History of Alabama


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HISTORY OF ALABAMA

History of Alabama to 1869 - by David Nelson Camp

Principal Stage Stops and Taverns of Alabama Prior to 1840

Alabama Historic Weather Timeline - 1711 - 1900

John Coffee - Letters Home from Excursion through Alabama 1813 - 1815

TIME LINE OF ALABAMA HISTORY

Sources: Alabama Department of Archives and History submitted by Veneta McKinney and Hand-book of Alabama, Authors: Berney & Saffold, 1892 & Sketches of Alabama History, Author: Joel Campbell Du Bose, MA, 1900 - Submitted by C. Anthony.

1519  Alonzo Alvarez de Piñeda of Spain explores Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Mexico, including Mobile Bay.

1528 .. 1536 Spaniard Pánfilo de Narváez fails in Florida Gulf Coast colonization attempt.

1540—July 2. The territory of what is now the State of Alabama entered by DeSoto, the Spanish adventurer, while searching for gold.      DeSoto In Alabama

1540—October 18. DeSoto fought the great battle of Maubila, or Mauvtta, with the tribe of Indians subsequently known as the Mobilians.    See: Battle of Maville

1540—November 29. DeSoto passed out of Alabama into Mississippi, where is now the county of Lowndes, Mississippi.

1559 .. 1561 Don Tristán de Luna fails to establish permanent Spanish colony on Alabama-Florida coast.

ca. 1600  - Beginning of the rise of the historic tribes of Alabama: Muskogean-speaking Indian groups, remnants of the Mississippian chiefdoms, coalesces into the Creek Confederacy. Similar developments take place among the other heirs to the Mississippian tradition, creating the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Cherokee tribes.

1699—January 31. The French, under Iberville and Bienville, while sailing in search of the mouth of the Mississippi river, discover Massacre, afterwards Dauphin Island.

1702  - January 20: Le Moyne brothers, Iberville and Bienville, establish French fort and settlement, Fort Louis de la Mobile, on a bluff twenty-seven miles up the Mobile River from Mobile Bay. Bienville established a settlement on Massacre island.

 1702—January. Bienville established the original site of Mobile, on Mobile Bay, at the mouth of Dog river, and built there Fort St. Louis de la Mobile.

1711—March. Bienville established the present site of the city of Mobile.Mobile moved from Twenty-seven Mile Bluff to permanent site at the mouth of the Mobile River.

1711—October. A pirate ship from Jamaica debarked on Massacre island, and plundered its inhabitants.

1714—June. Fort Toulouse, afterwards Fort Jackson, built by Bienville, four miles south of Wetumpka.

1719— August 19. A Spanish squadron bombarded the French on Massacre island, but were repulsed.

1717  - Fort Toulouse on the Coosa River constructed to trade with the Indians and offset influence of British; farthest eastward penetration of the French.

1720— December. The capital of the Louisiana colony transferred from Mobile to Biloxi, Miss.  French Louisiana capital moved from Mobile west to Biloxi; then to New Orleans (1722).

1720  - 1721  - Africane sails into Mobile harbor with cargo of over 100 slaves.

1721— March 17. First African slaves landed at Mobile.

1724  - French Code Noir extended from French West Indies to North American colonies, institutionalizing slavery in Mobile area.

1735— Fort Tombecbe established by Bienville on the little Tombigbee river, at what is now Jones' Bluff.

1743—May. Bienville, who, for more than forty-six years had been Governor of the Louisiana colony, resigned and returned to France.

1756 .. 1763 - Seven Years War (French and Indian War) won by Great Britain. France ceded territorial claims east of the Mississippi River to Britain and those west of the River (including New Orleans) to Spain; Great Britain returned war-captured Cuba to Spain for Florida, which was divided into West Florida (including Mobile) and East Florida (the peninsula).

1775 .. 1783 - American Revolution creates United States of America governed by the Articles of Confederation.

1763—February 18. France ceded to England all the soil of the Louisiana colony east of the Mississippi, and embracing the settlement at Mobile.

1780—March 14. Spanish capture Mobile during American Revolution and retain the West and East Floridas as part of war-ending treaty. Fort Charlotte — originally Fort Conde and the Mobile settlement taken from the English by Don Galvez, the Spanish commander.

1782—November 30. On the treaty of peace between England and the United States, the former relinquished to the latter her claim to the soil east of the Mississippi and north of latitude 31 °.

1790  - Creek Indians, led by Alexander McGillivray, negotiate the Treaty of New York with the U.S. government. The treaty ceded Creek territory in Georgia to the new nation, and acknowledged Indian rights in western Georgia and Alabama.

1795—October 27. Spain relinquished to the United States her claim to the territory east of the Mississippi and north of latitude 31°.

1793 - Eli Whitney invents cotton gin.

1797 .. 1799 - U.S. Surveyor General Andrew Ellicott makes survey that establishes U.S. claims for its southern boundary with Spanish West Florida at the 31st parallel. Ellicott's Stone is placed north of Mobile in 1799 to mark the 31st parallel.

1798  - Mississippi Territory organized from Georgia's western land claims, including Alabama.

1799 - May 5: U.S. Army Lieutenant John McClary takes possession of Fort St. Stephens from the Spanish, and the United States flag is raised for the first time on soil that would eventually belong to Alabama.

1802 - Georgia formally cedes western claims for its southern boundary at the 31st parallel.

1803 .. 1811  - Federal Road conceived and built connecting Milledgeville, Georgia, and Fort Stoddert, an American outpost north of Mobile.

1805 .. 1806  - Indian cessions opened up to white settlement large portions of western (Choctaw) and northern (Chickasaw and Cherokee) Alabama.

1807—February 19. Aaron Burr arrested in what is now Washington county, Alabama.

1807—December. St. Stephens laid off in town lots, and a road cut from there to Natchez, Miss.

1810 - West Florida, from Pearl River to the Mississippi, annexed by U.S. from Spain.

1811 .. 1816  - Newspapers established in Mobile (Centinel, May 23, 1811; Gazette, 1812) and Huntsville (Alabama Republican, 1816).

1811 .. 1812 - Schools established at St. Stephens (Washington Academy, 1811) and Huntsville (Green Academy, 1812).

1812 .. 1815 - War of 1812 between U.S. and Great Britain.

1813—April. The settlement at Mobile and the part of Alabama south of latitude 31°, relinquished by Spain to the United States.

1813—July. Bloody war commenced between the Creek Indians and the white settlers of Georgia and what is now Alabama.

1813 .. 1814 - Creek Indian War, a part of the War of 1812, fought largely within the boundaries of present-day Alabama. Andrew Jackson of Tennessee becomes a military hero as he leads U.S. forces against the "Red Stick" Creeks.   Letters of Creek War

1813 - 1815 - John Coffee travels through Alabama - Letters Home and Creek War 

July 27, 1813: Battle of Burnt Corn Creek     

August 30, 1813: Fort Mims Massacre - Fort Mims Information on main GT site    Summary of Battle   Fort Mimms
November 3, 1813: Battle of Tallushatchee

November 9, 1813: Battle of Talladega

November 12, 1813: The Canoe Fight

November 18, 1813: Hillabee Massacre

November 29, 1813: Battle of Autosse

December 23, 1813: Battle of Holy Ground (Econochaca)

January 22, 1814: Battle of Emuckfau Creek

January 24, 1814: Battle of Enitachopco

January 27, 1814: Battle of Calabee Creek

March 27, 1814: Battle of Horseshoe Bend (Tohopeka)(located on Tallapoosa Genealogy Trails site)

August 9, 1814: Treaty of Fort Jackson finalized; 23 million acres of Creek territory ceded to the United States, opening up half of the present state of Alabama to white settlement.

September 15, 1814: British attack on Fort Bowyer on Mobile Point fails, prompting them to abandon plans to capture Mobile and turn towards New Orleans.

February 11, 1815: British forces take Fort Bowyer on return from defeat at New Orleans, then abandon upon learning that the war is over.

1817  - March 3: The Alabama Territory is created when Congress passes the enabling act allowing the division of the Mississippi Territory and the admission of Mississippi into the union as a state. Alabama territory carved out of Mississippi territory, with St. Stephens as the seat of government, and Wm. W. Bibb, Territorial Governor.

1818  - January 19: The first legislature of the Alabama Territory convenes at the Douglass Hotel in the territorial capital of St. Stephens.

1818—July. French refugees found Demopolis.

The Alabama, the area's first steamboat, constructed in St. Stephens.

Cedar Creek Furnace, the state's first blast furnace and commerical pig-iron producer, established in present-day Franklin County.

November 21: Cahaba designated by the territorial legislature as Alabama's state capital. Huntsville would serve temporarily as state capital.

1818— November. Second and last Territorial Legislature assembled at St. Stephens.

1819  - March 2: President Monroe signs the Alabama enabling act. Congress authorized the people of Alabama Territory to form a State government

July 5 - August 2: Constitutional Convention meets in Huntsville and adopts state constitution.  
                         Journal of the Convention of the Alabama Territory July 5, 1819

September 20-21: The first general election for governor, members of Congress, legislators, court clerks, and sheriffs is held as specified by state constitution. Territorial governor William Wyatt Bibb is elected the state's first governor.

October 25 - December 17: General Assembly [legislature] meets in Huntsville while the Cahaba capitol is constructed.

October 28: Legislature elects William Rufus King and John W. Walker as Alabama's first U.S. senators.

December 14: Alabama enters Union as 22nd state.

1820 - May 8: The Alabama Supreme Court, composed of Alabama's circuit court judges, convenes for the first time.

July 10: Gov. William Wyatt Bibb dies as a result of injuries received in a riding accident. His younger brother Thomas Bibb, president of the state senate, automatically becomes governor, as required by the state constitution

October 22: The steamboat Harriet reaches Montgomery after ten days of travel from Mobile. This was the first successful attempt to navigate so far north on the Alabama River, and it opened river trade between Montgomery and Mobile.

1820—December 18. Act of the General Assembly approved, to establish the University of Alabama.

1820—December 21. State Bank chartered and located at Cahaba, the seat of government. Capital $2,000,000.

1822 - December: Legislature charters Athens Female Academy, which later becomes Athens State University.

1825 - French general and American Revolution hero, the Marquis de Lafayette, tours Alabama at Gov. Israel Pickens' invitation.

1826 - Capital moved to Tuscaloosa.

1830 -
January 19: LaGrange College chartered by legislature; eventually becomes the University of North Alabama. The college actually opened its doors to students on January 11, 1830.

1830 .. 1838 - President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Bill approved by Congress (1830); land cession treaties follow between the U.S. and each of the Indian peoples with a presence in Alabama, each of whom cede their remaining lands east of the Mississippi in exchange for western lands.

September 27, 1830: Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek (Choctaw)

March 24, 1832: Treaty of Cusseta (Creek)

October 20, 1832: Treaty of Pontotoc (Chickasaw)

December 29, 1835: Treaty of New Echota (Cherokee)

May 1838: Alabama Indians moved to the western lands in the "Trail of Tears".

1831 - Nat Turner slave insurrection in Virginia.

April 18: University of Alabama formally opens its doors.

1832 - Bell Factory (Madison County), state's first textile mill, chartered by legislature.
June 12: Alabama's first railroad, the Tuscumbia Railway, opens, running the two miles from Tuscumbia Landing at the Tennessee River to Tuscumbia.

1833 - November 12-13: A fantastic meteor shower causes this night to be known as "the night stars fell on Alabama."

Daniel Pratt establishes cotton gin factory north of Montgomery; his company town, Prattville (founded 1839), would become a manufacturing center in the antebellum South.

1835 - Alabama gold rush, concentrated in east-central hill country, begins; peaks the next year.

1836 - Texas War for Independence from Mexico.

1836 .. 1837 - Second Creek War (Seminole War); Battle of Hobdy's Bridge last Indian battle in Alabama (1837).

1839 - January 7: Judson Female Institute, a Baptist college, opens in Marion; renamed Judson College in 1903.

January 26: Alabama Penitentiary incorporated.State prison established by legislature; first convict incarcerated in 1842.

1839—August. Great drouth throughout Alabama and the entire South, beginning about the first of this month and continuing until the end of January of the next year.

1844 - Methodist Episcopal Church, South, established as Methodists split nationally over sectional issues.

1845 .. 1848 - U.S. annexes Texas; war with Mexico follows. Alabamians volunteered in large numbers to fight, but only the 1st Alabama regiment, a battalion, and several independent companies actually were received into federal service.

1846 - January 21: Legislature selects Montgomery as new capital; begins its first session there December 6, 1847.

1849 - December 14: On the thirtieth anniversary of statehood the capitol in Montgomery is destroyed by fire. Construction of new capitol completed in 1851.

1852 - February 6: Alabama Insane Hospital established at Tuscaloosa; received first patient in 1861. Its first director, Dr. Peter Bryce, became renowned for his innovative and humane treatment of patients.

Running on ticket with Democratic presidential nominee Franklin Pierce, Alabama Senator William Rufus King is elected Vice President of United States. Inaugurated March 24, 1853, in Cuba, where he had gone to recover his failing health, King died April 18, 1853, at home in Selma, never formally serving as Vice President.

1854 - February 15: Alabama Public School Act creates first state-wide education system by providing funding for schools and establishing office of State Superintendent of Education.

1856 - Alabama Coal Mining Company begins first systematic underground mining in the state near Montevallo.

East Alabama Male College established at Auburn by Methodists; evolved into Auburn University.

1858 - October 4: Alabama School for the Deaf founded in Talladega; evolved into the state-supported Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind.

1860 - November: Abraham Lincoln, Republican candidate (although not on Alabama ballot), elected President of the U.S.

1861 - April 12: The Civil War begins when Confederates fire at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, acting upon instructions telegraphed from Montgomery.

1861 .. 1865 in Alabama (in brief)
194 military land events and 8 naval engagements occurred within the boundaries of Alabama during the Civil War including:

Streight's Raid in north Alabama (April-May 1863);

Rousseau's Raid through north and east-central Alabama (July 1864);

Wilson's Raid through north and central Alabama (March-April 1865);

Battle of Mobile Bay (August 1864) and the subsequent campaign which involved action at Spanish Fort (April 8, 1865) and Blakeley (April 9) before the fall of the city of Mobile (April 12).

General Richard Taylor surrenders last sizable Confederate force at Citronelle, Mobile County (May 4, 1865).

1861 .. 1865 in Alabama (in depth)

January 4, 1861: A full week before Alabama secedes from the Union, Gov. A. B. Moore orders the seizure of federal military installations within the state. By the end of the next day Alabama troops controlled Fort Gaines, Fort Morgan, and the U.S. Arsenal at Mount Vernon.

January 11, 1861: The Alabama Secession Convention passes an Ordinance of Secession, declaring Alabama a "Sovereign and Independent State." By a vote of 61-39, Alabama becomes the fourth state to secede from the Union.

February 4, 1861: Delegates from six states that had recently seceded from the Union meet in Montgomery to establish the Confederate States of America. Four days later this provisional Confederate Congress, comprising representatives of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina, organized the Confederacy with the adoption of a provisional constitution.

February 18, 1861: After being welcomed to Montgomery with great fanfare, Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as president of the Confederate States of America on the portico of the Alabama capitol. Davis, a former U.S. senator from Mississippi, lived in Montgomery until April, when the Confederate government was moved from Montgomery to its new capital of Richmond, Virginia.

February-May, 1861: Montgomery serves as C.S.A. capital until move to Richmond, Virginia.

March 4, 1861: The first Confederate flag is raised over the Alabama capitol at 3:30 PM by Letita Tyler, granddaughter of former U.S. president John Tyler. The flag, which flew on a flagpole by the capitol clock, was not the Confederate battle flag, but the "First National Pattern," also known as the stars and bars.

March 11, 1861: The Confederate Congress, meeting in Montgomery, adopts a permanent constitution for the Confederate States of America to replace the provisional constitution adopted the previous month. The seceded states then ratified the essentially conservative document, which was based largely on the United States Constitution.

May 21, 1861: The Confederate Congress meets for the last time in Montgomery. Montgomery served as capital for just three months, from February to May 1861. After Virginia joined the Confederacy in April 1861, leaders urged the move to the larger city of Richmond, which was closer to the military action.

April 1, 1862: As the first year of the Civil War comes to a close, an order by Gov. John Gill Shorter prohibiting the distillation of hard liquors in Alabama goes into effect. Shorter was willing to make some exceptions, but was determined to prevent distillers from "converting food necessary to sustain our armies and people into poison to demoralize and destroy them."

July 10, 1862: Forty men from the hill country of northwest Alabama sneak into Decatur to join the Union army, prompting Gen. Abel Streight to mount an expedition to the south to recruit more volunteers. With the help of an impassioned speech from fervent Unionist Christopher Sheats of Winston County, a center of anti-secessionist sentiment, Streight added another 150 Alabamians to his force.

March 17, 1863: John Pelham, a 24-year-old Confederate hero from Calhoun County, is mortally wounded on the battlefield at Kelley's Ford, Virginia. He died the next day and his body lay in state in the capitol at Richmond before being taken to Alabama for burial. Pelham's skill and daring as an artillery commander distinguished him from the outset of the Civil War and earned him the nickname "the gallant Pelham" from Robert E. Lee.

May 2, 1863: Sixteen-year-old Emma Sansom becomes a Confederate heroine when she helps Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest cross Black Creek near Gadsden as he pursues Union forces led by Col. A.D. Streight.

February 17, 1864: The H.L. Hunley, a Confederate submarine built in Mobile, becomes the first submarine in history to sink an enemy ship. After torpedoing the USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor the Hunley never returned to port--until its recovery in August 2000.

June 19, 1864: The CSS Alabama, captained by Mobile's Raphael Semmes, is sunk at the end of a fierce naval engagement with the USS Kearsarge off the coast of Cherbourg, France. The Alabama had docked there for maintenance and repairs after 22 months of destroying northern commerce on the high seas during the Civil War.

August 5, 1864: The Battle of Mobile Bay begins. U.S. Admiral David Farragut, with a force of fourteen wooden ships, four ironclads, 2,700 men, and 197 guns, assaulted greatly outnumbered Confederate defenses guarding the approach to Mobile Bay. Farragut's victory removed Mobile as a center of blockade-running and freed Union troops for service in Virginia.

June 21, 1865: President Andrew Johnson appoints Lewis Parsons provisional governor of Alabama.

1865 - April 9, 1865: Confederate commander Robert E. Lee surrenders forces to Union army at Appomattox, Virginia.

1865 .. 1876  - Era of Reconstruction in the South.

1865 December 6 - The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S Constitution is ratified, thus officially abolishing slavery.

1866 - Ku Klux Klan formed in Pulaski, Tennessee

1866  - Lincoln Normal School founded as private institution for African-Americans at Marion; relocated to Montgomery (1887) and evolved into Alabama State University.

1868  - Reconstruction Constitution ratified (February) gaining Alabama readmission to the Union, and allowing black suffrage for the first time.

1868—July 13. William H. Smith, first Governor of the reconstructed State, inaugurated.

1868— July. New University buildings at Tuskaloosa completed.

1869— April. New University buildings opened to students.

1870—November 8. Robert B. Lindsey elected Governor of Alabama.

1870—November 26. Governor Lindsey inaugurated.

1871  - Birmingham founded; evolves into center of Southern iron and steel industry.

1873  - Huntsville Normal and Industrial School chartered; evolves into Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University.

November: James Rapier of Lauderdale County elected to U.S. Congress, one of three African American congressmen elected from Alabama during Reconstruction. Benjamin Turner served from 1871- 1873 and Jeremiah Haralson served 1875-1877

1874  - State elections return conservative Democrat "Bourbon Redeemers" to political power.

1874— November 24. George S. Houston inaugurated Governor of Alabama.

1875— March 19. Act of the General Assembly approved, calling a convention to revise and remodel the Constitution of the State.

1875 - November 16: Alabama's Constitution of 1875 is ratified. The Bourbon Democrats, or "Redeemers," having claimed to "redeem" the Alabama people from the Reconstruction rule of carpetbaggers and scalawags, wrote a new constitution to replace the one of 1868. It was a conservative document that gave the Democrats, and especially Black Belt planters, a firm grip on their recently reacquired control of state government.

1876— April 3. Great rain and wind storm throughout Alabama. This storm came from the east, and lasted nineteen hours without intermission, and was accompanied by unusually heavy thunder and continuous rain and lightning. The rain was considered the heaviest that ever fell in Alabama.

1878—Violent yellow fever epidemic

1878—Violent yellow fever epidemic.

1879, Jan. 15—State Bar Association organized.

1880—The Greenback party, in active opposition to Democrats.

1880 - National Baptist Convention (African-American Baptists) organized at Montgomery.

June 27: Helen Keller is born in Tuscumbia. Having lost both sight and hearing by illness as a small child, Keller's life story and activism inspired new attitudes toward those with handicaps.

1880—Ten electoral votes cast for Winfield S. Hancock, and William H. English, democrat.

1880, Nov. 23—Alice furnace No. 1. in Birmingham, went into blast.

1881, Feb. 10—Industrial and normal school for negroes established at Tuskegee.  The Alabama Legislature establishes Tuskegee Institute as a "normal school for the education of colored teachers." The law stipulated that no tuition would be charged and graduates must agree to teach for two years in Alabama schools. Booker T. Washington was chosen as the first superintendent and arrived in Alabama in June 1881. Washington's leadership would make Tuskegee one of the most famous and celebrated historic black colleges in the U.S.

1881, Feb. 26—State railroad commission established.

1882—Alabama State Teachers' Association formed.

1882—State normal school established at Jacksonville.

1882—East and west railroad linked Cartcrsvillc, Georgia, and Pell City. Alabama.

1883, Jan. —Defalcation of State Treasurer Isaac II. Vincent discovered.

1883—Anniston and Sheffield founded.

1883, Feb. 23—State Department of Agriculture created.

1884—Birmingham Mineral Railroad opened to traffic.

1884—Ten electoral votes cast for Grover Cleveland and Thomas A. Hendricks.

1885, Sept. 30—Confederate Monument Association incorporated.

1886—Immense freshets in spring and summer.

1887 .. 1896 - Farmers' Alliance grew out of earlier Grange (1870s) and Agricultural Wheel (early 1880s) organizations; evolved into the Populist movement which challenged conservative Democrats for control of state politics.

1887, April 12—Bessemer founded.

1887—The following railroads opened to travel: Alabama Midland, Birmingham and Atlantic, Kansas City, Memphis
and Birmingham, Mobile and Birmingham.

1888—Yellow fever in Decatur.

1888—Savannah and Western (Central of Georgia) Railway opened to Birmingham.

1880, Feb. 28—Legislature pensions named Confederate soldiers and the widows of Confederate soldiers.

1880, Dee. 8—Hawes riot at Birmingham. Thirteen persons killed by posse under sheriff Joseph B. Smith, to protect from mob violence Richard Hawes, who had murdered his wife and two daughters.

1890—East Lake Atheneum established.

1890, Oct. 12—Alabama Girls' Industrial School at Montevallo opened to students.

1892—Co-education inaugurated at Alabama Polytechnic Institute.

1893—Financial panic.

1893 - February 22: The first Auburn/Alabama football game is played in Birmingham's Lakeview Park before a crowd of 5,000 spectators. Auburn won this first match-up 32-22. The rivalry continued until 1907 when the games were stopped, with the renewal of the series not coming until 1948. Tuscaloosa Sports News

1895 - February 16: Alabama formally adopts a state flag for the first time. The legislature dictated "a crimson cross of St. Andrew upon a field of white," which was the design submitted by John W. A. Sanford, Jr., who also sponsored the bill. This flag remains Alabama's flag today.

1896 - October 8: George Washington Carver arrives in Macon County to direct Tuskegee Institute's agricultural school. Born a slave in Missouri during the Civil War, Carver was studying in Iowa when school president Booker T. Washington invited him to Alabama. He remained at Tuskegee until his death in 1943, and although he dedicated much of his work to helping black farmers in the South, Carver's international fame came from his innovative uses of peanuts, sweet potatoes, and other southern products.

October 12: The Alabama Girls' Industrial School opens its doors as the first state-supported industrial and technical school devoted to training girls to make a living. The school later became known as Alabama College, and is now the University of Montevallo.

1898 - Spanish-American War.    Alabamians in the Spanish American War

Sculptor Guiseppe Moretti created an iron statue of Vulcan to represent Alabama Industry and Birmingham at the St. Louis World's Fair.

1901, Mar. 25—About in 10 a. m. fearful tornado in Birmingham.

1907 - Tennessee Coal and Iron Company in Birmingham purchased by U.S. Steel.

1909  - Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur, establish "flying school" on land outside Montgomery (present site of Maxwell Air Force Base) six years after their first flights.

Boll Weevil, insect destroyer of cotton, enters state from Mississippi border.

1917..1919 - United States enters World War I. Alabama's 167th Regiment, a part of the 42nd "Rainbow Division," serves at the front longer than any U.S. regiment.

1919  - December 11: The boll weevil monument is dedicated in Enterprise. The monument honors the insect that killed cotton plants and forced local farmers to diversify by planting more profitable crops such as peanuts. Even though the monument was in appreciation of the boll weevil, the weevil statue was not added to the monument until 30 years later.

1928  - Convict lease system ended in Alabama.

1929 ..1940 - Great Depression and New Deal.

1931 - March 25: Nine black youths, soon to be known as the Scottsboro Boys, are arrested in Paint Rock and jailed in Scottsboro, the Jackson County seat. Charged with raping two white women on a freight train from Chattanooga, the sheriff had to protect them from mob violence that night. Within a month, eight of the nine were sentenced to death. Based on questionable evidence, the convictions by an all-white jury generated international outrage.

1933 - Tennessee Valley Authority created to develop resources of poor Appalachian South, including large parts of north Alabama.

William B. Bankhead elected Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives.

1937 - State sales tax instituted to help fund education.

1941 .. 1945  - United States in World War II. Alabama has new or expanded military bases in Montgomery, Mobile, Selma, and Anniston; munitions plants in Huntsville and Childersburg.

1941 - Training of African-American military pilots, the "Tuskegee Airmen," underway.

1944 - First Oil Well In Alabama--On January 2, 1944, the State of Alabama granted Hunt Oil Company a permit to drill the A.R. Jackson Well No. 1 near Gilbertown, Choctaw County.

1945 - University of Alabama Medical School moved from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham.

1947 - Georgiana's Hank Williams signs recording contract with MGM and becomes regular on The Louisiana Hayride radio program.

1948  - July 17: The Dixiecrat Convention assembles in Birmingham, with over 6,000 delegates from across the South in attendance. They selected Strom Thurmond as their candidate for President for their States' Rights Party. In the 1948 presidential election the Dixiecrats carried four states, including Alabama, where Democratic candidate Harry Truman's name did not even appear on the ballot.

1950 .. 1953 - Korean War.

Alabama casualties in the Korean War

1954 - U.S. Supreme Court decides in Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka that "separate" schools cannot be "equal."

1954  - June 14: Democratic nominee for state Attorney General, Albert Patterson, murdered in Phenix City, prompting clean-up of the "wickedest city in America."

October 31: Martin Luther King Jr, of Atlanta is installed as minister of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery. A little more than a year later, on the first day of the Montgomery Bus Boycott he was named president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, a role which made him a national civil rights figure.

1955 - December 1: Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, is arrested for refusing to give up her seat for a boarding white passenger as required by Montgomery city ordinance. Her action prompted the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott and earned her a place in history as "the mother of the modern day civil rights movement." Ms. Parks was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in August 2000.

1956 - January 30: With the Montgomery Bus Boycott about to enter its third month, segregationists bomb the home of boycott spokesman Martin Luther King Jr. The home sustained moderate damage, but no one was injured. The young minister addressed the large crowd that gathered after the blast, declaring, "I want it to be known the length and breadth of this land that if I am stopped this movement will not stop."

Army Ballistic Missile Agency established at Huntsville's Redstone Arsenal.

Autherine Lucy unsuccessfully attempts to desegregate the University of Alabama.

December 21: The Supreme Court ruling banning segregated seating on Montgomery's public transit vehicles goes into effect. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks were among the first people to ride a fully integrated bus, ending the historic year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott.

1957 - Soviet satellite "SPUTNIK" launched to begin "Space Race."

1958 - Huntsville-built "Jupiter" rocket places American satellite in orbit around Earth.

May 20: The Freedom Riders arrive at the Greyhound bus terminal in Montgomery where they are attacked by an angry mob. The Freedom Ride, an integrated bus trip from Washington D.C., through the Deep South, was formed to test the 1960 Supreme Court decision prohibiting segregation in bus and train terminal facilities. Before reaching Montgomery, they had already suffered violent reprisals in Anniston and Birmingham. The Freedom Ride eventually resulted in a campaign that caused the Interstate Commerce Commission to rule against segregated facilities in interstate travel.

1961 - "Freedom Rides" through the Deep South challenge racial segregation on public carriers and spark into violence in Anniston, Birmingham, and Montgomery.

1961 .. 1973 - America involved in Vietnam War.

1963 - Governor George C. Wallace inaugurated for first of four terms in office.
Birmingham bombings of Civil Rights-related targets, including the offices of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the home of A.D. King (brother of Martin Luther King, Jr.), and the 16th Street Baptist Church (in which 4 children were killed), focus national attention on racial violence in the state.

Governor Wallace's "stand in the schoolhouse door" at the University of Alabama protests federally forced racial integration; Vivian Malone and James Hood register for classes as first African-American students.

University of South Alabama founded in Mobile.

May 19: Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" is issued to the public in a press release. Begun April 16 from the Birmingham City Jail, where King was under arrest for participation in civil rights demonstrations, the letter was addressed to eight local clergymen who had recently urged civil rights leaders to use the courts and local negotiations instead of mass demonstrations to promote their cause in Birmingham. King's letter, which soon became a classic text of the civil rights movement, rejected the clergymen's plea.

March 7: Six-hundred demonstrators make the first of three attempts to march from Selma to the capitol in Montgomery to demand removal of voting restrictions on black Americans. Attacked by state and local law enforcement officers as they crossed Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge, the marchers fled back into the city. The dramatic scene was captured on camera and broadcast across the nation later that Sunday, causing a surge of support for the protestors.

March 21: Rev. Martin Luther King leads 3,200 marchers from Selma toward Montgomery in support of civil rights for black Americans, after two earlier marches had ended at the Edmund Pettus Bridge--the first in violence and the second in prayer. Four days later, outside the Alabama state capitol, King told 25,000 demonstrators that "we are on the move now . . . and no wave of racism can stop us." On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.

1967 - Lurleen Wallace inaugurated as state's first woman governor (died 1968).

1969 - University of Alabama at Huntsville established. University of Alabama at Birmingham established, joining University's medical and dental schools there since the 1940s.

September 14: Talladega Speedway opens with its first running of the Talladega 500 which is won by Richard Brickhouse. Over 30 top drivers boycotted the first run saying the track was unsafe at high speeds. The facility cost $4 million dollars to build and attracted a crowd of 65,000 to the first major race. In April 2000, a crowd of 180,000 watched Jeff Gordon win the Diehard 500.

1970 - March 17: The Alabama Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville is dedicated, with Werner von Braun calling it "a graphic display of man's entering into the cosmic age." Now known as the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, visitors tour the museum, which includes rockets and spacecraft, and participate in activities like Space Camp.

1972 - May 15: Gov. George C. Wallace is shot in Maryland while campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president. The assassination attempt by Arthur Bremer left the Governor paralyzed from the waist down and effectively ended his chances at the nomination. He campaigned again for president in 1976, marking his fourth consecutive run for that office.

1982 - November: Oscar Adams was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, becoming the first African American elected to statewide constitutional office in Alabama.

1983 - January 26: Alabamians are shocked and saddened when retired University of Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant dies suddenly from a heart attack. Bryant began coaching at Alabama in 1958 and went on to win six national championships with the team. In 1981 he became football's "winningest" coach with 315 victories

1985 - Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway opens.

2001 (November) - Winfield native and C.I.A. operative Michael Spann dies in prison uprising in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan, becoming the first U.S. casualty in the war in Afghanistan.

2002 - May 22 -- Bobby Frank Cherry is convicted of murder for his part in the bombing of Birmingham's Sixteenth St. Baptist Church. Cherry is the last living suspect to be prosecuted for the Sept. 15, 1963, blast that killed 11-year-old Denise McNair, and 14-year-olds Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Addie Mae Collins.

2010 - November 2 -- Republican candidate Dr. Robert Bentley is elected governor and the party gains a majority in the Alabama House, Senate and Supreme Court, wresting control from Democrats for the first time since 1874.

2011 - April 27 - Devastating tornadoes throughout the southeast.  238 people died in Alabama alone. 

 

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