Spanish explorers are believed to have arrived at Mobile Bay in 1519, and the territory was visited in 1540 by the explorer Hernando de Soto. The first permanent European settlement in Alabama was founded by the French at Fort Louis de la Mobile in 1702. The British gained control of the area in 1763 by the Treaty of Paris but had to cede almost all the Alabama region to the U.S. and Spain after the American Revolution. The Confederacy was founded at Montgomery in Feb. 1861, and, for a time, the city was the Confederate capital.
During the later 19th century, the economy of the state slowly improved with industrialization. At Tuskegee Institute, founded in 1881 by Booker T. Washington, Dr. George Washington Carver carried out his famous agricultural research.
In the 1950s and '60s, Alabama was the site of such landmark civil-rights actions as the bus boycott in Montgomery (1955â€“56) and the â€œFreedom Marchâ€ from Selma to Montgomery (1965).
Some Alabama Symbols
1. State Bird
2. State Mammal
3. State Flower
4. State Butterfly
5. State Fruit
6. State Tree
7. State Nut
8. State Rock
9. State Fish
10. State Game Bird
Yellowhammer - The state bird of Alabama is the Yellowhammer. Some even call Alabama The Yellowhammer state. This breed of woodpecker was chosen in 1927. Alabama is the only state to have chosen a breed of woodpecker as a state bird.
Black Bear - The state mammal of Alabama is the black bear. It was not designated the official state mammal however until 1996. Black bears are intelligent yet shy and secretive animals and quite elusive making seeing one in the wild a rare event.
Camellia - The camellia was designed the state flower of Alabama in 1959 which replaced the original flower adoped in 1927 which was the goldenrod. Camellia's are not native to Alabama, it is an Asian flower which just happens to be cultivated in the southern U.S.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly - The state butterfly was designated in 1989 at the request of the city of Selma, Alabama's City Council (Selma is called the Butterfly Capital of Alabama.)
Blackberry - Alabama designated the blackberry as the official state fruit in 2004, and also recognizes the peach tree as official tree fruit. The blackberry is a hardy plant and popular in jams, pies, jellies and even wine.
Southern Longleaf Pine - The southern longleaf pine is the official state tree of Alabama. The longleaf pine ecosystem once covered 90 million acres in the Southeastern United States. Today only scattered patches of the longleaf pine/wiregrass ecosystem occur - mostly in the coastal plains of the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. Less than three million acres remain (over 97% decline) and over 30 plant and animal species associated with longleaf pine ecosystems are threatened or endangered.
Pecan - Alabama chose the pecan as the state nut in 1982. There are over 1,000 varieties of pecan trees many named for Native American Indian tribes such as Cheyenne, Mohawk, Sioux, Choctaw and Shawnee.
Marble - Alabama marble was desginated the official state rock in 1969. The major source of Alabama marble is in an area known as the "Sylacauga marble belt" in Talladega County. The marble from this area has been called the whitest marble in the world. Alabama marble was used in the Abraham Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the United States Capitol, and several other well known buildings in the nations capitol.
Largemouth Bass - Alabama chose the largemouth bass as the official freshwater fish in 1975. This black bass (an elongated sunfish) lives in quiet, vegetation-rich waters and can grow to over 20 inches and weigh over fifteen pounds.
Wild Turkey - A choice Benjamin Franklin would have loved, Alabama chose the wild turkey as the official state game bird in 1980.The eastern wild turkey is the largest and most widely distributed of the six recognized subspecies of wild turkey in North America . The male can grow up to four feet tall and weigh well over 20 pounds. Hens may be almost as tall but usually weigh no more than 12 - 14 pounds. The wild turkey is also an official state symbol of Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Oklahoma.
Did you know?
Alabama not Louisiana first introduced Mardi Gras to the western world.
Alabama workers built the first rocket to put humans on the moon giving the city of Huntsville the nickname the "rocket capital of the World.
The Alabama Department of Archives is the oldest state-funded archival agency in the nation.
In 1902 Dr. Luther Leonidas Hill performed the first open heart surgery in the Western Hemisphere by suturing a stab wound in a young boy's heart. The surgery occurred in Montgomery.
Blount County was created on February 7, 1818 and is older than the state.
At the Battle of Mobile Bay Admiral David Farragut issued his famous command, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead." The event occurred on August 5, 1864.