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Birmingham History

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Historical Dates

Alabama History Timeline


6000 BC
Cliff Dwelling Indians lived in the Alabama region.


1519 AD
Alonso Alvarez de Pineda, a Spanish explorer, sailed into Mobile Bay.


1528
Panfilo de Narvaez led an expedition which passed through the coastal waters of Alabama.


1540
Hernando de Soto led an expedition through Alabama. He was the first white person to explore the interior of Alabama.


1540
De Soto and his men were defeated by Chief Tuscaloosa in the battle of Mabila.


1559
Tristan de Luna searched for gold in Alabama. He set up small settlements in Mobile Bay and Clairborne.


1561
De Luna was removed from his command and forced to return to Mexico.


1699
The first permanent white settlement was established by Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville, and Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville.


1702
The Moyne brothers founded Fort Louis. This French colony later became known as Louisiana.


1711
Huge floods forced the French to move 27 miles south to the present site of Mobile. It was also called Fort Louis.


1720
Fort Louis renamed Fort Conde.


1763
Most of the French colony of Louisiana was given to the United Kingdom in the Treaty of Paris. Mobile became a part of west Florida. Northern Alabama was included in the Illinois Territory.


1779
Spain declared war on the United Kingdom.


1780
Mobile was captured by Bernanrdo de Galvez.


1783
The Mobile region was given to Spain in the Treaty of Paris.


1795
The Treaty of San Lorenzo was made with the help of Thomas Pinckney. The Treaty was also known as the Pinckney Treaty. The Treaty fixed the southern border of the United States at the 31st parallel of north latitude. All of present-day Alabama except the Mobile region became a part of the United States.


1798
The Alabama region became a part of the Mississippi Territory.


1812
The United States seized the Mobile region from Spain.


1813
April 15 - The United States flag flew over the entire region of Alabama for the first time.


1813
The Creek Indians massacred hundreds of settlers at Fort Mims.


1814
The Creek Indians were defeated by General Andrew Jackson in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.


1817
The Alabama Territory was established. St. Stephens became the capital.


1819
The territory's first constitution was established.


1819
December 14 - Alabama became the 22nd state. William Wyatt Bibb was the first state governor.


1825
Huge floods from the Alabama river caused great damage to the state.


1826
The capital was moved to Tuscaloosa.


1838
Federal troops forced all the remaining Indians to move west out of Alabama.


1848
The "Alabama Platform" was introduced. It states that the federal government did not have the right to ban slaves from the territories.


1861
January 11 - Alabama seceded from the union. They declared themselves the Republic of Alabama.


1861
February 8 - Alabama became part of the Confederate States of America. Montgomery became its capital.


1861
May - The Confederate capital moved from Montgomery to Richmond, Virginia.


1863
Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest captured Union raiders at Cedar Bluffs.


1864
The Battle of Mobile Bay took place in Alabama. The Union forces won the battle.


1865
Union General James H. Wilson won victories at Selma and Montgomery.


1866-1873
Alabama increased their state debt from $8 million to $32 million during the Reconstruction.


1868
June 25 - Alabama was readmitted to the Union.


1875
A new state constitution as adopted.


1880
Alabama's first blast furnace began operating in Birmingham. This was important for their economy. The area became a great iron and steel center.


1890
Iron and steel making became Alabama's most important manufacturing industry.


1917
After the United States entered World War I, shipbuilding became important in Mobile.


1929
The Alabama-Tombigbee river system flooded causing $6 million damage.


1929-1931
More than 60 Alabama banks failed. More than $16 million was lost.


1932
Alabama passed a state income tax law and the Budget Control Act. It helped to save the state from bankruptcy.


1933
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was created by the federal government. It was given the responsibility of building flood-control and electric-power projects on the Tennessee River.


1939-1945
During World War I I Alabama's industrial and agricultural production increased.


1941
The Redstone Arsenal was established by the government in Huntsville. The arsenal developed rockets, satellites and spacecrafts.


1950s
Many Alabamians left the state to find jobs in the North and the West


1954
The United States Supreme Court ruled that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional.


1955-1956
Martin Luther King, Jr. directed the Montgomery bus boycott.


1956
A federal court ordered Montgomery to desegregate its buses.


1960
George C. Marshall Space Flight Center at Huntsville was established.


1960s
Most of the iron ore mines in Alabama had been closed.


1963
Governor George C. Wallace tried to halt the integration of Alabama's public schools.


1963
June - Wallace stood in the doorway of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama. He refused to admit two blacks. John F. Kennedy called in the National Guard to enforce the law.


1963
September 9 - Alabama Gov George Wallace served a federal injunction to stop orders of state police to bar black students from enrolling in white schools.


1965
February 1 - In Selma, Alabama, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and 770 of his followers were arrested on their civil rights march. They protested against voter discrimination in Alabama.


1965
March - King led a march from Selma to Montgomery to protest discrimination of voters rights.


1965
March 24 - The Freedom Marchers reached Montgomery, Ala.


1965
August The Voting Right Act was passed by Congress insuring the right of blacks to vote.


1980
The state legislature increased taxes on cigarettes and alcohol to pay for government services.


1986
Guy Hunt became the first Republican to be elected governor since the Reconstruction.


1993
Hunt was removed from office. He was convicted for felony ethics violations.


1998
Hunt was pardoned by the state parole board.


Historical Sites worth visiting

Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark


On April 12, 1882 the giant Sloss Furnaces began producing pig iron and it did not stop until almost ninety years later. Now recognized as a National Historic Landmark Sloss Furnaces is open to the public as a museum of industry. With its massive furnaces, web of pipes, and tall smokestacks, it offers us a glimpse into the great industrial past of the South and the nation.


Alabama Department of Archives & History


Alabama Historical Commission

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