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Alabama in the 19th century


Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne
Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne

In 1800 nearly all of Alabama north of 31° north latitude was still controlled by Native Americans, but that soon changed. After the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the federal government built the Federal Road to connect the new territory with the national capital at Washington, D.C. The road ran through Creek territory from Athens, Georgia, to Fort Stoddert, north of Mobile. For the first time, access from the east was relatively easy. Settlers came to Alabama by the thousands, further crowding the Native Americans. On June 18, 1812, the War of 1812 broke out between the United States and Britain. Spain let the British Navy operate from Florida, which is why Wilkinson captured Mobile. The Upper or Northern Creek, angered at the Americans intruding on their land, took the British side.

On August 30, 1813, an Upper Creek war party attacked and overran Fort Mims, the stockaded home of Sam Mims, where frontier settlers and mixed-blood families had gathered for protection from Upper Creek marauders. About 250 people were killed at Fort Mims, although rumor and newspaper reports doubled the figure. American militias along the frontier rallied, and the Tennessee Volunteers under General Andrew Jackson moved south and destroyed Creek villages. On March 27, 1814, Jackson’s forces decisively defeated the Upper Creek at the battle of Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa. They were forced to sign a treaty with Jackson surrendering part of their land. Over the next five years the Creek and their allies were forced to cede much more land in central and southern Alabama. "USA" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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