State: Alabama – ALPublished on June 17th, 2015 | by Brandon Ramsey in Geography
The Alabama state abbreviation is AL, and as one of the 50 U.S. States, it brings its own unique culture, history, and geography to the table. It is located in the southeastern region of the U.S. and 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.
Before we dive into the various aspects of this state’s symbols, history, and geography, here are some key facts about AL:
- State capital: Montgomery
- Abbreviation: AL
- Time Zones: Most of the state is Central UTC -6/-5, Phenix City is Eastern UTC -5/-4
- Motto: Audemus Jura Nostra Defendere “We dare defend our rights”
- State bird: Yellowhammer
- Flower: Carmellia
- Game Bird: Wild Turkey
- Butterfly: Monarch
- Reptile: Alabama red-bellied turtle
- State flag
- Official website
AL State Overview
This location in the southeast portion of the U.S. has over 1,300 miles of inland waterways, making it one of the longest navigable waterways in the nation. Starting in the American Civil War and going until World War II, this place suffered from economic downturns like most of the other locations in the region.
This was a result of the agriculturally focused economy. Various other industries grew, along with additional urban areas, but this was not enough. This was because the state legislature remained focused on rural interests until the 1960’s. Anything urban or African American related was sorely underrepresented.
After World War II, there was a burst of growth as the economy moved from the agricultural focus to something with more diversity. The inclusion of United States Armed Forces installations within the area also helped to create this diversity between agriculture and industry.
The modern economy is based around automotive, finance, manufacturing, aerospace, mineral extraction, healthcare, education, retail, and technology, so clearly more than it was in the past. It is nicknamed the Yellowhammer state after the official bird.
The area’s name is derived from the Alabama people who were a Muskogean-speaking tribe. The name comes from the Choctaw language, but the meaning of the world is still disputed. One option is that the name comes from the Choctaw word alba which means “plants” or “weeds.”
A Rich History and Culture
A variety of tribes occupied the area throughout the pre-European settlement time period. The tribes incorporate the Cherokee, the Iroquoian people, and the Muskogean-speaking tribe known as the Alibamu.
The Spanish were the first Europeans to reach this area in the 16th century. It was Hernando de Soto who passed through Mabila and other areas in 1540. It wasn’t until 160 years later that the French founded Old Mobile in 1702. It was moved to its current location in 1711.
The French lost in the Seven Years’ War, and it became part of Britain’s West Florida until 1783. After the United States won the American Revolutionary War, the area was divided again between the U.S. and Spain.
The area became a territory on December 10, 1817. It became the 22nd state in 1819. In 1861 they declared secession from the Union and soon after joined the Confederate States of America, the capital of which was originally Montgomery. This state served heavily during the American Civil War and contributed over 120,000 soldiers to it.
It was’t until 1868 that the state was readmitted to the Union. Ever since these events, the state has continued to evolve and grow. Next we’ll examine the symbols that represent this place.
Examination of AL Symbols
The seal has gone through multiple iterations over the years. The first one was introduced in 1817 and it was designed by William Wyatt Bibb who was the governor of the territory. It was modified in 1868, and 1939. The final version is described as such:
“The seal shall be circular, and the diameter thereof two and a quarter inches; near the edge of the circle shall be the word “Alabama,” and opposite this word, at the same distance from the edge, shall be the words, “Great Seal.” In the center of the seal there shall be a representation of a map of the state with its principal rivers. The seal shall be called the “Great Seal of the State of Alabama.” The seal shall be kept and used as required by the Constitution and laws.”
The current flag was brought on in 1895 as part of Act 383 in the state legislature. It is described as a crimson cross of St. Andrew on a field of white. The coat of arms depicts a shield with five symbols of nations that once held a part or all of the air.
It includes France, Spain, the United Kingdom, the U.S., and the Confederate flag. It is used on its own and on the governor’s flag.
AL Geographical Features and Climate
This is the thirteenth-largest state with 52,419 square miles. Just over 3.2% of the area is water, part of which incorporates the largest inland waterway system in the U.S. The north is mountainous while the other areas are gentle plains. Near the Tennessee River, there is a large valley that has creeks, streams, rivers, and lakes.
The highest point is Mount Cheaha which is 2,413 feet in elevation. There are four national forests:
- William B. Bankhead
There are also some notable historic trails here, including the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. One special area is the “Natural Bridge” rock. A 5-mile impact crater is also located in Elmore County north of Montgomery. It was here at hat a 1,000 foot wide meteorite hit the area roughly 80 million years ago.
The climate here is classified as humid subtropical. It is warmer in the south because of the distance to the Gulf of Mexico. The northern parts of the state are cooler as a result of the Appalachian Mountains. The summers here are some of the highest in the U.S.
Being on the coast, the area is also prone to hurricanes and tropical storms. The south experiences high numbers of thunderstorms as well. Along with Oklahoma, this area has the most EF5 tornadoes.
Before you go, make sure to check out our list of facts about Alabama to broaden your knowledge of this place. Don’t forget to also weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below!