1850 Alabama

Alabama is bounded on the north by TN, the east by GA, the south by FL & the Gulf of Mexico and on the west by MS, It has about 50,722 square miles. 

Physical aspects: The face of Alabama is somewhat varied.  Near the Gulf of Mexico the country is low and level, embracing numerous swamps and savannas.  A large portion of the upland toward the centre consists of pine-barrens, thinly wooded or covered with coarse grass.  The soil here is generally sandy and thin.  The central part of the state consists of a table-land, with a deep rich productive soil.  Toward the north, the surface becomes mountainous and hilly, beyond which lies the valley of TN, where the soil id highly fertile. 

Mountains: The Cumberland or Appalachian range extends into this state from the NE, and is believed to abound in mineral wealth.

Rivers & Bays: The principle rivers are the Alabama, Tombigbee, Black Warrior, Coosa, Tallapoosa, Tennessee, Chattahoochee, Perdido, Cahawba and the Mobile.  The chief bays are Mobile bay and Bon Secour, which are situated in the SW part of the state.

Islands: At the mouth of Mobile bay is a chain of low islands, the three principle of which are, Dauphine, hurricane and Horn

Climate: The climate of the uplands is generally salubrious with mild winters, and pleasant summers; but in the southern parts, and along the borders of the streams it is unhealthy.  The extremes of the seasons greatly vary.  Those portions of the state lying along the gulf may be regarded as sub-tropical, while those in the more elevated and northern parts, are more or less subject to excessive frosts, and abiding snows.  Although the navigation of the rivers is sometimes impeded by ice, it is more frequently the case that it is suspended by excessive droughts.

Productive Resources: No part of this state will admit of the profitable cultivation of the sugar cane unless we except a narrow strip along its extreme border on the SW.  The staple products are cotton, rice, tobacco, wheat, oats, potatoes and Indian corn.  Indigo was formerly ranked among the staple crops, but its cultivation in 1850 was 41,964.  Mines of gold, silver and iron are successfully worked in the county of Randolph.  Gold also occurs in Tallapoosa, Coosa, Talladega and Chambers.  Silver if found in Tallapoosa, iron in Benton, Clarke and Talladega, nitre in Blount and lead in the bed of TN, and on the Cahawhe, and Black Warrior Rivers. On Muscle shoal, coal abounds in Tuscaloosa, and on the Cahawba and Black Warrior plus marble, granite, limestone and in Clarke, produces salt.

Manufactures: There are upward if 1000 manufacturing establishments in this state, producing $500 and more each year.  There are several cotton factories established, though they produce only the more common fabrics required for domestic use.  Tanneries, flouring and saw mills are numerous, and the products of individual industry in the mechanic arts are considerable

Railroads & Canals: There are as yet but about 150 miles of RR complete in Alabama.  But new lines are projected, and some of them will be carried through at an early day.  The principle canals are the Muscle Shoal canal, 36 miles long and the Huntsville canal, 16 miles.

Commerce: The foreign trade of Alabama (mostly exports of domestic produce) amounts to about $12 million annually.  The shipping engaged in the foreign trade is about 100,000 tons and about as much more in the coasting-trade, principally with the northern Atlantic ports.

Education: Of the educational institutions in Alabama, the university of Tuscaloosa, founded in 1828, is the principle; besides this are, La Grange College founded in 1831; Spring Hill College founded in 1830 and Howard College at Marion, founded in 1841. A law school is attached to the university and theological seminaries to Spring Hill and Howard Colleges.  There are in the state about 200 academics and grammar schools, and about 1000 primary and common schools

Population:  In 1800 est at 2000.  In 1810 at 20,845.  In 1820 at 127,901.  In 1830 at 309,527.  In 1840 at 590,756.  In 1850 at 771,672.  Numbers of slaves in 1820 was 41,879.  In 1830 was 117,549.  In 1840 was 253,532.  In 1850 was 342,892.

Government: The legislative power is vested in two branches, a senate and house of representatives.  The house consists of 100 members, elected for two years.  The senate consists of 33 members, elected for four years.  One half retiring every two years.  The executive power is vested in a governor, who is elected by the people for two years and is eligible four years out of six. State election first Monday in August.  The legislature meets biennially at Montgomery.  The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, of three judges, in a court of chancery, of three chancellors, the state being divided into three chancery districts; in circuit courts, each held by one judge, the state being divided into eight circuits, and  such inferior courts as the legislature may establish.  The judges of the supreme and circuit courts, and the chancellors, are elected by a joint vote of the two houses o the general assembly for six years.  The right of suffrage is possessed by every white male citizen of 21 years of age, who has resided within the state for one year preceding an election, and the last 3 months within the district in which he offers his vote.

History: The territory of Alabama was formerly held by France, as a part of Louisiana.  Its first permanent settlement by Europeans having been established by D'Iberville in 1702 on Mobile Bay.  Subsequently 4 degrees of latitude, of its most northerly part, fell into the possession of the English and was embraced within the grant to the Georgia colony, in 1732.  After the treaty of Paris in 1763, when Florida was ceded to Great Britain, and the French restricted to the western side of the Mississippi, the southern part of the present state of Alabama was attached to the western division of Florida, the northern division being claimed by Georgia, as a part of the original grant, which embraced the region between the rivers Savannah and Altamaha, extending from their head waters westward to the "South Sea".  IN 1781 Governor Galvez of Louisiana, invaded and conquered West Florida, which together with a part of East Florida, then held by the British, once more fell into the hands of Spain, in 1783, who held it until 1798, at which time, all that portion of Georgia south of Altamaha was ceded to the United States.  By act of Congress subsequent to the adjustment of the boundary between Louisiana and Florida, and our then newly acquired territory, north of the 31st degree of latitude, provision was made for a territorial government, in what is now comprised Mississippi and Alabama, called the "Mississippi Territory".,  In 1802, cession was made by Georgia to the United States, of all her territory on the west between Chattahochee and Mississippi Rivers, as far up the former as near the 33rd parallel of latitude and then to latitude 35 degrees by the existing line between Georgia and Alabama.  In this condition the Mississippi territory remained until 1817, when it was organized by act of Congress, into two states, Mississippi and Alabama.  In 1819, the inhabitants of the latter formed a constitution, and in 1820 it was admitted into the Union as an independent state.

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