STATEHOOD: Alabama's birth as a territory and road to statehood began with a series of treaties and occupations involving, at various times, Great Britain, France, Spain and the United States of America. With the establishment of the Mississippi Territory in 1798, present-day Alabama began to take shape. The territory at first included land located approximately between the Chattahoochee and Mississippi rivers and between the 31� and 32� 28' north latitudes; most of the southern halves of Alabama and Mississippi. After the State of Georgia gave up its land claims in 1802, the territory was expanded north by Congress (1804) to the 35th parallel. The territory now included all of Alabama and Mississippi with the exception of the Mobile area, which was occupied by Spain. In 1812, Congress added the Mobile area to the Mississippi Territory claiming that it was part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase from France. Spain disagreed, but in 1813, the United States forcefully occupied the district with no resistance from Spain. [ Mississippi Territory ] Alabama was part of the Mississippi Territory until 1817 when the United States Congress divided the territory into two parts. The western part, Mississippi, was granted statehood and the eastern part became the Alabama Territory. William Wyatt Bibb was appointed as the Territorial Governor and St. Stephens was named as the Territorial Capital. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That all that part of the Mississippi Territory which lies within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at the point where the line of the thirty first degree of north Latitude intersects the Perdido river, thence east to the Western boundary line of the State of Georgia, thence along said line to the Southern boundary line to the State of Tennessee, thence West along said boundary line to the Tennessee river, thence up the same to the mouth of Bear creek, thence by a direct line to the north-west corner of Washington County, thence due South to the Gulph of Mexico, thence eastwardly including all the islands within six leagues of the shore to the Perdido River, and thence up the same to the beginning, shall, for the purpose of a temporary government, constitute a separate Territory, and be called "Alabama". Most of the first settlers in Alabama came on ships landing in Mobile bay. Towns initially grew along the rivers north of Mobile but as settlers began to arrive from Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia, towns began to form in northern Alabama until, by 1819, Huntsville had become the largest settlement. On January 19, 1818, the first legislature of the Alabama Territory, presided over by Governor William Wyatt Bibb, met in the Douglas Hotel in St. Stephens. St. Stephens is about 50 miles north of Mobile, Alabama on the Tombigbee River On March 2, 1819, the nation's fifth President, James Monroe signed an enabling act paving the way for Alabama to enter the Union and on July 5th, 44 elected Alabamans met in Huntsville to write a constitution and prepare for statehood. From the 5th through August 2, 1819, the delegates hammered out Alabama's 1819 Constitution. Alabama became the 22nd state on December 14, 1819. Cahaba was selected as the State Capitol.



Of the convention of the Alabama Territory, begun and held at the town of Huntsville on the 5th day of July, in the year of our Lord on thousand eight hundred and nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the forty fourth, being the time and place appointed for the meeting of the Convention for the purpose of forming a Constituttion and State Government: By virtue of an act of Congress "Entitled an act to enable the people of the Alabama Territory, to form a Constutution and State Government and for the admission of such State into the Union, on an equal footing with the original States," passed on the second day of March, one thousand eight hundred and nineteen..