Wikijunior:North America/United States/Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southern 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.
The French founded the first settlement in the state in 1702. In 1819 Alabama was the twenty-second state admitted to the union. Alabama was the new frontier in the 1820s and 1830s. Settlers rapidly arrived to take advantage of fertile soils. Planters brought slaves with them, and traders brought in more from the Upper South as the cotton plantations expanded. The economy of the central "Black Belt" featured large cotton plantations whose owners built their wealth on the labor of enslaved African Americans. It was named for the dark, fertile soil. According to the 1860 census, enslaved Africans made up 45% of the state's population.
In 1861 Alabama separated from the union and joined the Confederate States of America. Although there were not many battles fought in the state, Alabama contributed about 120,000 soldiers to the Civil War. All the slaves were freed by 1865. Following Reconstruction, Alabama was readmitted to the Union in 1868.
Alabama is the 30th largest state in the United States with 52,423 square miles (135,775 square kilometers) of total area. The climate of Alabama is described as temperate with an average annual temperature of 64 F (18 C). Temperatures tend to be warmer in the southern part of state because of how close it is to the Gulf of Mexico. Northern parts of the state tend to be cooler because they are closer to the Appalachian Mountains. Most of the time, Alabama has very hot summers with mild winters.
Alabama is unofficially nicknamed the Yellowhammer State, which is also the name of the state bird. Alabama is also known as the "Heart of Dixie". The state tree is the Longleaf Pine, the state flower is the Camellia. The capital of Alabama is Montgomery, and the largest city by population is Birmingham. The largest city by total land area is Huntsville. The oldest city is Mobile.