Alabama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Alabama  is a state in the southeastern region of the United States. It 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. Alabama is the 30th-most extensive and the 24th-most populous of the 50 United States. At 1,300 miles (2,100 km), Alabama has one of the nation's longest navigable inland waterways.

Alabama GDP was $182.7 billions in 2015 according to BEA data. Alabama GDP represents 1.14% of US GDP which made it the 26th largest state economy in the nation in 2015. Real dollar values expressed in 2009 chained dollars.

From the American Civil War until World War II, Alabama, like many states in the South, suffered economic hardship, in part because of continued dependence on agriculture. Despite the growth of major industries and urban centers, whiterural interests dominated the state legislature from 1901 to the 1960s, as it did not regularly reapportion the legislature from 1901 to 1961; urban interests and African Americans were markedly under-represented. African Americans and poor whites were essentially disenfranchised altogether by the state constitution of 1901, a status that continued into the mid-1960s before being alleviated by federal legislation. Exclusion of minorities continued under at-large voting systems in most counties; some changes were made through a series of omnibus court cases in the late 1980s to establish different electoral systems.

Following World War II, Alabama experienced growth as the state's economy changed from one primarily based on agriculture to one with diversified interests. The power of the Solid South in Congress gained the establishment or expansion of multiple United States Armed Forces installations, which helped bridge the gap between an agricultural and industrial economy during the mid-20th century. The state economy in the 21st century is based on management, automotive, finance, manufacturing, aerospace, mineral extraction, healthcare, education, retail, and technology.

Alabama is nicknamed the Yellowhammer State, after the state bird. Alabama is also known as the "Heart of Dixie" and the Cotton State. The state tree is the longleaf pine, and the state flower is the camellia. Alabama's capital is Montgomery. The largest city by population is Birmingham,which has long been the most industrialized city, and largest city by land area is Huntsville. The oldest city is Mobile, founded by French colonists in 1702 as the capital of French Louisiana.

The European-American naming of the Alabama River and state originates from the Alabama people, a Muskogean-speaking tribe whose members lived just below the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers on the upper reaches of the river. In the Alabama language, the word for a person of Alabama lineage is Albaamo (or variously Albaama or Albàamo in different dialects; the plural form is Albaamaha).

The word Alabama is believed to have come from the Alabama language and a suggestion the name was borrowed from the Choctaw language is unlikely. The word's spelling varies significantly among historical sources.The first usage appears in three accounts of the Hernando de Soto expedition of 1540 with Garcilaso de la Vega using Alibamo, while the Knight of Elvas and Rodrigo Ranjel wrote Alibamu and Limamu, respectively, in efforts to transliterate the term. As early as 1702, the French called the tribe the Alibamon, with French maps identifying the river as Rivière des Alibamons. Other spellings of the appellation have included Alibamu, Alabamo, Albama, Alebamon, Alibama, Alibamou, Alabamu, Allibamou.

Sources disagree on the word's meaning. Some scholars suggest the word comes from the Choctaw alba (meaning "plants" or "weeds") and amo (meaning "to cut", "to trim", or "to gather").The meaning may have been "clearers of the thicket" or "herb gatherers",referring to clearing land for cultivation or collecting medicinal plants.The state has numerous place names of Native American origin.However, there are no correspondingly similar words in the Alabama language.

An 1842 article in the Jacksonville Republican proposed it meant "Here We Rest.This notion was popularized in the 1850s through the writings of Alexander Beaufort Meek.Experts in the Muskogean languages have been unable to find evidence to support such a translation.And, thus, this is probably erroneous.

With exploration in the 16th century, the Spanish were the first Europeans to reach Alabama. The expedition of Hernando de Soto passed through Mabila and other parts of the state in 1540. More than 160 years later, the French founded the region's first European settlement at Old Mobile in 1702.The city was moved to the current site of Mobile in 1711. This area was claimed by the French from 1702 to 1763 as part of La Louisiane.

After the French lost to the British in the Seven Years' War, it became part of British West Florida from 1763 to 1783. After the United States victory in the American Revolutionary War, the territory was divided between the United States and Spain. The latter retained control of this western territory from 1783 until the surrender of the Spanish garrison at Mobile to U.S. forces on April 13, 1813.

Thomas Bassett, a loyalist to the British monarchy during the Revolutionary era, was one of the earliest white settlers in the state outside Mobile. He settled in the Tombigbee District during the early 1770s.The district's boundaries were roughly limited to the area within a few miles of the Tombigbee River and included portions of what is today southern Clarke County, northernmost Mobile County, and most of Washington County.

What is now the counties of Baldwin and Mobile became part of Spanish West Florida in 1783, part of the independent Republic of West Florida in 1810, and was finally added to the Mississippi Territory in 1812. Most of what is now the northern two-thirds of Alabama was known as the Yazoo lands beginning during the British colonial period. It was claimed by the Province of Georgia from 1767 onwards. Following the Revolutionary War, it remained a part of Georgia, although heavily disputed.

 
Map showing the formation of the Mississippi and Alabama territories

With the exception of the area around Mobile and the Yazoo lands, what is now the lower one-third Alabama was made part of the Mississippi Territory when it was organized in 1798. The Yazoo lands were added to the territory in 1804, following the Yazoo land scandal.Spain kept a claim on its former Spanish West Florida territory in what would become the coastal counties until the Adams–Onís Treaty officially ceded it to the United States in 1819.

GEOGRAPHY

Alabama is the thirtieth-largest state in the United States with 52,419 square miles (135,760 km2) of total area: 3.2% of the area is water, making Alabama 23rd in the amount of surface water, also giving it the second-largest inland waterway system in the U.S. About three-fifths of the land area is a gentle plain with a general descent towards the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The North Alabama region is mostly mountainous, with the Tennessee River cutting a large valley and creating numerous creeks, streams, rivers, mountains, and lakes.

Alabama is bordered by the states of Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama has coastline at the Gulf of Mexico, in the extreme southern edge of the state.The state ranges in elevation from sea level at Mobile Bay to over 1,800 feet (550 m) in the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast.

The highest point is Mount Cheaha,at a height of 2,413 ft (735 m).Alabama's land consists of 22 million acres (89,000 km2) of forest or 67% of total land area.Suburban Baldwin County, along the Gulf Coast, is the largest county in the state in both land area and water area.

Areas in Alabama administered by the National Park Service include Horseshoe Bend National Military Park near Alexander City; Little River Canyon National Preserve near Fort Payne; Russell Cave National Monument in Bridgeport; Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Tuskegee; and Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site near Tuskegee.

Additionally, Alabama has four National Forests: Conecuh, Talladega, Tuskegee, and William B. Bankhead.Alabama also contains the Natchez Trace Parkway, the Selma To Montgomery National Historic Trail, and the Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail. A notable natural wonder in Alabama is "Natural Bridge" rock, the longest natural bridge east of the Rockies, located just south of Haleyville.

A 5-mile (8 km)-wide meteorite impact crater is located in Elmore County, just north of Montgomery. This is the Wetumpka crater, the site of "Alabama's greatest natural disaster." A 1,000-foot (300 m)-wide meteorite hit the area about 80 million years ago.The hills just east of downtown Wetumpka showcase the eroded remains of the impact crater that was blasted into the bedrock, with the area labeled the Wetumpka crater or astrobleme ("star-wound") because of the concentric rings of fractures and zones of shattered rock that can be found beneath the surface. In 2002, Christian Koeberl with the Institute of Geochemistry University of Vienna published evidence and established the site as the 157th recognized impact crater on Earth.

ECONOMY

The state has invested in aerospace, education, health care, banking, and various heavy industries, including automobile manufacturing, mineral extraction, steel production and fabrication. By 2006, crop and animal production in Alabama was valued at $1.5 billion. In contrast to the primarily agricultural economy of the previous century, this was only about 1% of the state's gross domestic product. The number of private farms has declined at a steady rate since the 1960s, as land has been sold to developers, timber companies, and large farming conglomerates.

Non-agricultural employment in 2008 was 121,800 in management occupations; 71,750 in business and financial operations; 36,790 in computer-related and mathematical occupation; 44,200 in architecture and engineering; 12,410 in life, physical, and social sciences; 32,260 in community and social services; 12,770 in legal occupations; 116,250 in education, training, and library services; 27,840 in art, design and media occupations; 121,110 in healthcare; 44,750 in fire fighting, law enforcement, and security; 154,040 in food preparation and serving; 76,650 in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; 53,230 in personal care and services; 244,510 in sales; 338,760 in office and administration support; 20,510 in farming, fishing, and forestry; 120,155 in construction and mining, gas, and oil extraction; 106,280 in installation, maintenance, and repair; 224,110 in production; and 167,160 in transportation and material moving.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the 2008 total gross state product was $170 billion, or $29,411 per capita. Alabama's 2012 GDP increased 1.2% from the previous year. The single largest increase came in the area of information.In 2010, per capita income for the state was $22,984.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.8% in April 2015.This compared to a nationwide seasonally adjusted rate of 5.4%.

Alabama has no state minimum wage and uses the federal minimum wage of $7.25. In February 2016, the state passed legislation that prevents Alabama municipalities from raising the minimum wage in their locality. The legislation voids a Birmingham city ordinance that was to raise the city's minimum wage to $10.10.

 

AGRICULTURE

Alabama's agricultural outputs include poultry and eggs, cattle, fish, plant nursery items, peanuts, cotton, grains such as corn and sorghum, vegetables, milk, soybeans, and peaches. Although known as "The Cotton State", Alabama ranks between eighth and tenth in national cotton production, according to various reports, with Texas, Georgia and Mississippi comprising the top three.

INDUSTRY

Alabama's industrial outputs include iron and steel products (including cast-iron and steel pipe); paper, lumber, and wood products; mining (mostly coal); plastic products; cars and trucks; and apparel. In addition, Alabama produces aerospace and electronic products, mostly in the Huntsville area, the location of NASA's George C. Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Army Materiel Command, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal.

A great deal of Alabama's economic growth since the 1990s has been due to the state's expanding automotive manufacturing industry. Located in the state are Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, as well as their various suppliers. Since 1993, the automobile industry has generated more than 67,800 new jobs in the state. Alabama currently ranks 4th in the nation for vehicle exports.

Automakers accounted for approximately a third of the industrial expansion in the state in 2012.The eight models produced at the state's auto factories totaled combined sales of 74,335 vehicles for 2012. The strongest model sales during this period were the Hyundai Elantra compact car, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class sport utility vehicle and the Honda Ridgelinesport utility truck.

Steel producers Outokumpu, Nucor, SSAB, ThyssenKrupp, and U.S. Steel have facilities in Alabama and employ over 10,000 people. In May 2007, German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp selected Calvert in Mobile County for a 4.65 billion combined stainless and carbon steel processing facility.ThyssenKrupp's stainless steel division, Inoxum, including the stainless portion of the Calvert plant, was sold to Finnish stainless steel company Outokumpu in 2012.The remaining portion of the ThyssenKrupp plant had final bids submitted by ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel for $1.6 billion in March 2013. Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional submitted a combined bid for the mill at Calvert, plus a majority stake in the ThyssenKrupp mill in Brazil, for $3.8 billion.In July 2013, the plant was sold to ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel.

The Hunt Refining Company, a subsidiary of Hunt Consolidated, Inc., is based in Tuscaloosa and operates a refinery there. The company also operates terminals in Mobile, Melvin, and Moundville.JVC America, Inc. operates an optical discreplication and packaging plant in Tuscaloosa.

The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company operates a large plant in Gadsden that employs about 1,400 people. It has been in operation since 1929.

Construction of an Airbus A320 family aircraft assembly plant in Mobile was formally announced by Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier from the Mobile Convention Center on July 2, 2012. The plans include a $600 million factory at the Brookley Aeroplex for the assembly of the A319, A320 and A321 aircraft. Construction began in 2013, with plans for it to become operable by 2015 and produce up to 50 aircraft per year by 2017.The assembly plant is the company's first factory to be built within the United States.It was announced on February 1, 2013 that Airbus had hired Alabama-based Hoar Construction to oversee construction of the facility.

TOURISM

An estimated 20 million tourists visit the state each year. Over 100,000 of these are from other countries, including from Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. In 2006, 22.3 million tourists spent $8.3 billion providing an estimated 162,000 jobs in the state.Some of the most popular areas include the Rocket City of Huntsville, the beaches along the Gulf, and the state's capitol in Montgomery.

BANKING

Alabama has the headquarters of Regions Financial Corporation, BBVA Compass, Superior Bancorp and the former Colonial Bancgroup. Birmingham-based Compass Banchshares was acquired by Spanish-based BBVA in September 2007, although the headquarters of BBVA Compass remains in Birmingham. In November 2006, Regions Financial completed its merger with AmSouth Bancorporation, which was also headquartered in Birmingham. SouthTrust Corporation, another large bank headquartered in Birmingham, was acquired by Wachovia in 2004 for $14.3 billion.

The city still has major operations for Wachovia and its now post-operating bank Wells Fargo, which includes a regional headquarters, an operations center campus and a $400 million data center. Nearly a dozen smaller banks are also headquartered in the Birmingham, such as Superior Bancorp, ServisFirst and New South Federal Savings Bank. Birmingham also serves as the headquarters for several large investment management companies, including Harbert Management Corporation.

ALABAMA COUNTIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Alabama has 67 counties. Each county has its own elected legislative branch, usually called the county commission. It also has limited executive authority in the county. Because of the constraints of the Alabama Constitution, only seven counties (Jefferson, Lee, Mobile, Madison, Montgomery, Shelby, and Tuscaloosa) in the state have limited home rule. Instead, most counties in the state must lobby the Local Legislation Committee of the state legislature to get simple local policies approved, ranging from waste disposal to land use zoning. The cumbersome process results in local jurisdictions being unable to manage their problems, and the state legislators are buried in local county issues.

The state legislature has retained power over local governments by refusing to pass a constitutional amendment establishing home rule for counties, as recommended by the 1973 Alabama Constitutional Commission.[186]Legislative delegations retain certain powers over each county. United States Supreme Court decisions in Baker v. Carr (1964) required that both houses have districts established on the basis of population, and redistricted after each census, in order to implement the principle of "one man, one vote". Before that, each county was represented by one state senator, leading to underrepresentation in the state senate for more urbanized, populous counties.

"The lack of home rule for counties in Alabama has resulted in the proliferation of local legislation permitting counties to do things not authorized by the state constitution. Alabama's constitution has been amended more than 700 times, and almost one-third of the amendments are local in nature, applying to only one county or city. A significant part of each legislative session is spent on local legislation, taking away time and attention of legislators from issues of statewide importance.

On November 9, 2011, Jefferson County, which was $4 billion in debt at the time, declared bankruptcy. This is the second-largest Chapter 9 (municipal) bankruptcy in the United States, after the Detroit bankruptcy. Jefferson County emerged from bankruptcy in December 2013 following the approval of a bankruptcy plan by the United States bankruptcy court for the Northern District of Alabama.

Alabama is an alcoholic beverage control state, meaning that the state government holds a monopoly on the sale of alcohol. The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board controls the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages in the state. Twenty-five of the 67 counties are "dry counties" which ban the sale of alcohol, and there are many dry municipalities even in counties which permit alcohol sales.

Rank County Population
(2010 Census)
Seat Largest city
1 Jefferson 658,466 Birmingham Birmingham
2 Mobile 412,992 Mobile Mobile
3 Madison 334,811 Huntsville Huntsville
4 Montgomery 229,363 Montgomery Montgomery
5 Shelby 195,085 Columbiana Hoover (part)
Alabaster
6 Tuscaloosa 194,656 Tuscaloosa Tuscaloosa
7 Baldwin 182,265 Bay Minette Daphne
8 Lee 140,247 Opelika Auburn
9 Morgan 119,490 Decatur Decatur
10 Calhoun 118,572 Anniston Anniston
11 Etowah 104,303 Gadsden Gadsden
12 Houston 101,547 Dothan Dothan
13 Marshall 93,019 Guntersville Albertville
14 Lauderdale 92,709 Florence Florence
15 St. Clair 83,593 Ashville &
Pell City
Pell City

During Reconstruction following the American Civil War, Alabama was occupied by federal troops of the Third Military District under General John Pope. In 1874, the political coalition of white Democrats known as the Redeemers took control of the state government from the Republicans, in part by suppressing the African-American vote through violence, fraud and intimidation.

After 1890, a coalition of White Democratic politicians passed laws to segregate and disenfranchise African American residents, a process completed in provisions of the 1901 constitution. Provisions which disenfranchised African Americans resulted in excluding many poor Whites. By 1941 more Whites than African Americans had been disenfranchised: 600,000 to 520,000. The total effects were greater on the African-American community, as almost all of its citizens were disfranchised and relegated to separate and unequal treatment under the law.

From 1901 through the 1960s, the state did not redraw election districts as population grew and shifted within the state during urbanization and industrialization of certain areas. As counties were the basis of election districts, the result was a rural minority that dominated state politics through nearly three-quarters of the century, until a series of federal court cases required redistricting in 1972 to meet equal representation.

Alabama state politics gained nationwide and international attention in the 1950s and 1960s during the American Civil Rights Movement, when Whites bureaucratically, and at times, violently resisted protests for electoral and social reform. Democrat George Wallace, the state's only four-term governor, was a controversial figure who vowed to maintain segregation. Only after passage of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 did African Americans regain the ability to exercise suffrage, among other civil rights. In many jurisdictions, they continued to be excluded from representation by at-large electoral systems, which allowed the majority of the population to dominate elections. Some changes at the county level have occurred following court challenges to establish single-member districts that enable a more diverse representation among county boards.

In 2007, the Alabama Legislature passed, and Republican Governor Bob Riley signed a resolution expressing "profound regret" over slavery and its lingering impact. In a symbolic ceremony, the bill was signed in the Alabama State Capitol, which housed Congress of the Confederate States of America.

In 2010, Republicans won control of both houses of the legislature for the first time in 136 years, after a nearly complete realignment of political parties, who represent different visions in the 21st century.

EDUCATION

Public primary and secondary education in Alabama is under the purview of the Alabama State Board of Education as well as local oversight by 67 county school boards and 60 city boards of education. Together, 1,496 individual schools provide education for 744,637 elementary and secondary students.

Public school funding is appropriated through the Alabama Legislature through the Education Trust Fund. In FY 2006–2007, Alabama appropriated $3,775,163,578 for primary and secondary education. That represented an increase of $444,736,387 over the previous fiscal year. In 2007, over 82 percent of schools made adequate yearly progress (AYP) toward student proficiency under the National No Child Left Behind law, using measures determined by the state of Alabama.

While Alabama's public education system has improved in recent decades, it lags behind in achievement compared to other states. According to U.S. Census data, Alabama's high school graduation rate—75%—is the fourth lowest in the U.S. (after Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi).The largest educational gains were among people with some college education but without degrees.

Alabama's programs of higher education include 14 four-year public universities, two-year community colleges, and 17 private, undergraduate and graduate universities. In the state are four medical schools (as of fall 2015) (University of Alabama School of Medicine, University of South Alabama and Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine and The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine - Auburn Campus), two veterinary colleges (Auburn University and Tuskegee University), a dental school (University of Alabama School of Dentistry), an optometry college (University of Alabama at Birmingham), two pharmacy schools (Auburn University and Samford University), and five law schools (University of Alabama School of Law, Birmingham School of Law, Cumberland School of Law, Miles Law School, and the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law). Public, post-secondary education in Alabama is overseen by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education. Colleges and universities in Alabama offer degree programs from two-year associate degrees to a multitude of doctoral level programs.

 
William J. Samford Hall at Auburn University in Auburn

The largest single campus is the University of Alabama, located in Tuscaloosa, with 33,602 enrolled for fall 2012.Troy University was the largest institution in the state in 2010, with an enrollment of 29,689 students across four Alabama campuses (Troy, Dothan, Montgomery, and Phenix City), as well as sixty learning sites in seventeen other states and eleven other countries. The oldest institutions are the public University of North Alabama in Florence and the Catholic Church-affiliated Spring Hill College in Mobile, both founded in 1830.

Accreditation of academic programs is through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) as well as other subject-focused national and international accreditation agencies such as the Association for Biblical Higher Education(ABHE),the Council on Occupational Education (COE), and the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).

According to the 2011 U.S. News & World Report, Alabama had three universities ranked in the top 100 Public Schools in America (University of Alabama at 31, Auburn University at 36, and University of Alabama at Birmingham at 73).

According to the 2012 U.S. News & World Report, Alabama had four tier 1 universities (University of Alabama, Auburn University, University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of Alabama in Huntsville).

 Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Governor Robert Bentley
53rd Governor of Alabama

Click for Cabinet of the State of Alabama,USA

 

 

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