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This article is about the U.S. state. For other uses, see 1 Etymology
Alabama (disambiguation).

Alabama ( i /lbm/) is a state in the southeastern

region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee
to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf
of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Al-
abama is the 30th-most extensive and the 24th-most pop-
ulous of the U.S. states. At 1,300 miles (2,100 km), Al-
abama has one of the nations longest navigable inland
From the American Civil War until World War II, Al-
abama, like many states in the southern U.S., suered
economic hardship, in part because of continued depen-
dence on agriculture. Despite the growth of major indus- One of the entrances to Russell Cave in Jackson County. Char-
tries and urban centers, white rural interests dominated coal from indigenous camp res in the cave has been dated as
the state legislature from 1901 to the 1960s, as it did not early as 6550 to 6145 BC.
regularly reapportion the legislature from 1901 to 1961;
urban interests and African Americans were markedly The European-American naming of the Alabama River
under-represented.[9] African Americans and poor whites and state originates from the Alabama people, a
were essentially disenfranchised altogether by the state Muskogean-speaking tribe whose members lived just be-
constitution of 1901, a status that continued into the mid- low the conuence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers on
1960s before being alleviated by federal legislation. Ex- the upper reaches of the river.[13] In the Alabama lan-
clusion of minorities continued under at-large voting sys- guage, the word for a person of Alabama lineage is Al-
tems in most counties; some changes were made through baamo (or variously Albaama or Albamo in dierent
a series of omnibus court cases in the late 1980s to estab- dialects; the plural form is Albaamaha).[14]
lish dierent electoral systems. The word Alabama is believed to have come from the
Following World War II, Alabama experienced growth Alabama language and a suggestion the name was bor-
as the states economy changed from one primarily based rowed from the Choctaw language is unlikely.[15][16]
on agriculture to one with diversied interests. The The words spelling varies signicantly among historical
power of the Solid South in Congress gained the estab- sources.[16] The rst usage appears in three accounts of
lishment or expansion of multiple United States Armed the Hernando de Soto expedition of 1540 with Garcilaso
Forces installations, which helped bridge the gap between de la Vega using Alibamo, while the Knight of Elvas and
an agricultural and industrial economy during the mid- Rodrigo Ranjel wrote Alibamu and Limamu, respectively,
20th century. The state economy in the 21st century is in eorts to transliterate the term.[16] As early as 1702,
based on management, automotive, nance, manufactur- the French called the tribe the Alibamon, with French
ing, aerospace, mineral extraction, healthcare, education, maps identifying the river as Rivire des Alibamons.[13]
retail, and technology.[10] Other spellings of the appellation have included Alibamu,
Alabamo, Albama, Alebamon, Alibama, Alibamou, Al-
Alabama is nicknamed the Yellowhammer State, after
abamu, Allibamou.[16][17][18][19]
the state bird. Alabama is also known as the Heart of
Dixie" and the Cotton State. The state tree is the longleaf Sources disagree on the words meaning. Some schol-
pine, and the state ower is the camellia. Alabamas cap- ars suggest the word comes from the Choctaw alba
ital is Montgomery. The largest city by population is (meaning plants or weeds) and amo (meaning to
Birmingham,[11] which has long been the most industrial- cut, to trim, or to gather). The mean-
ized city, and largest city by land area is Huntsville. The ing may have been clearers of the thicket or
oldest city is Mobile, founded by French colonists in 1702 herb gatherers, referring to clearing land for
as the capital of French Louisiana.[12] cultivation[17] or collecting medicinal plants.[22] The state
has numerous place names of Native American ori-
gin.[23][24] However, there are no correspondingly similar


words in the Alabama language. contact were the Cherokee, an Iroquoian language peo-
An 1842 article in the Jacksonville Republican proposed ple; and the Muskogean-speaking Alabama (Alibamu),
it meant Here We Rest.[16] This notion was popular- Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Koasati.[30] While part
ized in the 1850s through the writings of Alexander of the same large language family, the Muskogee tribes
Beaufort Meek.[16] Experts in the Muskogean languages developed distinct cultures and languages.
have been unable to nd evidence to support such a
translation.[13][16] And, thus, this is probably erroneous.

2 History
2.2 European settlement
Main article: History of Alabama
With exploration in the 16th century, the Spanish were
the rst Europeans to reach Alabama. The expedition
of Hernando de Soto passed through Mabila and other
2.1 Pre-European settlement parts of the state in 1540. More than 160 years later, the
French founded the regions rst European settlement at
Old Mobile in 1702.[31] The city was moved to the cur-
rent site of Mobile in 1711. This area was claimed by the
French from 1702 to 1763 as part of La Louisiane.[32]
After the French lost to the British in the Seven Years
War, it became part of British West Florida from 1763
to 1783. After the United States victory in the American
Revolutionary War, the territory was divided between the
United States and Spain. The latter retained control of
this western territory from 1783 until the surrender of the
Spanish garrison at Mobile to U.S. forces on April 13,
Thomas Bassett, a loyalist to the British monarchy dur-
ing the Revolutionary era, was one of the earliest white
The Moundville Archaeological Site in Hale County. It was occu-
settlers in the state outside Mobile. He settled in the
pied by Native Americans of the Mississippian culture from 1000
to 1450 AD. Tombigbee District during the early 1770s.[34] The dis-
tricts boundaries were roughly limited to the area within
Indigenous peoples of varying cultures lived in the area a few miles of the Tombigbee River and included portions
for thousands of years before European colonization. of what is today southern Clarke County, northernmost
Trade with the northeastern tribes by the Ohio River be- Mobile County, and most of Washington County.[35][36]
gan during the Burial Mound Period (1000 BCAD 700)
What is now the counties of Baldwin and Mobile became
and continued until European contact.[25] part of Spanish West Florida in 1783, part of the inde-
The agrarian Mississippian culture covered most of the pendent Republic of West Florida in 1810, and was -
state from 1000 to 1600 AD, with one of its major centers nally added to the Mississippi Territory in 1812. Most
built at what is now the Moundville Archaeological Site of what is now the northern two-thirds of Alabama was
in Moundville, Alabama.[26][27] This is the second-largest known as the Yazoo lands beginning during the British
complex of the classic Middle Mississippian era, after colonial period. It was claimed by the Province of Geor-
Cahokia in present-day Illinois, which was the center of gia from 1767 onwards. Following the Revolutionary
the culture. Analysis of artifacts from archaeological ex- War, it remained a part of Georgia, although heavily
cavations at Moundville were the basis of scholars for- disputed.[37][38]
mulating the characteristics of the Southeastern Ceremo-
With the exception of the area around Mobile and the
nial Complex (SECC).[28] Contrary to popular belief, the
Yazoo lands, what is now the lower one-third Alabama
SECC appears to have no direct links to Mesoamerican was made part of the Mississippi Territory when it was
culture, but developed independently. The Ceremonial organized in 1798. The Yazoo lands were added to the
Complex represents a major component of the religion of
territory in 1804, following the Yazoo land scandal.[38][39]
the Mississippian peoples; it is one of the primary means
Spain kept a claim on its former Spanish West Florida
by which their religion is understood.[29] territory in what would become the coastal counties until
Among the historical tribes of Native American people the AdamsOns Treaty ocially ceded it to the United
living in present-day Alabama at the time of European States in 1819.[33]
2.3 19th century 3

cultivation.[43][44] Part of the frontier in the 1820s and

1830s, its constitution provided for universal surage for
white men.[45]
Southeastern planters and traders from the Upper South
brought slaves with them as the cotton plantations in Al-
abama expanded. The economy of the central Black
Belt (named for its dark, productive soil) was built
around large cotton plantations whose owners wealth
grew largely from slave labor.[45] The area also drew
many poor, disfranchised people who became subsistence
farmers. Alabama had an estimated population of un-
der 10,000 people in 1810, but it increased to more
than 300,000 people by 1830.[43] Most Native American
tribes were completely removed from the state within a
few years of the passage of the Indian Removal Act by
Congress in 1830.[46]
Map showing the formation of the Mississippi and Alabama ter-

2.3 19th century

Before the admission of Mississippi as a state on Decem-

ber 10, 1817, the more sparsely settled eastern half of
the territory was separated and named the Alabama Ter-
ritory. The Alabama Territory was created by the United
States Congress on March 3, 1817. St. Stephens, now
abandoned, served as the territorial capital from 1817 to
The U.S. Congress selected Huntsville as the site for the Ruins of the former capitol building in Tuscaloosa. Designed by
rst Constitutional Convention of Alabama after it was William Nichols, it was built from 182729 and was destroyed
approved to become the 22nd state. From July 5 to Au- by re in 1923.
gust 2, 1819, delegates met to prepare the new state con-
stitution. Huntsville served as Alabamas temporary cap- From 1826 to 1846, Tuscaloosa served as Alabamas
ital from 1819 to 1820, when the seat of state government capital. On January 30, 1846, the Alabama legislature
was moved to Cahaba in Dallas County.[41] announced it had voted to move the capital city from
Tuscaloosa to Montgomery. The rst legislative ses-
sion in the new capital met in December 1847.[47] A
new capitol building was erected under the direction of
Stephen Decatur Button of Philadelphia. The rst struc-
ture burned down in 1849, but was rebuilt on the same site
in 1851. This second capitol building in Montgomery re-
mains to the present day. It was designed by Barachias
Holt of Exeter, Maine.[48][49]
By 1860, the population had increased to 964,201 peo-
ple, of which nearly half, 435,080, were enslaved African
Americans, and 2,690 were free people of color.[50] On
January 11, 1861, Alabama declared its secession from
the Union. After remaining an independent republic for
The main house, built in 1833, at Thornhill in Greene County. It a few days, it joined the Confederate States of America.
is a former Black Belt plantation. The Confederacys capital was initially at Montgomery.
Alabama was heavily involved in the American Civil War.
Cahaba, now a ghost town, was the rst permanent Although comparatively few battles were fought in the
state capital from 1820 to 1825.[42] Alabama Fever was state, Alabama contributed about 120,000 soldiers to the
underway when the state was admitted to the Union, war eort.
with settlers and land speculators pouring into the state A company of cavalry soldiers from Huntsville, Al-
to take advantage of fertile land suitable for cotton abama joined Nathan Bedford Forrest's battalion in

eryday life.

2.4 20th century

Union Army troops occupying Courthouse Square in Huntsville,

following its capture and occupation by federal forces in 1864.

Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The company wore new uni-

forms with yellow trim on the sleeves, collar and coat tails.
This led to them being greeted with Yellowhammer, The developing skyline of Birmingham in 1915
and the name later was applied to all Alabama troops in
the Confederate Army.[51] The new 1901 Constitution of Alabama included
Alabamas slaves were freed by the 13th Amendment in provisions for voter registration that eectively
1865. [52]
Alabama was under military rule from the end disenfranchised large portions of the population,
of the war in May 1865 until its ocial restoration to the including nearly all African Americans and Native
Union in 1868. From 1867 to 1874, with most white cit- Americans, and tens of thousands of poor whites,
izens barred temporarily from voting and freedmen en- through making voter registration dicult, requiring
franchised, many African Americans emerged as polit- a poll taxes and literacy test.[56] By 1903, only 2,980
ical leaders in the state. Alabama was represented in African Americans were registered in Alabama, although
Congress during this period by three African-American at least 74,000 were literate. This compared to more
congressmen: Jeremiah Haralson, Benjamin S. Turner, than 181,000 African Americans eligible to vote in[57] 1900.
and James T. Rapier. [53] The numbers dropped even more in later decades.

Following the war, the state remained chiey agri- While the planter class had persuaded poor whites to vote
cultural, with an economy tied to cotton. During for this legislative eort to suppress black voting, the new
Reconstruction, state legislators ratied a new state con-restrictions resulted in their disenfranchisement as well,
stitution in 1868 that created the states rst public due mostly to the imposition of a cumulative poll tax.[57]
By 1941, whites constituted a slight majority of those dis-
school system and expanded womens rights. Legisla-
tors funded numerous public road and railroad projects, enfranchised by these laws: 600,000 Whites vs. 520,000
African-Americans.[57] Nearly all African Americans had
although these were plagued with allegations of fraud
and misappropriation.[53] Organized insurgent, resistance lost the ability to vote. Despite numerous legal challenges
that succeeded in overturning certain provisions, the state
groups tried to suppress the freedmen and Republicans.
Besides the short-lived original Ku Klux Klan, these in- legislature would create new ones to maintain disenfran-
chisement. The exclusion of blacks from the political sys-
cluded the Pale Faces, Knights of the White Camellia,
Red Shirts, and the White League.[53] tem persisted until after passage of federal civil rights leg-
islation in the 1965 to enforce their constitutional rights
Reconstruction in Alabama ended in 1874, when the as citizens.
Democrats regained control of the legislature and gov-
ernors oce through an election dominated by fraud The 1901 constitution required racial segregation of pub-
and violence. They wrote another constitution in lic schools. It also restated that interracial marriage was
1875, [53]
and the legislature passed the Blaine Amend- illegal, as it had been prohibited in 1867. Into the 1950s,
ment, prohibiting public money from being used to - the state legislature passed additional racial segregation
nance religious-aliated schools.[54] The same year, leg- laws related to public facilities: jails were segregated in
islation was approved that called for racially segregated 1911; hospitals in 1915; toilets, hotels, and[55]
restaurants in
schools. [55]
Railroad passenger cars were segregated in 1928; and bus stop waiting rooms in 1945.
1891.[55] After disfranchising most African Americans The rural-dominated Alabama legislature consistently
and many poor whites in the 1901 constitution, the Al- underfunded schools and services for the disenfranchised
abama legislature passed more Jim Crow laws at the be- African Americans, but it did not relieve them of pay-
ginning of the 20th century to impose segregation in ev- ing taxes.[45] Partially as a response to chronic underfund-
2.4 20th century 5

ing of education for African Americans in the South, the court order.
Rosenwald Fund began funding the construction of what
came to be known as Rosenwald Schools. In Alabama Beginning in the 1940s, when the courts
these schools were designed and the construction partially started taking the rst steps to recognize the
nanced with Rosenwald funds, which paid one-third of voting rights of black voters, the Alabama leg-
the construction costs. The fund required the local com- islature took several counter -steps designed
munity and state to raise matching funds to pay the rest. to disfranchise black voters. The legislature
Black residents eectively taxed themselves twice, by passed, and the voters ratied [as these were
raising additional monies to supply matching funds for mostly white voters], a state constitutional
such schools, which were built in many rural areas. They amendment that gave local registrars greater
often donated land and labor as well.[58] latitude to disqualify voter registration appli-
cants. Black citizens in Mobile successfully
challenged this amendment as a violation of
the Fifteenth Amendment. The legislature also
changed the boundaries of Tuskegee to a 28-
sided gure designed to fence out blacks from
the city limits. The Supreme Court unani-
mously held that this racial "gerrymandering"
violated the Constitution. In 1961, ... the Al-
abama legislature also intentionally diluted the
eect of the black vote by instituting numbered
place requirements for local elections.[59]

Industrial development related to the demands of World

War II brought a level of prosperity to the state not seen
since before the Civil War.[45] Rural workers poured into
The former Mount Sinai School in rural Autauga County, com-
the largest cities in the state for better jobs and a higher
pleted in 1919. It was one of the 387 Rosenwald Schools built in
standard of living. One example of this massive inux of
the state.
workers occurred in Mobile. Between 1940 and 1943,
Beginning in 1913, the rst 80 Rosenwald Schools were more than 89,000 people moved into the city to work
built in Alabama for African-American children. A total for war-related industries.[60] Cotton and other cash crops
of 387 schools, seven teachers houses, and several vo- faded in importance as the state developed a manufactur-
cational buildings were completed by 1937 in the state. ing and service base.
Several of the surviving school buildings in the state are Despite massive population changes in the state from
now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[58] 1901 to 1961, the rural-dominated legislature refused to
Continued racial discrimination and lynchings, agricul- reapportion House and Senate seats based on population,
as required by the state constitution to follow the results
tural depression, and the failure of the cotton crops due
to boll weevil infestation led tens of thousands of African of decennial censuses. They held on to old representation
to maintain political and economic power in agricultural
Americans from rural Alabama and other states to seek
opportunities in northern and midwestern cities during areas. In addition, the state legislature gerrymandered
the few Birmingham legislative seats to ensure election
the early decades of the 20th century as part of the Great
Migration out of the South. Reecting this emigration, by persons living outside Birmingham.
the population growth rate in Alabama (see Historical One result was that Jeerson County, containing Birm-
Populations table below) dropped by nearly half from inghams industrial and economic powerhouse, con-
1910 to 1920. tributed more than one-third of all tax revenue to the
At the same time, many rural people, both White and state, but did not receive a proportional amount in ser-
African American, migrated to the city of Birmingham vices. Urban interests were consistently underrepre-
to work in new industrial jobs. Birmingham experienced sented in the legislature. A 1960 study noted that because
such rapid growth that it was called the Magic City. of rural domination, a minority of about 25 per cent of
By the 1920s, Birmingham was the 19th-largest city in the total state population
is in majority control of the Al-
the United States and had more than 30% of the states abama legislature.
population. Heavy industry and mining were the basis A class action suit initiated on behalf of plaintis in
of its economy. Its residents were under-represented for Lowndes County, Alabama challenged the state legis-
decades in the state legislature, which refused to redis- latures lack of redistricting for congressional seats. In
trict after each decennial census according to population 1962 White v. Crook, Judge Frank M. Johnson ordered
changes, as it was required by the state constitution. This the state to redistrict. United States Supreme Court cases
did not change until the late 1960s following a lawsuit and of Baker v. Carr (1962) and Reynolds v. Sims (1964)

ruled that the principle of "one man, one vote" needed to in Conecuh County. Together use of these systems has
be the basis of both houses of state legislatures as well, increased the number of African Americans and women
and that their districts had to be based on population, being elected to local oces, resulting in governments
rather than geographic counties, as Alabama had used for that are more representative of their citizens.[63]
its senate.
In 1972, for the rst time since 1901, the legislature com-
pleted the rst congressional redistricting based on the 3 Geography
decennial census. This beneted the urban areas that
had developed, as well as all in the population who had
been underrepresented for more than 60 years.[9] Other
changes were made to implement representative state
house and senate districts.
African Americans continued to press in the 1950s and
1960s to end disenfranchisement and segregation in the
state through the Civil Rights Movement, including le-
gal challenges. In 1954, the US Supreme Court ruled
in Brown v. Board of Education that public schools
had to be desegregated, but Alabama was slow to com-
ply. During the 1960s, under Governor George Wal-
lace, Alabama resisted compliance with federal demands
for desegregation. The Civil Rights Movement had no-
table events in Alabama, including the Montgomery Bus
Boycott (195556), Freedom Rides in 1961, and 1965
Selma to Montgomery marches. These contributed to
Congressional passage and enactment of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964[61] and Voting Rights Act of 1965 by the U.S.
Legal segregation ended in the states in 1964, but Jim
Crow customs often continued until specically chal-
lenged in court.[62]
Despite recommendations of a 1973 Alabama Constitu-
tional Commission, the state legislature did not approve
an amendment to establish home rule for counties. There
is very limited home rule, but the legislature is deeply in-
volved in passing legislation that applies to county-level
functions and policies. This both deprives local residents
of the ability to govern themselves and distracts the leg-
islature from statewide issues. A general map of Alabama
Alabama has made some changes since the late 20th cen-
tury and has used new types of voting to increase repre- Main article: Geography of Alabama
sentation. In the 1980s, an omnibus redistricting case, See also: List of Alabama counties and Geology of
Dillard v. Crenshaw County, challenged the at-large vot- Alabama
ing for representative seats of 180 Alabama jurisdictions,
including counties and school boards. At-large voting had Alabama is the thirtieth-largest state in the United States
diluted the votes of any minority in a county, as the ma- with 52,419 square miles (135,760 km2 ) of total area:
jority tended to take all seats. Despite African Ameri- 3.2% of the area is water, making Alabama 23rd in the
cans making up a signicant minority in the state, they amount of surface water, also giving it the second-largest
had been unable to elect any representatives in most of inland waterway system in the U.S.[64] About three-fths
the at-large jurisdictions. of the land area is a gentle plain with a general descent to-
As part of settlement of this case, ve Alabama cites and wards the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The
counties, including Chilton County, adopted a system of North Alabama region is mostly mountainous, with the
cumulative voting for election of representatives in multi- Tennessee River cutting a large valley and creating [65] nu-
seat jurisdictions. This has resulted in more proportional merous creeks, streams, rivers, mountains, and lakes.
representation for voters. In another form of proportional Alabama is bordered by the states of Tennessee to the
representation, 23 jurisdictions use limited voting, as in north, Georgia to the east, Florida to the south, and
Conecuh County. In 1982, limited voting was rst tested Mississippi to the west. Alabama has coastline at the Gulf
3.1 Climate 7

of Mexico, in the extreme southern edge of the state.[65]

The state ranges in elevation from sea level[66] at Mobile
Bay to over 1,800 feet (550 m) in the Appalachian Moun-
tains in the northeast.
The highest point is Mount Cheaha,[65] at a height of
2,413 ft (735 m).[67] Alabamas land consists of 22 mil-
lion acres (89,000 km2 ) of forest or 67% of total land
area.[68] Suburban Baldwin County, along the Gulf Coast,
is the largest county in the state in both land area and wa-
ter area.[69]
Areas in Alabama administered by the National Park Ser-
vice include Horseshoe Bend National Military Park near
Alexander City; Little River Canyon National Preserve
near Fort Payne; Russell Cave National Monument in
Bridgeport; Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in
Tuskegee; and Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site
near Tuskegee.[70]
Additionally, Alabama has four National Forests:
Conecuh, Talladega, Tuskegee, and William B.
Bankhead.[71] Alabama also contains the Natchez Trace
Parkway, the Selma To Montgomery National Historic
Trail, and the Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail. A
notable natural wonder in Alabama is Natural Bridge
rock, the longest natural bridge east of the Rockies, Autumn tree in Birmingham
located just south of Haleyville.
A 5-mile (8 km)-wide meteorite impact crater is located
in Elmore County, just north of Montgomery. This is the Summers in Alabama are among the hottest in the
Wetumpka crater, the site of Alabamas greatest natural U.S., with high temperatures averaging over 90 F (32
disaster. A 1,000-foot (300 m)-wide meteorite hit the C) throughout the summer in some parts of the state.
area about 80 million years ago.[72] The hills just east Alabama is also prone to tropical storms and even
of downtown Wetumpka showcase the eroded remains hurricanes. Areas of the state far away from the Gulf
of the impact crater that was blasted into the bedrock, are not immune to the eects of the storms, which often
with the area labeled the Wetumpka crater or astrobleme dump tremendous amounts of rain as they move inland
(star-wound) because of the concentric rings of frac- and weaken.
tures and zones of shattered rock that can be found be- South Alabama reports many thunderstorms. The Gulf
neath the surface.[73] In 2002, Christian Koeberl with the Coast, around Mobile Bay, averages between 70 and 80
Institute of Geochemistry University of Vienna published days per year with thunder reported. This activity de-
evidence and established the site as the 157th recognized creases somewhat further north in the state, but even the
impact crater on Earth.[74] far north of the state reports thunder on about 60 days
per year. Occasionally, thunderstorms are severe with
frequent lightning and large hail; the central and north-
ern parts of the state are most vulnerable to this type of
3.1 Climate storm. Alabama ranks ninth in the number of deaths from
lightning and tenth in the number of deaths from lightning
Main article: Climate of Alabama strikes per capita.[77]
The state is classied as humid subtropical (Cfa) under
the Koppen Climate Classication.[75] The average an- Alabama, along with Oklahoma, has the most reported
nual temperature is 64 F (18 C). Temperatures tend EF5 tornadoes of any state, according to statistics from
to be warmer in the southern part of the state with its the National Climatic Data Center for the period January
proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, while the northern parts 1, 1950, to June 2013.[78] Several long-tracked F5/EF5
of the state, especially in the Appalachian Mountains in tornadoes have contributed to Alabama reporting more
the northeast, tend to be slightly cooler.[76] Generally, Al- tornado fatalities than any other state. The state was af-
abama has very hot summers and mild winters with copi- fected by the 1974 Super Outbreak and was devastated
ous precipitation throughout the year. Alabama receives tremendously by the 2011 Super Outbreak. The 2011
an average of 56 inches (1,400 mm) of rainfall annually Super Outbreak produced a record amount of tornadoes
and enjoys a lengthy growing season of up to 300 days in in the state. The tally reached 62.[79]
the southern part of the state.[76] The peak season for tornadoes varies from the northern

community of Centerville. The record low of 27 F

(33 C) occurred on January 30, 1966 in New Mar-

3.2 Flora and fauna

Tornado damage in Phil Campbell following the statewide April

27, 2011 tornado outbreak.

A stand of Cahaba lilies (Hymenocallis coronaria) in the Cahaba

River, within the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge.

Main articles: List of amphibians of Alabama, List of

mammals of Alabama, List of reptiles of Alabama, and
Trees of Alabama

Alabama is home to a diverse array of ora and fauna,

due largely to a variety of habitats that range from
the Tennessee Valley, Appalachian Plateau, and Ridge-
and-Valley Appalachians of the north to the Piedmont,
Snowfall outside Birmingham City Hall in February 2010 Canebrake and Black Belt of the central region to the
Gulf Coastal Plain and beaches along the Gulf of Mexico
in the south. The state is usually ranked among the top in
to southern parts of the state. Alabama is one of the few nation for its range of overall biodiversity.[85][86]
places in the world that has a secondary tornado season
Alabama is in the subtropical coniferous forest biome
in November and December, along with the spring se-
and once boasted huge expanses of pine forest, which
vere weather season. The northern part of the state
still form the largest proportion of forests in the state.[85]
along the Tennessee Valleyis one of the areas in the
It currently ranks fth in the nation for the diversity of
U.S. most vulnerable to violent tornadoes. The area of
its ora. It is home to nearly 4,000 pteridophyte and
Alabama and Mississippi most aected by tornadoes is
spermatophyte plant species.[87]
sometimes referred to as Dixie Alley, as distinct from the
Tornado Alley of the Southern Plains. Indigenous animal species in the state include 62
mammal species,[88] 93 reptile species,[89] 73 amphibian
Winters are generally mild in Alabama, as they are
species,[90] roughly 307 native freshwater sh species,[85]
throughout most of the southeastern U.S., with average
and 420 bird species that spend at least part of their
January low temperatures around 40 F (4 C) in Mobile
year within the state.[91] Invertebrates include 83 craysh
and around 32 F (0 C) in Birmingham. Although snow
species and 383 mollusk species. 113 of these mollusk
is a rare event in much of Alabama, areas of the state
species have never been collected outside the state.[92][93]
north of Montgomery may receive a dusting of snow a
few times every winter, with an occasional moderately
heavy snowfall every few years. Historic snowfall events
include New Years Eve 1963 snowstorm and the 1993 4 Demographics
Storm of the Century. The annual average snowfall for
the Birmingham area is 2 inches (51 mm) per year. In Main article: Demographics of Alabama
the southern Gulf coast, snowfall is less frequent, some-
times going several years without any snowfall. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the pop-
Alabamas highest temperature of 112 F (44 C) was ulation of Alabama was 4,858,979 on July 1, 2015,[3]
recorded on September 5, 1925 in the unincorporated which represents an increase of 79,243, or 1.66%, since
4.2 Population centers 9

English ancestry and that the gure is likely higher.

In the 1980 census, 41% of the people in Alabama
identied as being of English ancestry, making them the
largest ethnic group at the time.[103][104][105][106][107]
Based on historic migration and settlement patterns in
the southern colonies and states, demographers estimated
there are more people in Alabama of Scots-Irish ori-
gins than self-reported.[111] Many people in Alabama
claim Irish ancestry because of the term Scots-Irish but,
based on historic immigration and settlement, their an-
cestors were more likely Protestant Scots-Irish coming
from northern Ireland, where they had been for a few
generations as part of the English colonization.[112] The
Scots-Irish were the largest non-English immigrant group
from the British Isles before the American Revolution,
and many settled in the South, later moving into the Deep
South as it was developed.[113]
In 1984, under the DavisStrong Act, the state legislature
Alabamas population density
established the Alabama Indian Aairs Commission.[114]
Native American groups within the state had increasingly
the 2010 Census.[95] This includes a natural increase since been demanding recognition as ethnic groups and seeking
the last census of 121,054 people (that is 502,457 births an end to discrimination. Given the long history of slav-
minus 381,403 deaths) and an increase due to net migra- ery and associated racial segregation, the Native Amer-
tion of 104,991 people into the state.[96] ican peoples, who have sometimes been of mixed race,
have insisted on having their cultural identication re-
Immigration from outside the U.S. resulted in a net in- spected. In the past, their self-identication was often
crease of 31,180 people, and migration within the coun- overlooked as the state tried to impose a binary break-
try produced a net gain of 73,811 people.[96] The state down of society into white and black.
had 108,000 foreign-born (2.4% of the state population),
of which an estimated 22.2% were illegal immigrants The state has ocially recognized nine American Indian
(24,000). tribes in the state, descended mostly from the Five Civi-
lized Tribes of the American Southeast. These are:[115]
The center of population of Alabama is located in Chilton
County, outside the town of Jemison.[97]
Poarch Band of Creek Indians (who also have fed-
eral recognition),
4.1 Race and ancestry
MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians,
According to the 2010 Census, Alabama had a popula-
tion of 4,779,736. The racial composition of the state Star Clan of Muscogee Creeks,
was 68.5% White (67.0% Non-Hispanic White and 1.5%
Hispanic White), 26.2% Black or African American, Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama,
3.9% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 1.1% Asian, 0.6%
American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.1% Native Hawai- Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama,
ian and Other Pacic Islander, 2.0% from Some Other
Race, and 1.5% from Two or More Races.[98] In 2011, Cher-O-Creek Intra Tribal Indians,
46.6% of Alabamas population younger than age 1 were
Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe,
The largest reported ancestry groups in Alabama
are: African American (26.2%), English (23.6%), Piqua Shawnee Tribe, and
Irish (7.7%), German (5.7%), and Scots-Irish
(2.0%).[100][101][102] Those citing American an- Ani-Yun-Wiya Nation.
cestry in Alabama are generally of English or British
ancestry; many Anglo-Americans identify as having
American ancestry because their roots have been in The state government has promoted recognition of Native
North America for so long, in some cases since the American contributions to the state, including the desig-
1600s. Demographers estimate that a minimum of nation in 2000 for Columbus Day to be jointly celebrated
2023% of people in Alabama are of predominantly as American Indian Heritage Day.[116]

4.3 Language

95.1% of all Alabama residents ve years old or older

spoke only English at home in 2010, a minor decrease
from 96.1% in 2000. Alabama English is predominantly
Southern,[119] and is related to South Midland speech
which was taken across the border from Tennessee. In
the major Southern speech region, there is the decreas-
ing loss of the nal /r/, for example the /boyd/ pronun-
ciation of 'bird.' In the northern third of the state, there
is a South Midland 'arm' and 'barb' rhyming with 'form'
and 'orb.' Unique words in Alabama English include:
redworm (earthworm), peckerwood (woodpecker), snake
Birmingham, largest city and metropolitan area
doctor and snake feeder (dragony), tow sack (burlap
bag), plum peach (clingstone), French harp (harmonica),
and dog irons (andirons).[119]

4.4 Religion

Huntsville, second-largest metropolitan area

Highlands United Methodist Church in Birmingham, part of the

Five Points South Historic District

Mobile, third-largest metropolitan area

Montgomery, fourth-largest metropolitan area

4.2 Population centers

Main articles: List of cities and towns in Alabama and Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham
List of metropolitan areas of Alabama
In the 2008 American Religious Identication Survey,
86% of Alabama respondents reported their religion as
Sources:[117] Christian, including 6% Catholic, and 11% as having no
Sources:[118] religion.[121] The composition of other traditions is 0.5%
4.4 Religion 11

Mormon, 0.5% Jewish, 0.5% Muslim, 0.5% Buddhist,

and 0.5% Hindu.[122]

4.4.1 Christianity

For more details on Christianity in Alabama, see History

of Baptists in Alabama, List of Baptist churches in
Alabama, Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, Episcopal
Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, Roman Catholic
Archdiocese of Mobile, Roman Catholic Diocese of
Birmingham in Alabama, and The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints in Alabama.

Alabama is located in the middle of the Bible Belt,

a region of numerous Protestant Christians. Alabama
has been identied as one of the most religious states
in the United States, with about 58% of the popula-
tion attending church regularly.[124] A majority of peo-
ple in the state identify as Evangelical Protestant. As
of 2010, the three largest denominational groups in Al-
abama are the Southern Baptist Convention, The United
Methodist Church, and non-denominational Evangelical
Temple B'Nai Sholom in Huntsville, established in 1876. It is the In Alabama, the Southern Baptist Convention has the
oldest synagogue building in continuous use in the state. highest number of adherents with 1,380,121; this is fol-
lowed by the United Methodist Church with 327,734
adherents, non-denominational Evangelical Protestant
with 220,938 adherents, and the Catholic Church with
150,647 adherents. Many Baptist and Methodist congre-
gations became established in the Great Awakening of the
early 19th century, when preachers proselytized across
the South. The Assemblies of God had almost 60,000
members, the Churches of Christ had nearly 120,000
members. The Presbyterian churches, strongly associ-
ated with Scots-Irish immigrants of the 18th century and
their descendants, had a combined membership around
75,000 (PCA28,009 members in 108 congregations,
PC(USA)26,247 members in 147 congregations,[126]
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church6,000 members in
59 congregations, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
in America5,000 members and 50 congregations plus
the EPC and Associate Reformed Presbyterians with 230
members and 9 congregations).[127]
In a 2007 survey, nearly 70% of respondents could name
all four of the Christian Gospels. Of those who indi-
cated a religious preference, 59% said they possessed
a full understanding of their faith and needed no fur-
ther learning.[128] In a 2007 poll, 92% of Alabamians re-
ported having at least some condence in churches in the

The Islamic Center of Tuscaloosa, one of the Islamic centers that

contain a mosque and facilities for the cultural needs of Muslims
4.4.2 Other faiths
in the state.
Although in much smaller numbers, many other reli-
gious faiths are represented in the state as well, includ-
ing Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, the

Bah' Faith, and Unitarian Universalism.[127] The state has invested in aerospace, education, health
Jews have been present in what is now Alabama since care, banking, and various heavy industries, including
1763, during the colonial era of Mobile, when Sephardic automobile manufacturing, mineral extraction, steel pro-
Jews immigrated from London.[131] The oldest Jew- duction and fabrication. By 2006, crop and animal pro-
ish congregation in the state is Congregation Sha'arai duction in Alabama was valued at $1.5 billion. In con-
Shomayim in Mobile. It was formally recognized by trast to the primarily agricultural economy of the previ-
the state legislature on January 25, 1844.[131] Later ous century, this was only about 1% of the states gross
immigrants in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries domestic product. The number of private farms has de-
clined at a steady rate since the 1960s, as land has been
tended to be Ashkenazi Jews from eastern Europe. Jew-
ish denominations in the state include two Orthodox, sold to developers, timber companies, and large farming
four Conservative, ten Reform, and one Humanistic
synagogue.[132] Non-agricultural employment in 2008 was 121,800 in
Muslims have been increasing in Alabama, with 31 management occupations; 71,750 in business and nan-
mosques built by 2011, many by African-American cial operations; 36,790 in computer-related and math-
converts.[133] ematical occupation; 44,200 in architecture and engi-
neering; 12,410 in life, physical, and social sciences;
Several Hindu temples and cultural centers in the state 32,260 in community and social services; 12,770 in le-
have been founded by Indian immigrants and their de- gal occupations; 116,250 in education, training, and li-
scendants, the best-known being the Shri Swaminarayan brary services; 27,840 in art, design and media occu-
Mandir in Birmingham, the Hindu Temple and Cultural pations; 121,110 in healthcare; 44,750 in re ghting,
Center of Birmingham in Pelham, the Hindu Cultural law enforcement, and security; 154,040 in food prepa-
Center of North Alabama in Capshaw, and the Hindu ration and serving; 76,650 in building and grounds clean-
Mandir and Cultural Center in Tuscaloosa.[134][135] ing and maintenance; 53,230 in personal care and ser-
There are six Dharma centers and organizations for vices; 244,510 in sales; 338,760 in oce and adminis-
Theravada Buddhists.[136] Most monastic Buddhist tem- tration support; 20,510 in farming, shing, and forestry;
ples are concentrated in southern Mobile County, near 120,155 in construction and mining, gas, and oil extrac-
Bayou La Batre. This area has attracted an inux tion; 106,280 in installation, maintenance, and repair;
of refugees from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam dur- 224,110 in production; and 167,160 in transportation and
ing the 1970s and thereafter.[137] The four temples material moving.
within a ten-mile radius of Bayou La Batre, include According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis,
Chua Chanh Giac, Wat Buddharaksa, and Wat Lao the 2008 total gross state product was $170 billion, or
Phoutthavihan.[138][139][140] $29,411 per capita. Alabamas 2012 GDP increased
The rst community of adherents of the Baha'i Faith in 1.2% from the previous year. The single largest increase
Alabama was founded in 1896 by Paul K. Dealy, who came in the area of information. In 2010, per capita
moved from Chicago to Fairhope. Baha'i Centers in Al- income for the state was $22,984.
abama exist in Birmingham, Alabama, Huntsville, Al- The states seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was
abama, and Florence, Alabama.[141] 5.8% in April 2015.[149] This compared to a nationwide
seasonally adjusted rate of 5.4%.[150]
Alabama has no state minimum wage and uses the federal
4.5 Health minimum wage of $7.25. In February 2016, the state
passed legislation that prevents Alabama municipalities
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study in from raising the minimum wage in their locality. The
2008 showed that obesity in Alabama was a problem, with legislation voids a Birmingham city ordinance that was to
most counties having over 29% of adults obese, except raise the citys minimum wage to $10.10.[151]
for ten which had a rate between 26% and 29%.[142] Res-
idents of the state, along with those in ve other states,
were least likely in the nation to be physically active dur-
ing leisure time.[143] Alabama, and the southeastern U.S.
in general, has one of the highest incidences of adult onset
diabetes in the country, exceeding 10% of adults.[144][145]
5.1 Largest employers

5 Economy The ve employers that employed the most employees in

Alabama in April 2011 were:[152]
See also: Alabama locations by per capita income The next twenty largest employers, as of 2011,
5.2 Agriculture 13

5.2 Agriculture

Alabamas agricultural outputs include poultry and eggs,

cattle, sh, plant nursery items, peanuts, cotton, grains
such as corn and sorghum, vegetables, milk, soybeans,
and peaches. Although known as "The Cotton State",
Alabama ranks between eighth and tenth in national cot-
ton production, according to various reports,[154][155] with
Texas, Georgia and Mississippi comprising the top three.

5.3 Industry

Alabamas industrial outputs include iron and steel prod-

ucts (including cast-iron and steel pipe); paper, lumber,
and wood products; mining (mostly coal); plastic prod-
ucts; cars and trucks; and apparel. In addition, Alabama
produces aerospace and electronic products, mostly in the
Huntsville area, the location of NASA's George C. Mar-
shall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Army Materiel
Command, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal.

The Space Shuttle Enterprise being tested at Marshall Space

Flight Center in 1978.

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Tuscaloosa County was the

rst automotive facility to locate within the state.
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama in Montgomery in 2010
A great deal of Alabamas economic growth since the
1990s has been due to the states expanding automotive
manufacturing industry. Located in the state are Honda
Manufacturing of Alabama, Hyundai Motor Manufac-
turing Alabama, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, and
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, as well as their
various suppliers. Since 1993, the automobile industry
has generated more than 67,800 new jobs in the state.
Alabama currently ranks 4th in the nation for vehicle
Automakers accounted for approximately a third of the
industrial expansion in the state in 2012.[157] The eight
models produced at the states auto factories totaled com-
bined sales of 74,335 vehicles for 2012. The strongest
model sales during this period were the Hyundai Elantra
compact car, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class sport utility
Shelby Hall, School of Computing, at the University of South Al- vehicle and the Honda Ridgeline sport utility truck.[158]
abama in Mobile
Steel producers Outokumpu, Nucor, SSAB,
ThyssenKrupp, and U.S. Steel have facilities in Al-
abama and employ over 10,000 people. In May 2007,

Airbus Mobile Engineering Center at the Brookley Aeroplex in

Alabamas beaches are one of the states major tourist destina-
German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp selected Calvert in tions.
Mobile County for a 4.65 billion combined stainless
and carbon steel processing facility.[159] ThyssenKrupps providing an estimated 162,000 jobs in the state.[169][170]
stainless steel division, Inoxum, including the stainless Some of the most popular areas include the Rocket City
portion of the Calvert plant, was sold to Finnish stainless of Huntsville, the beaches along the Gulf, and the states
steel company Outokumpu in 2012.[160] The remain- capitol in Montgomery.[171]
ing portion of the ThyssenKrupp plant had nal bids
submitted by ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel for $1.6
billion in March 2013. Companhia Siderrgica Nacional 5.5 Healthcare
submitted a combined bid for the mill at Calvert, plus
a majority stake in the ThyssenKrupp mill in Brazil, UAB Hospital is the only Level I trauma center in
for $3.8 billion.[161] In July 2013, the plant was sold to Alabama.[172][173] UAB is the largest state government
ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel.[162] employer in Alabama, with a workforce of about
The Hunt Rening Company, a subsidiary of Hunt Con-
solidated, Inc., is based in Tuscaloosa and operates a re-
nery there. The company also operates terminals in Mo- 5.6 Banking
bile, Melvin, and Moundville.[163] JVC America, Inc. op-
erates an optical disc replication and packaging plant in
The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company operates a large
plant in Gadsden that employs about 1,400 people. It has
been in operation since 1929.
Construction of an Airbus A320 family aircraft assembly
plant in Mobile was formally announced by Airbus CEO
Fabrice Brgier from the Mobile Convention Center on
July 2, 2012. The plans include a $600 million factory
at the Brookley Aeroplex for the assembly of the A319,
A320 and A321 aircraft. Construction began in 2013,
with plans for it to become operable by 2015 and produce
up to 50 aircraft per year by 2017.[165][166] The assembly
plant is the companys rst factory to be built within the
United States.[167] It was announced on February 1, 2013 Regions-Harbert Plaza, Regions Center, and Wells Fargo Tower
that Airbus had hired Alabama-based Hoar Construction in Birminghams nancial district.
to oversee construction of the facility.[168]
Alabama has the headquarters of Regions Financial
Corporation, BBVA Compass, Superior Bancorp and
5.4 Tourism the former Colonial Bancgroup. Birmingham-based
Compass Banchshares was acquired by Spanish-based
An estimated 20 million tourists visit the state each year. BBVA in September 2007, although the headquarters of
Over 100,000 of these are from other countries, includ- BBVA Compass remains in Birmingham. In Novem-
ing from Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and ber 2006, Regions Financial completed its merger with
Japan. In 2006, 22.3 million tourists spent $8.3 billion AmSouth Bancorporation, which was also headquartered
6.1 State government 15

in Birmingham. SouthTrust Corporation, another large

bank headquartered in Birmingham, was acquired by
Wachovia in 2004 for $14.3 billion.
The city still has major operations for Wachovia and its
now post-operating bank Wells Fargo, which includes a
regional headquarters, an operations center campus and
a $400 million data center. Nearly a dozen smaller banks
are also headquartered in the Birmingham, such as Supe-
rior Bancorp, ServisFirst and New South Federal Savings
Bank. Birmingham also serves as the headquarters for
several large investment management companies, includ-
ing Harbert Management Corporation. The State Capitol Building in Montgomery, completed in 1851

that Alabamas constitution highly centralizes power in

5.7 Electronics
Montgomery and leaves practically no power in local
hands. Most counties do not have home rule. Any policy
Telecommunications provider AT&T, formerly
changes proposed around the state must be approved by
BellSouth, has a major presence in Alabama with
the entire Alabama legislature and, frequently, by state
several large oces in Birmingham. The company has
referendum. One criticism of the current constitution
over 6,000 employees and more than 1,200 contract
claims that its complexity and length intentionally codify
segregation and racism.
Many commercial technology companies are headquar-
tered in Huntsville, such as the network access company
ADTRAN, computer graphics company Intergraph, de-
sign and manufacturer of IT infrastructure Avocent, and
telecommunications provider Deltacom. Cinram manu-
factures and distributes 20th Century Fox DVDs and Blu-
ray Discs out of their Huntsville plant.

5.8 Construction

Rust International has grown to include Braseld & Gor-

rie, BE&K, Hoar Construction and B.L. Harbert Inter-
national, which all routinely are included in the Engi-
neering News-Record lists of top design, international
construction, and engineering rms. (Rust International The Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery. It houses the
was acquired in 2000 by Washington Group International, Alabama Supreme Court, Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, and
which was in turn acquired by San-Francisco based URS Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.
Corporation in 2007.)
Alabamas government is divided into three coequal
branches. The legislative branch is the Alabama Legis-
6 Law and government lature, a bicameral assembly composed of the Alabama
House of Representatives, with 105 members, and the
Alabama Senate, with 35 members. The Legislature is
6.1 State government responsible for writing, debating, passing, or defeating
state legislation. The Republican Party currently holds
Main article: Government of Alabama a majority in both houses of the Legislature. The Legis-
lature has the power to override a gubernatorial veto by
The foundational document for Alabamas government is a simple majority (most state Legislatures require a two-
the Alabama Constitution, which was ratied in 1901. thirds majority to override a veto).
At almost 800 amendments and 310,000 words, it is Until 1964, the state elected state senators by county, with
by some accounts the worlds longest constitution and is one per county. It had not redistricted congressional dis-
roughly forty times the length of the United States Con- tricts since passage of its constitution in 1901; as a re-
stitution.[175][176][177][178] sult, urbanized areas were grossly underrepresented. It
There has been a signicant movement to rewrite and had not changed legislative districts to reect the decen-
modernize Alabamas constitution.[179] Critics suggest nial censuses, either. In Reynolds v. Sims (1964), the

US Supreme Court implemented the principle of "one and there is an additional restaurant tax of 1%, which
man, one vote", ruling that congressional districts had to means that a diner in Mobile would pay an 11% tax on
be reapportioned based on censuses (as the state already a meal. As of 1999, sales and excise taxes in Alabama
had in its constitution but had not implemented.) Fur- account for 51% of all state and local revenue, compared
ther, it ruled that both houses of bicameral state legisla- with an average of about 36% nationwide.[184] Alabama
tures had to be apportioned by population, as there was is one of seven states that levy a tax on food at the same
no constitutional basis for states to have geographically rate as other goods, and one of two states (the other being
based systems. At that time, Alabama and many other neighboring Mississippi) which fully taxes groceries with-
states had to change their legislative districting, as many out any osetting relief for low-income families. (Most
across the country had systems that underrepresented ur- states exempt groceries from sales tax or apply a lower
ban areas and districts. This had caused decades of un- tax rate.)[185]
derinvestment in such areas. For instance, Birmingham Alabamas income tax on poor working families is among
and Jeerson County taxes had supplied one-third of the
the highest in the United States.[184] Alabama is the only
state budget, but Jeerson County received only 1/67th state that levies income tax on a family of four with in-
of state services in funding. Through the legislative del-
come as low as $4,600, which is barely one-quarter of the
egations, the Alabama legislature kept control of county federal poverty line.[184] Alabamas threshold is the low-
governments. est among the 41 states and the District of Columbia with
The executive branch is responsible for the execution and income taxes.[184]
oversight of laws. It is headed by the Governor of Al- The corporate income tax rate is currently 6.5%. The
abama. Other members of executive branch include the overall federal, state, and local tax burden in Alabama
cabinet, the Attorney General of Alabama, the Alabama ranks the state as the second least tax-burdened state in
Secretary of State, the Alabama State Treasurer, and the the country.[186] Property taxes are the lowest in the U.S.
State Auditor of Alabama. The current governor of the The current state constitution requires a voter referendum
state is Republican Robert Bentley. The lieutenant gov- to raise property taxes.
ernor is Republican Kay Ivey.
Since Alabamas tax structure largely depends on con-
The judicial branch is responsible for interpreting the
sumer spending, it is subject to high variable budget struc-
Constitution and applying the law in state criminal and ture. For example, in 2003 Alabama had an annual bud-
civil cases. The states highest court is the Supreme Court
get decit as high as $670 million.
of Alabama. Alabama uses partisan elections to choose
judges, and since the 1980s judicial campaigns have be-
come increasingly politicized.[180] The current chief jus-
tice of the Alabama Supreme Court is Republican Roy 6.3 County and local governments
Moore. All sitting justices on the Alabama Supreme
Court are members of the Republican Party. There are Alabama counties (clickable map)
two intermediate appellate courts, the Court of Civil Ap- See also: List of counties in Alabama
peals and the Court of Criminal Appeals, and four trial
courts: the circuit court (trial court of general jurisdic- Alabama has 67 counties. Each county has its own
tion), and the district, probate, and municipal courts.[180] elected legislative branch, usually called the county com-
The members of the Legislature take oce immediately mission. It also has limited executive authority in the
after the November elections. Statewide ocials such county. Because of the constraints of the Alabama Con-
as the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, stitution, only seven counties (Jeerson, Lee, Mobile,
and other constitutional ocers take oce the following Madison, Montgomery, Shelby, and Tuscaloosa) in the
January.[181] state have limited home rule. Instead, most counties in
the state must lobby the Local Legislation Committee of
the state legislature to get simple local policies approved,
6.2 Taxes ranging from waste disposal to land use zoning. The cum-
bersome process results in local jurisdictions being un-
Alabama levies a 2, 4, or 5 percent personal income tax, able to manage their problems, and the state legislators
depending upon the amount earned and ling status. Tax- are buried in local county issues.
payers are allowed to deduct their federal income tax The state legislature has retained power over local govern-
from their Alabama state tax, and can do so even if taking ments by refusing to pass a constitutional amendment es-
the standard deduction. Taxpayers who le itemized de- tablishing home rule for counties, as recommended by the
ductions are also allowed to deduct the Federal Insurance 1973 Alabama Constitutional Commission.[187] Legisla-
Contributions Act tax (Social Security and Medicare tax). tive delegations retain certain powers over each county.
The states general sales tax rate is 4%.[182] Sales tax rates United States Supreme Court decisions in Baker v. Carr
for cities and counties are also added to purchases.[183] (1964) required that both houses have districts estab-
For example, the total sales tax rate in Mobile is 10% lished on the basis of population, and redistricted after
6.4 Politics 17

each census, in order to implement the principle of one

man, one vote. Before that, each county was represented
by one state senator, leading to underrepresentation in the
state senate for more urbanized, populous counties.
The lack of home rule for counties in Alabama has re-
sulted in the proliferation of local legislation permitting
counties to do things not authorized by the state consti-
tution. Alabamas constitution has been amended more
than 700 times, and almost one-third of the amendments
are local in nature, applying to only one county or city. A
signicant part of each legislative session is spent on local
legislation, taking away time and attention of legislators
from issues of statewide importance.[187]
On November 9, 2011, Jeerson County, which was $4
billion in debt at the time, declared bankruptcy. This is
the second-largest Chapter 9 (municipal) bankruptcy in
the United States, after the Detroit bankruptcy. Jeerson
County emerged from bankruptcy in December 2013 fol-
lowing the approval of a bankruptcy plan by the United
States bankruptcy court for the Northern District of Al-
Alabama is an alcoholic beverage control state, meaning
that the state government holds a monopoly on the sale
of alcohol. The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control
Board controls the sale and distribution of alcoholic bev- Robert J. Bentley, governor since January 17, 2011
erages in the state. Twenty-ve of the 67 counties are
"dry counties" which ban the sale of alcohol, and there
are many dry municipalities even in counties which per-
mit alcohol sales.[191]

6.4 Politics

During Reconstruction following the American Civil

War, Alabama was occupied by federal troops of the
Third Military District under General John Pope. In
1874, the political coalition of white Democrats known
as the Redeemers took control of the state government
from the Republicans, in part by suppressing the African-
American vote through violence, fraud and intimidation.
After 1890, a coalition of White Democratic politi-
cians passed laws to segregate and disenfranchise African
American residents, a process completed in provisions
of the 1901 constitution. Provisions which disenfran-
chised African Americans resulted in excluding many
poor Whites. By 1941 more Whites than African Ameri-
cans had been disenfranchised: 600,000 to 520,000. The
total eects were greater on the African-American com-
munity, as almost all of its citizens were disfranchised
and relegated to separate and unequal treatment under the
From 1901 through the 1960s, the state did not redraw Kay Ivey, lieutenant governor
election districts as population grew and shifted within the
state during urbanization and industrialization of certain
areas. As counties were the basis of election districts, the through nearly three-quarters of the century, until a series
result was a rural minority that dominated state politics of federal court cases required redistricting in 1972 to

meet equal representation. Hornsby sued Alabama and deantly remained in oce
Alabama state politics gained nationwide and interna- for nearly a year before nally giving up the seat after los-
tional attention in the 1950s and 1960s during the Civil ing in court. This ultimately led to a collapse of support
Rights Movement, when whites bureaucratically, and at for Democrats at the ballot box in the next three or four
times, violently resisted protests for electoral and social election cycles. The Democrats lost the last of the nine-
reform. Governor George Wallace, the states only four- teen court seats in August 2011 with the resignation of
term governor, was a controversial gure who vowed to the last Democrat on the bench.
maintain segregation. Only after passage of the federal In the early 21st century, Republicans hold all seven of
Civil Rights Act of 1964[61] and Voting Rights Act of the statewide elected executive branch oces. Republi-
1965 did African Americans regain the ability to exer- cans hold six of the eight elected seats on the Alabama
cise surage, among other civil rights. In many jurisdic- State Board of Education. In 2010, Republicans took
tions, they continued to be excluded from representation large majorities of both chambers of the state legisla-
by at-large electoral systems, which allowed the majority ture, giving them control of that body for the rst time in
of the population to dominate elections. Some changes 136 years. The last remaining statewide Democrat, who
at the county level have occurred following court chal- served on the Alabama Public Service Commission was
lenges to establish single-member districts that enable a defeated in 2012.[194][195][196]
more diverse representation among county boards. Only two Republican Lieutenant Governors have been
In 2007, the Alabama Legislature passed, and Republi- elected since the end of Reconstruction, when Republi-
can Governor Bob Riley signed a resolution expressing cans generally represented Reconstruction government,
profound regret over slavery and its lingering impact. In including the newly emancipated freedmen who had
a symbolic ceremony, the bill was signed in the Alabama gained the franchise. The two GOP Lt. Governors were
State Capitol, which housed Congress of the Confederate Steve Windom (1999-2003) and the current Lt. Gover-
States of America.[192] nor, Kay Ivey, who was elected in 2010 and re-elected in
In 2010, Republicans won control of both houses of the
legislature for the rst time in 136 years, after a nearly
complete realignment of political parties, who represent
6.5.2 Local elections
dierent visions in the 21st century.
Many local oces (County Commissioners, Boards of
Education, Tax Assessors, Tax Collectors, etc.) in the
6.5 Elections
state are still held by Democrats. Many rural coun-
ties have voters who are majority Democrats, resulting
Main article: Elections in Alabama
in local elections being decided in the Democratic pri-
mary. Similarly many metropolitan and suburban coun-
ties are majority-Republican and elections are eectively
6.5.1 State elections decided in the Republican Primary, although there are
With the disfranchisement of African Americans in 1901, Alabamas 67 County Sheris are elected in partisan, at-
the state became part of the "Solid South", a system in large races, and Democrats still retain the narrow major-
which the Democratic Party operated as eectively the ity of those posts. The current split is 35 Democrats, 31
only viable political party in every Southern state. For Republicans, and one Independent Fayette.[199] However,
nearly 100 years, local and state elections in Alabama most of the Democratic sheris preside over rural and less
were decided in the Democratic Party primary, with gen- populated counties. The majority of Republican sheris
erally only token Republican challengers running in the have been elected in the more urban/suburban and heav-
General Election. Since the mid to late-20th century, ily populated counties. As of 2015, the state of Alabama
however, there has been a realignment among the two ma- has one female sheri, in Morgan County, Alabama, and
jor political parties, and white conservatives started shift- ten African-American sheris.[199]
ing to the Republican Party. In Alabama, majority-white
districts are now expected to regularly elect Republican
candidates to federal, state and local oce. 6.5.3 Federal elections
Members of the nine seats on the Alabama Supreme
Court[193] and all ten seats on the state appellate courts The states two U.S. senators are Jeerson B. Sessions III
are elected to oce. Until 1994, no Republicans held and Richard C. Shelby, both Republicans. Shelby was
any of the court seats. In that general election, the then- originally elected to the Senate as a Democrat in 1986
incumbent Chief Justice of Alabama, Ernest C. Hornsby, and re-elected in 1992, but switched parties immediately
refused to leave oce after losing the election by approx- following the November 1994 general election.
imately 3,000 votes to Republican Perry O. Hooper, Sr.. In the U.S. House of Representatives, the state is rep-
7.2 Colleges and universities 19

resented by seven members, six of whom are Republi- 7.2 Colleges and universities
cans: (Bradley Byrne, Mike D. Rogers, Robert Aderholt,
Morris J. Brooks, Martha Roby, and Gary Palmer) and Main article: List of colleges and universities in Alabama
one Democrat: Terri Sewell. Alabamas programs of higher education include 14
Further information: United States presidential election
in Alabama, 2004

7 Education

Main article: Education in Alabama

7.1 Primary and secondary education

Harrison Plaza at the University of North Alabama in Florence.
The school was chartered as LaGrange College by the Alabama
Legislature in 1830.

four-year public universities, two-year community col-

leges, and 17 private, undergraduate and graduate uni-
versities. In the state are four medical schools (as of
fall 2015) (University of Alabama School of Medicine,
University of South Alabama and Alabama College of
Osteopathic Medicine and The Edward Via College of
Osteopathic Medicine - Auburn Campus), two veteri-
nary colleges (Auburn University and Tuskegee Univer-
sity), a dental school (University of Alabama School of
Dentistry), an optometry college (University of Alabama
Vestavia Hills High School in the suburbs of Birmingham
at Birmingham), two pharmacy schools (Auburn Uni-
versity and Samford University), and ve law schools
Public primary and secondary education in Alabama is (University of Alabama School of Law, Birmingham
under the purview of the Alabama State Board of Educa- School of Law, Cumberland School of Law, Miles Law
tion as well as local oversight by 67 county school boards School, and the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law).
and 60 city boards of education. Together, 1,496 indi- Public, post-secondary education in Alabama is overseen
vidual schools provide education for 744,637 elementary by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and
and secondary students.[200] the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education.
Colleges and universities in Alabama oer degree pro-
Public school funding is appropriated through the Al-
abama Legislature through the Education Trust Fund. In grams from two-year associate degrees to a multitude of
doctoral level programs.[203]
FY 20062007, Alabama appropriated $3,775,163,578
for primary and secondary education. That represented The largest single campus is the University of Alabama,
an increase of $444,736,387 over the previous scal year. located in Tuscaloosa, with 33,602 enrolled for fall
In 2007, over 82 percent of schools made adequate yearly 2012.[204] Troy University was the largest institution in
progress (AYP) toward student prociency under the Na- the state in 2010, with an enrollment of 29,689 stu-
tional No Child Left Behind law, using measures deter- dents across four Alabama campuses (Troy, Dothan,
mined by the state of Alabama. Montgomery, and Phenix City), as well as sixty learn-
While Alabamas public education system has improved ing sites in seventeen other states and eleven other coun-
in recent decades, it lags behind in achievement com- tries. The oldest institutions are the public University
pared to other states. According to U.S. Census data, of North Alabama in Florence and the Catholic Church-
Alabamas high school graduation rate75%is the aliated Spring Hill College in Mobile, both founded in
fourth lowest in the U.S. (after Kentucky, Louisiana 1830.[205][206]
and Mississippi).[201] The largest educational gains were Accreditation of academic programs is through the
among people with some college education but without Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
degrees.[202] as well as other subject-focused national and international

both numbers among the top 20 in the nation in aver-

age attendance.[212] Bryant-Denny Stadium is the home
of the Alabama football team, and has a seating capac-
ity of 101,821,[213] and is the fth largest stadium in
America.[214] Jordan-Hare Stadium is the home eld of
the Auburn football team and seats up to 87,451.[215]
Legion Field is home for the UAB Blazers foot-
ball program and the Birmingham Bowl. It seats
80,601.[216] Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile is the home
of the University of South Alabama football team,
and serves as the home of the NCAA Senior Bowl,
Dollar General Bowl (formerly Bowl), and
Alabama-Mississippi All Star Classic; the stadium seats
William J. Samford Hall at Auburn University in Auburn 40,646.[217] In 2009, Bryant-Denny Stadium and Jordan-
Hare Stadium became the homes of the Alabama High
accreditation agencies such as the Association for Biblical School Athletic Association state football championship
Higher Education (ABHE),[207] the Council on Occupa- games, after [218] previously being held at Legion Field in
tional Education (COE), [208]
and the Accrediting Council Birmingham.
for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).[209]
According to the 2011 U.S. News & World Report, Al- 8.2 Professional
abama had three universities ranked in the top 100 Pub-
lic Schools in America (University of Alabama at 31, Main article: List of professional sports teams in Al-
Auburn University at 36, and University of Alabama at abama
Birmingham at 73).[210] Alabama has several professional and semi-professional
According to the 2012 U.S. News & World Re-
port, Alabama had four tier 1 universities (University
of Alabama, Auburn University, University of Al-
abama at Birmingham and University of Alabama in

8 Sports

8.1 College

Regions Field in Birmingham

Bryant-Denny Stadium at the University of Alabama in


College football is popular in Alabama, particularly the

University of Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Uni- Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile
versity Tigers, rivals in the Southeastern Conference.
In the 2013 season, Alabama averaged over 100,000 sports teams, including three minor league baseball
fans per game and Auburn averaged over 80,000 fans, teams.
9.1 Aviation 21

The Talladega Superspeedway motorsports complex

hosts a series of NASCAR events. It has a seating ca-
pacity of 143,000 and is the thirteenth largest stadium in
the world and sixth largest stadium in America. Also, the
Barber Motorsports Park has hosted IndyCar Series and
Rolex Sports Car Series races.
The ATP Birmingham was a World Championship Ten-
nis tournament held from 1973 to 1980.
Alabama has hosted several professional golf tourna-
ments, such as the 1984 and 1990 PGA Champi-
onship at Shoal Creek, the Barbasol Championship (PGA
Tour), the Mobile LPGA Tournament of Champions,
Airbus LPGA Classic and Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic Aerial view of the port of Mobile.
(LPGA Tour), and The Tradition (Champions Tour).
9.1 Aviation

Main article: Aviation in Alabama

9 Transportation
Major airports with sustained commercial operations
in Alabama include Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Interna-
tional Airport (BHM), Huntsville International Airport
(HSV), Dothan Regional Airport (DHN), Mobile Re-
gional Airport (MOB), Montgomery Regional Airport
(MGM), and Muscle Shoals Northwest Alabama Re-
gional Airport (MSL).

9.2 Rail

For rail transport, Amtrak schedules the Crescent, a daily

passenger train, running from New York to New Or-
leans with station stops at Anniston, Birmingham, and

Terminal at the Montgomery Regional Airport in Montgomery.

9.3 Roads

Alabama has six major interstate roads that cross the

state: Interstate 65 (I-65) travels northsouth roughly
through the middle of the state; I-20/I-59 travel from
the central west Mississippi state line to Birmingham,
where I-59 continues to the north-east corner of the state
and I-20 continues east towards Atlanta; I-85 originates
in Montgomery and travels east-northeast to the Geor-
gia state line, providing a main thoroughfare to Atlanta;
and I-10 traverses the southernmost portion of the state,
traveling from west to east through Mobile. I-22 enters
the state from Mississippi and connects Birmingham with
Memphis, Tennessee. In addition, there are currently ve
auxiliary interstate routes in the state: I-165 in Mobile, I-
359 in Tuscaloosa, I-459 around Birmingham, I-565 in
Decatur and Huntsville, and I-759 in Gadsden. A sixth
Interstate 59 (co-signed with Interstate 20) approaching Interstate route, I-685, will be formed when I-85 is rerouted along a
65 in downtown Birmingham. new southern bypass of Montgomery. A proposed north-
ern bypass of Birmingham will be designated as I-422.
Main article: Transportation in Alabama Since a direct connection from I-22 to I-422 will not be
possible, I-222 has been proposed, as well.

Several U.S. Highways also pass through the state, such [7] Elevation adjusted to North American Vertical Datum of
as U.S. Route 11 (US-11), US-29, US-31, US-43, US- 1988.
45, US-72, US-78, US-80, US-82, US-84, US-90, US-
[8] An entry level guide to all about Alabama. Alabama
98, US-231, US-278, US-280, US-331, US-411, and US-
Department of Commerce. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
There are four toll roads in the state: Montgomery [9] George Mason University, United States Election
Expressway in Montgomery; Tuscaloosa Bypass Project: Alabama Redistricting Summary. Retrieved
in Tuscaloosa; Emerald Mountain Expressway in March 10, 2008. Archived from the
original on October 17, 2007. Retrieved October 24,
Wetumpka; and Beach Express in Orange Beach.

[10] Alabama Occupational Projections 2008-2018 (PDF).

9.4 Ports Alabama Department of Industrial Relations. State of Al-
abama. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
The Port of Mobile, Alabamas only saltwater port, is
a large seaport on the Gulf of Mexico with inland wa- [11] Alabama. QuickFacts. United States Census Bureau.
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Tombigbee Waterway. The Port of Mobile was ranked
[12] Thomason, Michael (2001). Mobile: The New History of
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[219] Alabamas First City. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama
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Water ports of Alabama, listed from north to south: [14] Sylestine, Cora; Hardy; Heather; and Montler, Timothy
(1993). Dictionary of the Alabama Language. Austin:
University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-73077-2. OCLC
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[17] Wills, Charles A. (1995). A Historical Album of Al-

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of Agriculture

Geographic data related to Alabama at


Coordinates: 3242N 8642W / 32.7N 86.7W


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14.1 Text 31

colleges, Pdcook, Packerfansam, Andy Marchbanks, JavierMC, Pholower, Halmstad, Squids and Chips, Seventeen four, Bamarockzzz,
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