Unit Study Supplement: Alabama Facts, U.S. 22nd State
Did you know that the first rocket that took humans to the moon was built by workers from Alabama, making Huntsville,AL the rocket capital of the world? Or that the state’s official nut is the pecan? Perhaps, you might find it interesting to know that Alabama is Helen Keller’s birthplace?
With Time4Learning’s series of United States unit study supplements you can delve into Alabama facts and information, geography, educational activities, field trip ideas and more. You can also download our list of PreK-12 interactive lessons that align with your study of interesting facts about Alabama.
|Became a State||December 14th, 1819|
|Order it Joined the Union||22nd state|
|State Nickname||Yellowhammer State, Heart of Dixie, Cotton State|
|State Motto||“We dare defend our rights.”|
Historical Facts About Alabama
The native tribes of Alabama include the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Koasati. In Choctaw “Alabama” means “thicket-clearers” or “vegetation-gatherers.” Alabama was first explored by Europeans from Spain on an expedition by Hernando de Soto in 1540. 160 years later, the French founded a settlement in Old Mobile. Alabama was under French control for 61 years as part of their La Louisiane territory. When the French lost to British forces in the Seven Years’ War Alabama became part of British West Florida.
In 1810 the estimated population was 10,000, but swelled to 300,000 by 1830. By 1860 the population was in the 900,000’s, of which nearly half were enslaved African-Americans. On January 11th, 1861 Alabama seceded from the Union and was an independent republic for a few days before joining the Confederacy. The capital of the confederacy was briefly located in Montgomery, AL. Alabama was heavily involved in the Civil War, although few battles were fought in the state.
Alabama’s enslaved African-Americans were granted freedom by the 13th amendment in 1865, although Alabama wasn’t restored to the Union until 1868. Unfortunately, the struggle for African-Americans did not end with this. In 1901 the Alabama constitution imposed Jim Crow laws which segregated African-Americans. Continued racial segregation, brutality, lynching and agricultural depression inspired many people to migrate out of Alabama. Between 1910 – 1920 the population growth rate dropped by nearly half. At the same time of this great migration, Birmingham Alabama attracted many rural people with industrial jobs. By 1920 Birmingham was the U.S’ 36th largest city.
Today, Alabama is invested in space exploration, education, health care, banking, mineral extraction, steel production and agriculture.
In the timeline below, you can learn more Alabama history facts:
The Russell Cave National Monument has evidence of Native American presence since 10,000 B.C. The cave was a location of shelter, while the nearby forest provided food and resources. The location has been inhabited continuously since that time.
Hernando de Soto explores the Southeast encountering the Native American Chief Tuskaloosa. The largest Native American battle occurs in 1540 between Chief Tuskaloosa’s warriors and deSoto’s troops. Accounts corroborate that Tuskaloosa’s entire village of over 2,000 was destroyed. The location is said to be Mabila or Mauvila, though the exact location has eluded researchers until this day.
Brothers Iberville and Bienville LeMoyne establish a French settlement and fort at Twenty-Seven Mile Bluff.
The capital of French Louisiana is moved from Mobile to Biloxi, then to New Orleans.
Spanish forces capture Mobile during the American Revolution.
Schools are established in Mobile (Washington Academy 1811) and Huntsville (Green Academy 1812).
Native American forces battle Europeans in the Indian Creek War.
Alabama enters the Union as the 22nd state.
Alabama gold rush
Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a boarding white passenger.
Condoleezza Rice is appointed U.S Secretary of State.
Hurricane Katrina causes major damage along coastal areas on the Gulf.
Alabama Geography Facts
Can your homeschooler locate Alabama on this printable map of the United States? To enhance your unit study supplement, explore a map of the state, then download our printable Alabama map below and mark it with your child. Here are some facts you and your homeschooler may want to note about Alabama’s geography and unique features.
- The highest point is Mount Cheaha at 2,413 ft. It is located in the eastern part of the state, between Birmingham and the state’s border with Georgia.
- Northern Alabama is mountainous with the Tennessee river cutting a large valley. This area is full of creeks, streams, rivers and lakes.
- To the South, Alabama has 60 miles of coastline sandwiched between Mississippi and Florida.
- Alabama caves include Cathedral Caverns east of Huntsville, and Shelta Cave west of Montgomery.
- A 5 mile wide meteorite impact crater (Wetumpka Crater) is located in Elmore County, just north of Montgomery. The meteorite hit about 80 million years ago.
There are 67 counties in Alabama.
- The Appalachian Mountains extend from north-central Alabama up into Canada.
- Major rivers in Alabama include the Alabama, Chattahoochee, Conecuh, Mobile, Tennessee and Tombigbee. The Tombigbee river and Alabama river join together in the Southern part of the state near Mobile to merge with the Gulf of Mexico.
Alabama State Map
Download our FREE Alabama state map printable. Use it as a coloring page or use it to plot the state’s geographical features.
Activities for Children in Alabama
Whether you homeschool in the state of Alabama, or are just visiting, below is a list of field trip ideas that will help supplement the Alabama facts unit study. You’ll find everything from historical mining hikes to the largest indoor rock-climbing center in the Eastern U.S.
- U.S Space and Rocket Center (Huntsville) – Learn about the International Space Station and space shuttles through space travel simulators. There are rocket exhibits, artifacts and historical exhibits on the U.S’ achievements in space exploration. A few engineers from the original Apollo program are present and you can chat with them about their experiences and contributions to the space race.
- National Memorial for Peace and Justice (Montgomery) – Described by visitors as a sobering experience, this museum documents social injustices that happened, and in some places are still happening in different forms, to African Americans. The museum is dedicated to over 4,000 African Americans who were the victims of lynchings.
- Battleship USS Alabama (Mobile) – Marvel at the humongous battleship (over 12 decks), submarine and over 25 airplanes. Unique features include a flight simulator, exploring gun turrets and the brig. Several iconic tanks from World War II, Korea and the Vietnam war are in the tanks and artillery exhibit.
- Noccalula Falls (Gadsden) – The majestics falls are not the only attractions here! Don’t miss the creeks, trails, petting zoo, mini golf and botanical garden. Try riding the train that takes visitors on a tour of the park before heading out to explore on foot. The trails are marked for their elevation change which ranges from moderate to flat.
Alabama Freebies and Deals for Homeschoolers
- Cane Creek Nature Preserve (Tuscumbia) – Hike near waterfalls, canyons and old-growth forests. The preserve also includes majestic rock shelters and lookout points.
- Bartram Canoe Trail (Spanish Fort) – The trail winds through bottomland hardwood forests, cypress swamps, creeks and lakes. You can tackle many trails in one day or have many day trips here.
- Ruffner Mountain Mining History (Irondale) – Join a guided 3 hour hike through land that was home to the Sloss-Sheffield Mines. On this hike you will get to see mining relics and iron ore crushers. This hike is suitable for children 10 and older due to some slopes and inclines.
- Birmingham Boulders Indoor Rock Climbing (Birmingham) – The largest rock-climbing facility East of the Mississippi river. There is usually an entrance fee, but select nights are customer appreciation nights and entrance is free.
Alabama Learning Games for Children
Now that you have learned these Alabama facts and history, continue the fun with these free learning resources: