1519 - Alonzo Alvarez de Pi?eda of Spain explores Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Mexico, including Mobile Bay.
1528 - 1536 - Spaniard P?nfilo de Narv?ez fails in Florida Gulf Coast colonization attempt.
1539 - 1541 - Hernando de Soto explores Southeast, meeting Chief Tuskaloosa (Tascaluza) in Battle of Maubila (October 1540).
October 18: The largest Indian battle in North America occurs at the village of Mabila (or Mauvila) between Hernando de Soto's Spaniards and Chief Tuscaloosa's (or Tascaluza's) warriors. Accounts vary, but most agree that the Indian village and most of its more than 2,000 inhabitants were destroyed. The exact location of this battle has eluded researchers for centuries.
1559 -1561 - Don Trist?n de Luna fails to establish permanent Spanish colony on Alabama-Florida coast.
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.
January 6: Le Moyne brothers, Iberville and Bienville, establish French fort and settlement at Twenty-seven Mile Bluff; settlement and fort moved downriver to Mobile site, 1712.
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 - French Louisiana capital moved from Mobile west to Biloxi; then to New Orleans (1722).
1721- Africane sails into Mobile harbor with cargo of over 100 slaves.
1724 - French Code Noir extended from French West Indies to North American colonies, institutionalizing slavery in Mobile area.
1780 - Spanish capture Mobile during American Revolution and retain the West and East Floridas as part of war-ending treaty.
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.
Andrew Ellicott surveys the boundary between the United States and Spanish West Florida and places a stone north of Mobile to mark the 31st latitude.
1802 - Georgia formally cedes western claims for its southern boundary at the 31st parallel.
1803 - 1811 - Federal Road conceived and built connecting Milledgeville, Georgia to Fort Stoddert, 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.
1810 - West Florida, from Pearl River to the Mississippi, annexed by U.S. from Spain.
1811 - 1812 - Schools established in Mobile (Washington Academy 1811) and Huntsville (Green Academy 1812).
1811 - 1816 - Newspapers established in Mobile to the south (Sentinel May 11, 1811; Gazette 1812) and Huntsville to the north (Alabama Republican 1816).
1813 -1814 - Creek Indian War
July 27, 1813: Battle of Burnt Corn Creek
August 30, 1813: Fort Mims Massacre
December 1813: Battle of Holy Ground
March 1814: Battle of Horseshoe Bend
April,1813: U.S. annexed West Florida, from the Pearl River to the Perdido River, from Spain; Spanish surrender Mobile to American forces.
August 9,1814: The Treaty of Fort Jackson is finalized after warring Creeks, under the leadership of William Weatherford, aka Red Eagle, surrender to Gen. Andrew Jackson and cede their lands to the federal government. This event opened up half of the present state of Alabama to white settlement.
September,1814: British attack on Fort Bowyer on Mobile Point fails, prompting them to abandon plans to capture Mobile and turn towards New Orleans.
February,1815: British forces take Fort Bowyer on return from defeat at New Orleans, then abandon upon learning that the war is over.
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 would remain a territory for over two years before becoming the 22nd state in December 1819.
Janurary 19: The first legislature of the Alabama Territory convenes at the Douglass Hotel in the territorial capital of St. Stephens. Attendance is sparse with twelve members of the House, representing seven counties, and only one member of the Senate conducting the business of the new territory.
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, located at the confluence of the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers, is designated by the territorial legislature as Alabama's state capital. Huntsville would serve for a short time as the temporary capital. The selection of Cahaba was a victory for the Coosa/Alabama River contingent, which won-out over a Tennessee/Tombigbee Rivers alliance group that wanted to place the capital at Tuscaloosa. The power struggle would continue between the two sections of the state; in 1826 the capital was moved to Tuscaloosa, but in 1847 it was moved to the Alabama River at Montgomery.
March 2, 1819: President Monroe signs the Alabama enabling act.
July 1819: Constitutional Convention meets in Huntsville. Constitution adopted with Cahaba selected as temporary seat of government for the new State.
September 20-21, 1819: The first general election for governor, members of the U.S. Congress, legislators, court clerks, and sheriffs is held as specified by the Constitution of 1819. Held on the third Monday and following Tuesday of September, the voters elected William Wyatt Bibb as the state's first governor.
October 25 through December 17, 1819: General Assembly meets in Huntsville until the Cahaba Capitol is constructed.
December 14, 1819: Alabama enters Union as 22nd state.
December--The Legislature charters Athens Female Academy, which later becomes Athens State University.
1825 - French general and American Revolution-hero, the Marquis de Lafayette, toured Alabama at Governor Israel Pickens' invitation.
1826 -Capitol moved to Tuscaloosa.
Tuscumbia Railway Company chartered by General Assembly; first two miles of track link Tuscumbia and Sheffield (1832).
LaGrange College chartered by the Legislature January 19, 1830; eventually becomes the University of North Alabama
1830 Federal Census:
Free black population=1,572
April 13: The University of Alabama formally opens its doors. Fifty-two students were accepted that first day. By the end of the session, the student body had swelled to nearly one hundred. The faculty was made up of four men including the Reverend Alva Woods who had been inaugurated president of the University on April 12, 1831.
Bell Factory (Madison County), state's first textile mill, chartered by General Assembly.
Alabama's first railroad, the Tuscumbia Railway, opens, running the two miles from Tuscumbia Landing at the Tennessee River to Tuscumbia. The railway was the first phase of a planned railroad to Decatur, forty-three miles to the east. That railroad was needed in order for river traffic to avoid the dangerous and often unnavigable Muscle Shoals of the Tennessee River.
1833 -In a spectacle seen across the Southeast, a fantastic meteor shower causes this night to be known as ?the night stars fell on Alabama.? The shower created great excitement across the state and for years was used to date events and became part of Alabama folklore. It also became the title of a famous book and song in the 1930s. Jimmy Buffet sang "Stars Fell on Alabama" at the January 1999 inauguration of Governor Don Siegelman.
Daniel Pratt established cotton gin factory north of Montgomery; his company town, Prattville (founded 1839), became a manufacturing center in the antebellum South.
1835 - 1836
Alabama gold rush, concentrated in east-central hill country.
Dr. James Marion Sims, "the Father of Modern Gynecology," established a medical practice in Mt. Meigs, then in nearby Montgomery (1840), before moving on to New York in 1853 to found the renowned Woman's Hospital.
1836 - 1837
Second Creek War (Seminole War).
Battle of Hobdy's Bridge last Indian battle in Alabama (1837).
1840 -State population=590,756.
1840 Federal Census:
Free black population=2,039
January 28: Montgomery is selected as capital of Alabama by the State Legislature on the 16th ballot. Montgomery won the final vote largely because of promises of Montgomery city leaders to provide $75,000 for a new capitol and the rise of the prominence of the Black Belt region of the state.
1850 Federal Census:
Free black population=2,265
Cotton production in bales=564,429
Corn production in bushels=28,754,048
Number of manufacturing establishments=1,026.
1852 -Alabama Insane Hospital established at Tuscaloosa (renamed Alabama Bryce Insane Hospital upon death of its first director, Peter Bryce, 1892).
1854 -Alabama Public School Act creates first state-wide education system by establishing an office of State Superintendent of Education.
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.
State School for Deaf, Dumb, and Blind established at Talledega.
1860 Federal Census:
Free black population=2,690
Cotton production in bales=989,955
Corn production in bushels=33,226,282
Number of manufacturing establishments=1,459.
January 11: 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 18: 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: Montgomery serves as C.S.A. capital until move to Richmond, Virginia.
March 11: 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.
1861 - 1865 - 194 military land events and 8 naval engagements occurred within the boundaries of Alabama 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).
1865 September 12
New Alabama Constitution adopted to comply with Presidential Reconstruction dictates to rejoin Union; rejected by U.S. Congress.
1865 December 6
The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S Constitution is ratified, thus officially abolishing slavery.
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.
1870 Federal Census:
Cotton production in bales=429,482
Corn production in bushels=16,977,948
Number of manufacturing establishments=2,188.
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.
1874 - State elections return conservative Democrat "Bourbon Redeemers" to political power.
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.
1880 - State population= 1,262,505.
1880 Federal Census
White population= 662,185
African-American population= 600,103
Urban population= 68,518
Rural population= 1,193,987
Cotton production on bales= 699,654
Corn production in bushels= 25,451,278
Number of manufacturing establishments= 2,070.
February 10: 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.
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.
State population= 1,513,401.
1890 Federal Census:
White population= 833,718
African-American population= 678,489
Urban population= 152,235
Rural population= 1,361,166
Cotton production in bales= 915,210
Corn production in bushels= 30,072,161
Number of manufacturing establishments= 2,977.
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.
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.
State population= 1,828,697.
1900 Federal Census:
White population= 1,001,152
African-American population= 827,307
Urban population= 216,714
Rural population= 1,611,983
Cotton production in bales= 1,106,840
Corn production in bushels= 35,053,047
Number of manufacturing establishments= 5,602.
January 31: Tallulah Bankhead, star of stage, screen, and radio in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, is born in Huntsville. The daughter of U.S.Congressman William B. Bankhead, Tallulah was most famous for her flamboyant lifestyle, throaty voice, and stage role in The Little Foxes (1939) and her part in the film Lifeboat (1943). (There is some question of the exact birthdate; this is the most generally accepted).
March 2: Trustees of the Alabama Department of Archives and History meet in Gov. William J. Samford's office to organize the nation's first state archival agency. Charged with, among other responsibilities, "the care and custody of official archives [and] the collection of materials bearing upon the history of the State," the department was housed in the capitol until 1940. In that year it moved across Washington Avenue to the War Memorial Building, which had been constructed for the Archives.
New state Constitution ratified, disfranchising substantial numbers of black and white voters (November).
November 29: The New York Medical Record publishes an account of Dr. Luther Leonidas Hill performing the first open heart surgery in the western hemisphere when he sutured a knife wound in a young boy's heart. Dr. Hill was the father of Alabama politician and U.S. senator Lister Hill.
1904 - Colonel William Crawford Gorgas of Alabama begins elimination of scourges of yellow fever and malaria in Panama Canal Zone.
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.
State population= 2,138,093.
1910 Federal Census:
White population= 1,228,832
African-American population= 908,282
Urban population= 370,431
Rural population= 1,767,662
Cotton production in bales= 1,129,527
Corn production in bushels= 30,695,737
Number of manufacturing establishments= 3,398.
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.
State population= 2,348,174.
1920 Federal Census:
White population= 1,447,031
African-American population= 900,652
Urban population= 509,317
Rural population= 1,838,857
Cotton production in bales= 718,163
Corn production in bushels= 43,699,100
Number of manufacturing establishments= 3,654.
1928 - Convict lease system ended.
State population= 2,646,248.
1930 Federal Census:
White population= 1,700,844
African-American population= 944,834
Urban population= 744,273
Rural population= 1,901,975
Cotton production in bales= 1,312,963
Corn production in bushels= 35,683,874
Number of manufacturing establishments= 2,848.
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.
August 3: Lawrence County native Jesse Owens wins his first gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Owens went on to win four gold medals in Berlin, but German leader Adolf Hitler snubbed the star athlete because he was black. Today visitors can learn more about Owens at the Jesse Owens Memorial Park and Museum in Oakville, Alabama.
William B. Bankhead elected Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives.
1937 - State sales tax instituted to help fund education.
Alabama Senator Hugo Black appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt to the U.S. Supreme Court.
State population= 2,832,961.
1940 Federal Census:
White population= 1,849,097
African-American population= 983,290
Urban population= 855,941
Rural population= 1,977,020
Cotton production in bales= 772,711
Corn production in bushels= 31,028,109
Number of manufacturing establishments= 2,052.
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.
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.
State population= 3,061,743.
1950 Federal Census:
White population= 2,079,591
African-American population= 979,617
Urban population= 1,228,209
Rural population= 1,833,534
Cotton production in bales= 824,290
Corn production in bushels= 40,972,309
Number of manufacturing establishments (1954)= 3,893.
1954 - Democratic nominee for state Attorney General, Albert Patterson, murdered in Phenix City, prompting clean-up of the "wickedest city in America."
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.
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.
September 8: The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville is dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Gov. John Patterson and Werner von Braun, director of the space flight center, were in attendance as was Mrs. Marshall who unveiled a bust in honor of her husband.
State population= 3,266,740.
1960 Federal Census:
White population= 2,283,609
African-American population= 980,271
Urban population= 1,689,417
Rural population= 1,577,323
Cotton production in bales= 683,491
Corn production in bushels= 62,580,000
Number of manufacturing establishments (1963)= 4,079.
May 1: Harper Lee of Monroeville wins the Pulitzer Prize for To Kill A Mockingbird, her first, and only, novel. The gripping tale set in 1930s Alabama became an international bestseller and was made into a major Hollywood motion picture starring Gregory Peck.
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.
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.
February 15: "The man with the velvet voice," Nat King Cole dies in Santa Monica, California. Born the son of a Baptist minister in Montgomery in 1919, Cole sold over 50 million records and became the first African-American male with a weekly network television series.
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.
State population= 3,444,165.
1970 Federal Census:
White population= 2,533,831
African-American population= 903,467
Urban population= 2,011,941
Rural population= 1,432,224
Cotton production in bales= 507,000
Corn production in bushels= 12,535,000.
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.
1980 Federal Census:
Cotton production in bales=275,000
Corn production in bushels=15,000,000.
1981 - Country music group Alabama selected "Vocal Group of the Year" by Academy of Country Music; went on to garner fifth consecutive "Entertainer of the Year" award from the Country Music Association (1986).
1985 - Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway opens.
1990 Federal Census:
Cotton production in bales=375,000
Corn production in bushels=13,920,000.
1993 - Governor Guy Hunt, in second term as first Republican governor of the state since Reconstruction, convicted of misuse of public funds and removed from office.
1995 - Alabama's Heather Whitestone serves as first Miss America with a disability.
1998 - Anniston native Dr. David Satcher is appointed Surgeon General of the United States.
2000 Federal Census:
2000 - Etowah County Circuit Judge Roy Moore is elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Moore rose to national attention earlier when he was sued by the ACLU for displaying the Ten Commandments in his courtroom.
Birmingham native Condoleeza Rice is appointed National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush. She is the first woman to occupy that postion.
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.
Birmingham native Vonetta Flowers and teammate Jill Bakken win a gold medal in bobsledding at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Flowers is the first African American to win a gold medal in a winter olympics.
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