cotton was grown mainly by small farmers, largely tenants or sharecroppers, many of whom became debt-ridden due to low prices paid for the crop. Alabama was fertile ground for agrarian reformers, and the Populist party had numerous adherents in the 1890s.

Most white Alabamians viewed slavery as an integral part of their economic and social systems, and they opposed attempts to abolish it. Soon after the election of President Abraham Lincoln, perceived by Alabamians as a particularly strong opponent of slavery, Alabama seceded (Jan. 11, 1861) from the Union, the fourth state to do so. In February 1861 the Confederate States of America was organized at Montgomery, and Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as its president at the Alabama state capitol. Montgomery remained the Confederate capital until May 1861. Alabama contributed about 100,000 troops to the Confederacy, and perhaps 25% of them died during the Civil War. No major land battle was fought in the state, but the Union admiral David G. Farragut won an important naval engagement at Mobile Bay in August 1864. Union armies captured the Tennessee Valley in 1862 and took Montgomery in early 1865.

The Civil War and Reconstruction. Most white Alabamians viewed slavery as an integral part of their economic and social systems, and they opposed attempts to abolish it. Soon after the election of President Abraham Lincoln, perceived by Alabamians as a particularly strong opponent of slavery, Alabama seceded (Jan. 11, 1861) from the Union, the fourth state to do so. In February 1861 the Confederate States of America was organized at Montgomery, and Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as its president at the Alabama state capitol. Montgomery remained the Confederate capital until May 1861. Alabama contributed about 100,000 troops to the Confederacy, and perhaps 25% of them died during the Civil War. No major land battle was fought in the state, but the Union admiral David G. Farragut won an important naval engagement at Mobile Bay in August 1864. Union armies captured the Tennessee Valley in 1862 and took Montgomery in early 1865.

The Reconstruction period, which followed the Confederate surrender in April 1865, was one of confusion in Alabama. Because it refused to ratify the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Alabama was placed under military rule in 1867. After the amendment was ratified, and blacks were assured citizenship, Alabama reentered (June 1868) the Union. During the next few years black and white Republicans exercised considerable power, but by 1874 white Democrats, including numerous former supporters of the Confederacy, had regained control of the state. In the following years racial segregation was written into many state and local laws.

Economic Recovery. Although Alabama began large-scale industrialization in the late 19th century, the economy continued to be dominated by cotton culture. Cotton was grown mainly by small farmers, largely tenants or sharecroppers, many of whom became debt-ridden due to low prices paid for the crop. Alabama was fertile ground for agrarian reformers, and the Populist party had numerous adherents in the 1890s.

In the early 20th century cotton declined in importance, partly because boll weevil infestations made farming more precarious; many rural Alabamians left the state, especially for cities of the northern United States. The state's economy was rejuvenated by the demands of the American effort during World War I; steelmaking boomed, and Mobile developed an important shipbuilding industry. The state was severely affected by the Depression of the 1930s; many banks failed and unemployment increased drastically. World War II marked the beginning of a long-term economic upswing.

Civil Rights. Race relations were a major issue in Alabama in the 1950s and '60s, as civil rights advocates worked to end racial segregation in the state. During 1955 -56, Martin Luther King, Jr., organized a black boycott that ended racially separate seating on municipal buses in Montgomery. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, but white officials in Alabama avoided implementing the decision until 1963, when, after tense confrontations between Gov. George C. Wallace and federal officials, integration was begun.

In 1963 four black children were killed when a bomb destroyed part of their Birmingham church. The incident, widely deplored in the nation, helped create the atmosphere for passage of the landmark federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1965, King led a march from Selma to Montgomery to protest discrimination in voter registration. The U.S. Congress responded with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which helped add many blacks to the voting rolls in Alabama and thereby encouraged white politicians in the state to moderate their views in order to attract black votes.

By the early 1970s most of Alabama's schools had been integrated. Progress continued for blacks through the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, with Alabama electing numerous black mayors, county officials, and state legislators.

The Ascent of Two-Party Government. Governor Wallace, whose tenure had spanned the civil rights movement, retired in 1987 after four (nonconsecutive) terms in office. His successor, Guy Hunt, was the state's first Republican governor in 112 years. Hunt was removed from office in 1993 after conviction on ethics charges, but the 1994 election of Republican Fob James, who served until 1999, was evidence of continued movement toward a two-party system in Alabama. Governor Wallace, whose tenure had spanned the civil rights movement, retired in 1987 after four (nonconsecutive) terms in office. His successor, Guy Hunt, was the state's first Republican governor in 112 years. Hunt was removed from office in 1993 after conviction on ethics charges, but the 1994 election of Republican Fob James, who served until 1999, was evidence of continued movement toward a two-party system in Alabama.

Race relations were a major issue in Alabama in the 1950s and '60s, as civil rights advocates worked to end racial segregation in the state. During 1955 -56, Martin Luther King, Jr., organized a black boycott that ended racially separate seating on municipal buses in Montgomery. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, but white officials in Alabama avoided implementing the decision until 1963, when, after tense confrontations between Gov. George C. Wallace and federal officials, integration was begun.

Although Alabama began large-scale industrialization in the late 19th century, the economy continued to be dominated by cotton culture. Cotton was grown mainly by small farmers, largely tenants or sharecroppers, many of whom became debt-ridden due to low prices paid for the crop. Alabama was fertile ground for agrarian reformers, and the Populist party had numerous adherents in the 1890s.

Economic Recovery. Although Alabama began large-scale industrialization in the late 19th century, the economy continued to be dominated by cotton culture. Cotton was grown mainly by small farmers, largely tenants or sharecroppers, many of whom became debt-ridden due to low prices paid for the crop. Alabama was fertile ground for agrarian reformers, and the Populist party had numerous adherents in the 1890s.

In the early 20th century cotton declined in importance, partly because boll weevil infestations made farming more precarious; many rural Alabamians left the state, especially for cities of the northern United States. The state's economy was rejuvenated by the demands of the American effort during World War I; steelmaking boomed, and Mobile developed an important shipbuilding industry. The state was severely affected by the Depression of the 1930s; many banks failed and unemployment increased drastically. World War II marked the beginning of a long-term economic upswing.

Civil Rights. Race relations were a major issue in Alabama in the 1950s and '60s, as civil rights advocates worked to end racial segregation in the state. During 1955 -56, Martin Luther King, Jr., organized a black boycott that ended racially separate seating on municipal buses in Montgomery. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, but white officials in Alabama avoided implementing the decision until 1963, when, after tense confrontations between Gov. George C. Wallace and federal officials, integration was begun.

In 1963 four black children were killed when a bomb destroyed part of their Birmingham church. The incident, widely deplored in the nation, helped create the atmosphere for passage of the landmark federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1965, King led a march from Selma to Montgomery to protest discrimination in voter registration. The U.S. Congress responded with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which helped add many blacks to the voting rolls in Alabama and thereby encouraged white politicians in the state to moderate their views in order to attract black votes.

By the early 1970s most of Alabama's schools had been integrated. Progress continued for blacks through the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, with Alabama electing numerous black mayors, county officials, and state legislators.

The Ascent of Two-Party Government. Governor Wallace, whose tenure had spanned the civil rights movement, retired in 1987 after four (nonconsecutive) terms in office. His successor, Guy Hunt, was the state's first Republican governor in 112 years. Hunt was removed from office in 1993 after conviction on ethics charges, but the 1994 election of Republican Fob James, who served until 1999, was evidence of continued movement toward a two-party system in Alabama. Governor Wallace, whose tenure had spanned the civil rights movement, retired in 1987 after four (nonconsecutive) terms in office. His successor, Guy Hunt, was the state's first Republican governor in 112 years. Hunt was removed from office in 1993 after conviction on ethics charges, but the 1994 election of Republican Fob James, who served until 1999, was evidence of continued movement toward a two-party system in Alabama.

Race relations were a major issue in Alabama in the 1950s and '60s, as civil rights advocates worked to end racial segregation in the state. During 1955 -56, Martin Luther King, Jr., organized a black boycott that ended racially separate seating on municipal buses in Montgomery. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, but white officials in Alabama avoided implementing the decision until 1963, when, after tense confrontations between Gov. George C. Wallace and federal officials, integration was begun.

Civil Rights. Race relations were a major issue in Alabama in the 1950s and '60s, as civil rights advocates worked to end racial segregation in the state. During 1955 -56, Martin Luther King, Jr., organized a black boycott that ended racially separate seating on municipal buses in Montgomery. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, but white officials in Alabama avoided implementing the decision until 1963, when, after tense confrontations between Gov. George C. Wallace and federal officials, integration was begun.

In 1963 four black children were killed when a bomb destroyed part of their Birmingham church. The incident, widely deplored in the nation, helped create the atmosphere for passage of the landmark federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1965, King led a march from Selma to Montgomery to protest discrimination in voter registration. The U.S. Congress responded with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which helped add many blacks to the voting rolls in Alabama and thereby encouraged white politicians in the state to moderate their views in order to attract black votes.

By the early 1970s most of Alabama's schools had been integrated. Progress continued for blacks through the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, with Alabama electing numerous black mayors, county officials, and state legislators.

The Ascent of Two-Party Government. Governor Wallace, whose tenure had spanned the civil rights movement, retired in 1987 after four (nonconsecutive) terms in office. His successor, Guy Hunt, was the state's first Republican governor in 112 years. Hunt was removed from office in 1993 after conviction on ethics charges, but the 1994 election of Republican Fob James, who served until 1999, was evidence of continued movement toward a two-party system in Alabama. Governor Wallace, whose tenure had spanned the civil rights movement, retired in 1987 after four (nonconsecutive) terms in office. His successor, Guy Hunt, was the state's first Republican governor in 112 years. Hunt was removed from office in 1993 after conviction on ethics charges, but the 1994 election of Republican Fob James, who served until 1999, was evidence of continued movement toward a two-party system in Alabama.

The Ascent of Two-Party Government. Governor Wallace, whose tenure had spanned the civil rights movement, retired in 1987 after four (nonconsecutive) terms in office. His successor, Guy Hunt, was the state's first Republican governor in 112 years. Hunt was removed from office in 1993 after conviction on ethics charges, but the 1994 election of Republican Fob James, who served until 1999, was evidence of continued movement toward a two-party system in Alabama.