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Alabama State History

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1519—Spain explores Mobile Bay

1540—Hernando de Soto of Spain explores Alabama

1559—Tristan de Luna establishes temporary settlements on Mobile Bay

1702—France founds Fort Louis de la Mobile on the Mobile River

1763—End of the French and Indian War.  Britain controls Alabama.

1780—Spain takes Mobile from Britain.

1783—Britain gives Northern Alabama to the US and Mobile to Spain.

1813—The Creek War ends; the Creek Indians are forced west

1817—Congress organizes the Alabama Territory.

1819—Alabama becomes the 22nd state

1830—Indians begin moving to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears

1861—Alabama joins the confederacy

1865—The Civil War ends; Mobile and Montgomery surrender

1868—Alabama reenters the United States

1933—The Tennessee Valley Authority is formed

1955—Rosa Park refuses to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus

1965—Martin Luther King Jr. leads a protest march of voter discrimination
In 1519, Spanish explorers sailed into Mobile Bay.  In 1540, Spaniard Hernando de Soto became the first white man to explore the interior land of Alabama.  He found Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek Indians living throughout the state.  In a great battle north of Mobile, Soto defeated the Indians and burned their villages.

The first permanent European settlement in Alabama was French.  In 1702, Pierre Le Moyne and Baptiste Le Moyne sailed to Dauphin Island in Mobile Bay and there founded Fort Louis.  Fort Louis became the capital of the French colony known as Louisiana.

In 1763, Great Britain gained control of most of French Louisiana in the Treaty of Paris.  Mobile came under British control and Northern Alabama was considered Illinois country.  In 1779, Spain declared war on Britain and gained control of Mobile.

The Treaty of San Lorenzo placed all of Alabama except the Mobile area in the United States in 1795.  During the War of 1812, the United States seized the Mobile area from Spain.

In 1817, Congress organized the Alabama Territory with Tombigbee River as the capital.  On Dec. 14, 1819, Alabama became the 22nd state.  The state capital changed several times and in 1846, Montgomery became the permanent state capital of Alabama.

Creek Indians led many raids on settlers moving into Alabama.  U.S. troops fought and defeated them in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.  By 1839, few Native Americans remained in Alabama.

Cotton became Alabama’s major crop, and along with cotton plantations came slavery.  Many people of the northern states felt slavery was wrong and wanted it outlawed.  In 1848, Alabama adopted the “Alabama Platform,” saying that the federal government did not have the right to prohibit slaves.  Tension continued to grow and on Jan. 11, 1861, Alabama seceded from the Union.  Alabama invited others to secede and join them.  On Feb. 8th, the Confederate States of America was established with Montgomery as its capital.  The Civil War had begun.

After the war was over, Alabama was readmitted to the Union on June 25, 1868.  New industries were created, farms diminished and many people moved to the cities.  Iron and steel production became Alabama’s most important manufacturing industry.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the South experienced serious racial problems.  Segregation kept whites and blacks separate in schools, restaurants, transportation and parks.  Martin Luther King Jr., led a boycott of busses in Montgomery.  Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. Even with federal laws ruling segregation unconstitutional, the National Guard was called upon many times to enforce the law in Alabama.  Segregation did not end in Alabama until the 1980s.