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Alabama

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 U.S. states. At nearly 1,500 miles (2,400 km), Alabama has one of the nation’s longest navigable inland waterways.

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; the largest city by land area is Huntsville. The oldest city is Mobile, founded by French colonists in 1702 as the capital of French Louisiana.

From the American Civil War until World War II, Alabama, like many states in the southern U.S., suffered economic hardship, in part because of its continued dependence on agriculture. Like other southern states, Alabama legislators disenfranchised African Americans and many poor whites at the turn of the century. Despite the growth of major industries and urban centers, white rural interests dominated the state legislature from 1901 to the 1960s; urban interests and African Americans were markedly under-represented. Following World War II, Alabama grew as the state’s economy changed from one primarily based on agriculture to one with diversified interests. The state economy in the 21st century is based on management, automotive, finance, manufacturing, aerospace, mineral extraction, healthcare, education, retail, and technology
The European-American naming of the Alabama River and state was derived 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: Garcilaso de la Vega used Alibamo, while the Knight of Elvas and Rodrigo Ranjel wrote Alibamu and Limamu, respectively, in transliterations of 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 name 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 not found any evidence to support such a translation.

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.

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