Alabama is one of the 50 states in the US, located in the southeastern United States between Mississippi and Georgia.
It borders Tennessee in the north along the 35th parallel north, and Florida in the south, a small lobe of Alabama’s
southwestern land reaches the Gulf of Mexico.
For thousands of years, indigenous peoples had lived along the rivers in what is now Alabama.
The first Europeans who visited the area were Spanish explorers in the mid 16th century.
A century and a half later, the country was colonized by settlers from France, who founded the
first European settlement in Old Mobile (Fort Louis de La Louisiane).
The region became part of Britain in 1763 and passed to the US in 1783. On 14th December 1819,
Alabama became the 22nd state to join the Union
The state occupies an area of 135,767 km² (52,420 sq mi),
making it somewhat larger than Greece (131,957 km²). Compared with other US states by area,
Alabama is six times larger than New Jersey, but it would fit into Texas about five times.
Nearly 70% of Alabama’s landscape is covered by forest.
Alabama’s landscape offers five major physiographic regions; all areas are sections of the far
greater geographic regions of the Eastern and Southeastern United States:
I. The Highland Rim section in the northwest and north-central Alabama is the southern portion of the Appalachian Highlands.
II. To the southeast of the Highland Rim rises the dissected tableland of the Cumberland Plateau
(aka Allegheny Plateau), the southern part of the Appalachian Plateau.
III. Further southeast stretches out the belt of the Appalachian Ridge and Valley,
a region with ridges along valleys in between, like the Red Mountain ridge that separates
the Jones Valley from the Shades Valley south of Birmingham (AL).
IV. Between the Ridge and Valley area and the Atlantic Seaboard fall line dominates the
Piedmont Upland Alabama’s landscape, a triangular shaped area with rolling hills
in the central eastern part of the state.
V. The Coastal Plain province of Alabama is the largest geographic region (about 60%) in the state.
It is a mostly flat region, but here and there, it offers some change in the landscape,
rounded and eroded hills, cuestas, and Flatwoods; and the are the floodplains
of the Alabama and Black Warrior rivers.
Principal rivers in Alabama are the Coosa River, which becomes the Alabama River,
which is then fed by its tributaries, the Tallapoosa, and the Cahaba rivers.
When the Tombigbee River joins the Alabama, the river changes its name again to Mobile River.
The Tennessee River, the largest tributary of the Ohio River, crosses Alabama in north.
The Chattahoochee River forms a section of Alabama’s border with Georgia.
The Black Warrior River empties the largest drainage area that lies entirely within Alabama.
Major lakes are Lake Guntersville, a reservoir along the Tennessee River; it is Alabama’s largest lake.
Wheeler Lake, Alabama’s second-largest lake, is a human-made lake along the Tennessee River.
Walter F. George Lake (aka Lake Eufaula) is a reservoir formed on the Chattahoochee
River along the state line between Alabama and Georgia.
Lake Martin is a reservoir along the Tallapoosa River, Pickwick Lake is another reservoir
along the Tennessee River, and Lewis Smith Lake, a barrier lake on the Sipsey
Fork of the Black Warrior River.
In the northeastern corner of the state is the Sand Mountain, a sandstone plateau,
part of the southern tip of the Appalachian mountain chain. The highest point in Alabama
is Mount Cheaha at 735.5 m (2,413 ft), located in Cheaha State Park.