The present-day state of Alabama was originally inhabited by various indigenous peoples.
Visible traces of their occupancy, which spanned nearly 10, years, may be seen at Dust Cave, a Paleo-Indian site; at Russell Cave, a site dating to the Archaic period; and at Moundsville, a Mississippian site nestled in a series of large mounds that snake across the land. The first known European explorers were Spaniards, who arrived at Mobile Bay in The main thrust of exploration came inwhen Hernando de Soto and his army of about men entered the interior from the valley of the Tennessee River to search for gold.
His expedition, which crisscrossed the area extensively, included the first European sighting of the Mississippi River and added greatly to European knowledge of southern indigenous cultures; it also opened the whole region to European settlement. A battle with the warriors of Choctaw chief Tuscaloosahowever, resulted in the slaughter of several thousand Native Americans in the area, one of the bloodiest single encounters between Europeans and indigenous peoples in North America.
De Soto ultimately found no gold, and the Spaniards who followed him failed to establish settlements in Alabama. The ensuing years were characterized by struggles among the French, British, and Spanish for control of the region, often in shifting alliances with the native peoples of the area.
In the French founded the first permanent European settlement in Alabama, at Fort Louis, north of present-day Mobile. The British had also made a of trips to the region from the Carolinas, but the French settlements—part of a string of forts arcing southward from Canada and deed to contain the British—were more numerous.
Port Dauphin, on Dauphin Islandreceived the first Africans when a slave ship landed there in The Treaty of Paris gave to Britain what was then the only settled part of Alabama, the Mobile area.
In another Treaty of Pariswhich officially ended the American RevolutionSpain gained Mobile, and the new United States received the rest of the territory now constituting the state. Then, inthe United States, claiming Mobile as a part of the Louisiana Purchase ofdrove the Spanish out of the area and established authority throughout the state.
In the meantime, the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw had ceded some land by In Gen. The subsequent influx of white settlers and the institution of the cotton economy caused a rapid removal of the Native Americans to the west.
The Creek cession of virtually ended the claims of indigenous peoples to territorial rights in Alabama. Alabama was established as a separate territory in and became a state in By there wereresidents, nearly one-fifth of them slaves, and cotton was the principal cash crop.
Until the Civil War, domestic politics centred on land policy, the banking system, the question of slavery, and the removal of indigenous peoples. The state suffered severely for almost a decade in the economic depression that followed the panic of financial crisis.
Railro, cotton manufacturing, and some mining were begun, though such efforts often suffered from a shortage of capital. The vast majority of investment remained in cotton and slaves. Fast Facts.
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History of Alabama Earliest peoples The present-day state of Alabama was originally inhabited by various indigenous peoples. European rivalry, settlement, and growth The first known European explorers were Spaniards, who arrived at Mobile Bay in Hernando de Soto, engraving by J. Load Next .