Birmingham is located in north central Alabama in the foothills of the southern section of the Appalachian Mountains.
Capital of Jefferson County, it is the most populous city in the state. The economy is based on the iron and steel industry (iron and steel), and on the manufacture of tobacco and cotton. The commercial activities connected to the port are also relevant. A 17-meter-high iron statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of underground fires, towers over the city from the top of Red Mountain. Local attractions include the acclaimed Birmingham Museum of Art, with a prized Wedgwood collection. The elements of greatest appeal, however, are those linked to African American history. They are all located in the center. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute illustrates the local civil rights movement with period footage. On display there it is also the door to the cell where Martin Luther King Jr wrote the famous Letter from a Birmingham prison in which he argued that all individuals have the right to rebel against unjust laws. Down the street is the well-restored Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, in memory of four black girls killed by a Ku Klux Klan bomb in 1963. To the southeast, in the ancient Carver Theater, the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame organizes live concerts and remembers musicians such as Dinah Washington, Nat King Cole, WC Handy and Duke Ellington. In the northern suburbs, at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, homage is paid to African American athletes such as Joe Louis and Jesse Owens. The development of the area where Birmingham stands today was reached by a double railway connection (1870). At the intersection of the two railways, in 1871 the Elyton Lana1 Company founded the city which they called Birmingham from the name of the English steel center. The mining industry (iron and coal) that favored the establishment of steel production and the consequent development of the city experienced a progressive decline until 1974, when coal mining returned to play a role of primary importance in the economy.
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During the 1960s, Birmingham stood out among the cities of the southern United States in the battle against racial discrimination. In 1963 it was the scene of a large demonstration led by black leader Martin Luther King.
Huntsville – Located about 135km north of Birmingham, it is an aerospace research and development center; much of the population is employed in organizations such as the US Army’s missile research complex, NASA’s George C. Marshall Space Flight Center. Huntsville is home to the Army missile and munitions School, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, the Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, founded in 1875, and Oakwood College, founded in 1896.
Founded in 1805 by John Hunt, a veteran of the war of revolution, it was its capital from 1819 to 1820. Interesting are many buildings of the nineteenth century and the Alabama Space and Rocket Center.
Mobile is located in southwestern Alabama on the bay of the same name at the mouth of the Mobile River. Mobile is Alabama’s only seaport, and one of its major industrial and commercial centers, with a diverse industry. Tourism plays an important role in the city economy: the annual Azalea festival and the Mardi Gras carnival are among the best known events in the south. The numerous colonial houses of the city are open to the public. Fort Conde, a partly rebuilt French fort, oversees the Bay of Mobile. Battleship Alabama is docked there. The scenic drive along the bay touches two other ancient forts, Fort Morgan to the east and Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island, natural bird habitats. Mobile was founded in 1711, when some floods forced Jean Baptist Le Moyne, lord of Bienville, to move his colonial possessions from a hill on the Mobile River. The city flourished when it became the capital of French Louisiana, from 1711 to 1720, and was then ruled by the British from 1763 to 1780, when Bernardo de Calvez took over the city for Spain. In 1813 it was conquered by the United States and prospered as a port of arrival for river cargoes of cotton on Tombigbee and Alabama.
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Tourism has developed considerably in Alabama, based on the natural beauties of its territory such as the stretch of coast along the Gulf of Mexico. Hunters and fishermen are attracted by the wide opportunities that the country offers but many tourists also go to Alabama to visit places of historical importance, natural parks and large national forests. The most important museums of Alabama are the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts of the South, in Mobile, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and the Kennedy-Douglass House, in Florence. Numerous historic museum houses are also open to the public, in Mobile, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and the Black Belts. Anthropologists, folklorists and linguists have been interested in the cultural manifestations of the inhabitants of the mountainous area of the north of the state, where unique patterns of language and lexicon have developed and survive, and numerous legends, myths, superstitions, songs, and local stories.
Alabama has twenty-three public lakes, twenty-four state parks. Other places of tourist interest are the Museum of Florence, the Rocket and Space Museum of Alabama, the Sequoyah Caverns, DeSoto Falls,Little River Canyon, the First White House of the Confederacy, and the Birmingham and Montgomery Zoos. During the summers the Alabama Shakespeare Festival is celebrated in Anniston. The most popular sports in Alabama are baseball, basketball, American football. Native Alabama sportsmen include boxer Joe Louis, and athletes Jesse Owens and Percy Beard.