According to acronymmonster, Alabama is a Southeastern state of the United States of America. In the colonial period it was explored and contested by the Spaniards, English and French until the Peace of Paris (1763) largely assigned it to the United Kingdom. From 1784 to 1814 it was part of Spanish Florida. Passed to the United States, it became its twenty-second state in 1819. Freed by the Indians thanks to the campaigns of A. Jackson, it was essentially a frontier region, where, however, cotton plantations developed rapidly. In 1861 he broke with the Washington government and paid a heavy price in blood. He was in the Union in 1868, but did not recover economic strength until the Second World War. Depopulated by the great emigration of African Americans to the North, it remained under an elite racist and conservative rural, gathered around the Democratic Party. The industrial revival in wartime and the development of the cities subsequently changed the party profile, pushing the state towards a new loyalty to the republicans.
Population. – The original inhabitants of Alabama were mostly Indians of the Cherokee and Choctaw tribes. The territory was crossed and explored by Hernando De Soto in 1540, but the Whites did not settle there until 1702, when a French colony was founded in the Mobile bay. During the French (1700-1763), English (1763-1783) and Spanish (in the southernmost part: 1783-1819) dominations, the white population was scattered, and confined near the Bay of Mobile and its tributaries. The 1820 census found just 127,901 residents between Whites and Negroes (slaves), not counting the Indians. In 1920 the number grew to 2,348,174, or 47.6 per square kilometer. The proportion of the urban population (i.e. that of cities with more than 2500 inhabitants) was zero in 1820, 11.9% in 1900 and 21.7% in 1920. The most populous cities in 1920 were Birmingham (railway and steel center) with 178,806 inhabitants; Mobile, which is the only port, with 60,777 inhabitants; Montgomery, the capital, with 43,464 inhabitants; Bessemer, center of iron working, near Birmingham (18,674 residents); Anniston (17.734 residents); Selma (15,589 residents); Gadsden (14,737 residents), And Tuscaloosa, seat of the university (11,996 residents). In all of these cities the population has grown after 1920, while the rural population does not show much change. In 1920 the population was divided as follows: Whites 61.6%: Negroes 38.4%: Indians, Chinese, Japanese, etc., less than 0.1%. Of the Whites, just 1.2% were born outside the United States. Among the European element, the Italians are the most numerous (2732 in 1920); they are mainly concentrated in Birmingham and its county,
The percentage of illiteracy has decreased with the increase in population density and the percentage of adults.
Illiteracy has always been greater among Negroes than among Whites. In 1880, 20.4% of adult Whites and 84.1% of adult Negroes were illiterate, but in 1920 these figures fell to 8.2% and 38.8%, respectively. All children are obliged to attend elementary school. In addition to many elementary schools, Alabama has several university colleges, normal schools, a polytechnic (in Auburn). As for religion, most Alabama people follow Protestantism.
Economic life. – More than half of Alabama workers are engaged in agriculture and related industries. The 1920 census gave a total of 908,216 persons employed, of which 504,645 in agriculture, 35,639 in mines, 150,711 in manufacturing, 42,085 in communications and transport, 50,089 in commerce, 70,812 in domestic services, and other minor figures for various occupations.
However, the real agricultural occupations go from year to year losing importance in the face of industry. In 1920 56.9% of the population still lived in the countryside, but now the ratio is probably less than 50%. Farms in 1920 occupied 59.7% of the state area and cultivated land 30.2%. Indigenous Whites cultivated 62.4% of the farms, Immigrant Whites 0.4%, Negroes 37.2%. It may be observed that the farms of the immigrant Whites are smaller and of greater value than those of the indigenous Whites; and this seems to indicate that the former cultivate more intensively, as is also generally the case in Europe in comparison with America. The intensity of agricultural crops, or the value of the products relative to the area, is however mainly due to the proximity of the cities.
The different species of domestic cattle in Alabama in 1928 were distributed as follows: 89,000 horses, 321,000 mules, 1,509,000 cattle, 982,000 pigs, 66,000 sheep. The main agricultural products, in 1919, in order of value were: cotton (including seed for oil extraction), maize, hay, peanuts, yams, sugar cane, sorghum, Irish potatoes, oats and peaches. The value of all the products was US $ 304,348,638, or US $ 7650 per hectare. A special agricultural census made in 1925 showed a decrease since 1920 in the number of plantations (especially those of Negroes) and in their average size, but the value of the farms remains roughly the same, if we consider the value of the dollar. The number of horses, cattle, sheep, pigs has decreased, while that of mules and poultry has increased. These changes are due in part to a parasite of cotton that reduced its production, in part to the emigration of Negroes to the North, after European immigration was reduced, and in part also to the rapid substitution of cars for horses., with a consequent decrease in the demand for grain and hay.
The most important mineral product of Alabama, as already mentioned, is coal, which is bituminous; it covers an area of approximately 21,000 sq km. under the Carboniferous sandstones, in the northern half of the state, and the annual extraction increased, between 1840 and 1923, from 858 tons to over 18 million tons. The value of the product in 1923 was $ 44,756,301. Iron ore follows in importance, of which Alabama produced 6,150,000 tons in 1923, valued at $ 15,540,198. Other important products are limestone, sand and gravels, marble, clay and kaolin, graphite, bauxite, sandstone, mica and mineral waters. There is no oil in commercial quantity, but natural gas was obtained a few years ago, and in considerable quantity, at Fayette. Secondary or derivative products of considerable importance are coke, Portland cement, bricks.
The Alabama factories, in 1919, constituted an investment of 455,592,733 dollars; they employed 120,889 people, used 628,376 HP, paid 117,633,205 dollars in wages, and produced a value of 492,730,835 dollars, of which 192,066,605 represented the added value of the various industrial processes.
The main manufacturing cities are Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, Gadsden, Anniston, Bessemer and Selma. The main industries, in relation to the number of people employed, are: factories of iron and steel objects (i.e. pipes, rails, etc.), cotton goods (including knitwear), coke and by-products of coke, naval equipment (turpentine and white spirit), foundries and machinery, seed oil, bricks and tiles, fertilizers.
Although there are hundreds of miles of navigable rivers in Alabama, river traffic has decreased as in other states due to the construction of railways and roads. There are about km. 8800 of railways, of which about km. 320 double track. Public roads have improved, since cars have become commonplace, and now there are nearly miles. 1000’s of paved roads, which surround and connect the major cities, and even more are covered with gravel, of which Alabama has vast deposits. The number of automobiles and other motor vehicles in 1925 was 194,580, or roughly one for every three families.