The soil of this State was first trodden by Europeans in 1540.
These were the followers of De Soto
(q. v.). In 1702, Bienville
governor of Louisiana
, entered Mobile Bay
, and built a fort and trading-house at the mouth of Dog River
In 1711 the French
, and there a colony prospered for a while.
slaves were first brought into this colony by three French ships of war in 1721.
treaty of 1763 this region was transferred by France
to Great Britain
formed a portion of the State of Georgia
, but in 1798 the country now included in the States of Alabama
was organized as a Territory called Mississippi
After the Creeks
disappeared the region of Alabama
was rapidly settled by white people, and in 1819 it entered the Union
as a State.
The slave population increased more rapidly than the white.
In the Democratic National Convention that was held at Charleston
in 1860 the delegates of Alabama
took the lead in seceding from the convention.
In October of that year, Herschell V. Johnson
, the candidate for Vice-President
on the Douglas ticket, declared, in a speech at the Cooper Institute, New York, that Alabama
was ripe for revolt in case Mr. Lincoln
should be elected; that it was pledged to withdraw from the Union
, and had appropriated $200,000 for military contingencies.
The governor suggested secession at the beginning of November; and in December, 1860, the conference of the Methodist Church, South, sitting at Montgomery
, declared “African
slavery as it existed in the Southern States
of the republic, a wise, beneficent, humane, and righteous institution, approved of God, and calculated to promote, to the highest possible degree, the welfare of the slave; that the election of a sectional President
of the United States
was evidence of the hostility of the majority to the people of the South
, and which in fact, if not in form, dissolves the compact of union between the States.”
was opposed to the movement.
Elections for members of a State convention in Alabama
were held Dec. 24, 1860, and as in some of the other States, the politicians were divided into “Secessionists” and “Co-operationists.”
The latter were also divided; one party wishing the co-operation of all the slave-labor States, and the other caring only for the co-operation of the cotton-producing States.
The vote for all but ten counties was, for secession, 24,445; and for co-operation, 33,685.
In the ten counties, some were for secession and some for co-operation.
In the convention assembled at Montgomery
, Jan. 7, 1861, every county in the State
William Brooks was chosen president.
There was a powerful infusion of Union sentiment in the convention, which endeavored to postpone a decision, under the plea of the desirableness of co-operation.
A committee of thirteen was appointed to report an Ordinance of Secession.
It was submitted on the 10th.
It was longer than any other already adopted, but similar in tenor.
They assumed that the commonwealth, which had been created by the national government first a Territory, and then a State (1819), had “delegated sovereign powers” to that government, which were now “resumed and vested in the people of the State of Alabama
The convention favored the formation of a confederacy of slave-labor States, and formally invited the others to send delegates to meet those of Alabama
, in general convention, on Feb. 4, at Montgomery
, for consultation on the subject.
The convention was not harmonious.
Union men were not to be put down without a struggle.
There was a minority report on Secession; and sone were for postponing the act until March 4, with a hope of preserving the Union
, from northern Alabama
, declared his belief that the people of his section would not submit to any disunion scheme, when Yancey
(q. v.) denounced him an his fellow-citizens of that region as “tories, traitors.
and rebels,” and said they “ought to be coerced into submission.”
was not moved by these menaces, but assured the Confederates
that the people of his section would be ready to meet their enemies on the line and decide the issue at the point of the bayonet.
The final vote on the Ordinance of Secession was taken at 2 P. M. on Jan. 11, and resulted in sixty-one yeas to thiry-nine nays.
An immense mass meeting was immediately held in front of the State-house, and timid “co-operationists” assured the multitude that their constituents would support the ordinance.
A Secession flag, which the women of Montgomery
had presented to the convention, was raised over the capital.
, when the news reached that city, 101 guns were fired in honor of Alabama
, and fifteen for Florida
At night the city blazed with fireworks, the favorite pieces being the Southern cross
and the Lone Star
The convention had voted against the reopening of the slave-trade, and adjourned on Jan. 30, 1861.
A week before the Secession Ordinance
was adopted, volunteer troops, in accordance with an arrangement made with the governors of Louisiana
, and by order of the governor of Alabama
, had seized the arsenal at Mount Vernon
, about 30 miles above Mobile
, and Fort Morgan
, at the entrance to Mobile Harbor, about 30 miles below the city.
The Mount Vernon arsenal was captured by four Confederate companies commanded by Captain Leadbetter
, of the United States Engineer Corps, and a native of Maine
At dawn (Jan. 4, 1861) they surprised Captain Reno
, who was in command of the arsenal, and the Alabama Confederates
thus obtained 15,000 stands of arms.
150, 000 pounds of gunpowder, some cannon, and a large quantity of munitions of war.
The Alabama Senators
and Representatives withdrew from Congress Jan. 21, 1861.
On March 13, a State convention ratified the constitution adopted by the Confederate Congress.
The authorities of the State
seized the national property within its borders, and sent troops to Florida
to assist in capturing Fort Pickens
and other public works there.
sent a commissioner to Washington
as an ambassador, but he was not received.
During the war that ensued.
bore her share of the burden, and her cities and plantations suffered from the ravages of the conflict.
's cavalry raid through the State
caused great destruction of property.
During the war Alabama
furnished 122,000 troops to the Confederate army, of whom 35,000 were killed or wounded.
, in the interior of the State
, was the Confederate
capital until July, 1861, when the seat of government was removed to Richmond
At the close of the war a provisional governor for Alabama
was appointed (June 21. 1865), and in September a convention re-ordained the civil and criminal laws, excepting such as related to slavery: declared the Ordinance of Secession and the State
war-debt null; passed an ordinance against slavery: and provided for an election of State officers, who were chosen in November.
The government thus constituted remained in force until superseded by military rule in 1867.
In November of that year a convention formed a new constitution for the State
, which was ratified Feb. 4, 1868.
State officers and members of Congress having been duly chosen, and all requirements complied with, Alabama
became entitled to representation in Congress; and on July 14, 1868, the military relinquished to the civil authorities all legal control.
The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the national Constitution were ratified by Alabama
, the latter Nov. 16, 1870.
Population in 1890, 1,508,073; in 1900, 1,828,697.