So, you’re digging around for a fun fact of Alabama. Well, how about a couple?
Alabama is rich in culture and history, so there are tons of facts and trivia about the state.
Let’s get started and get to know Alabama as the fascinating place that it is!
Fun Facts About Alabama
Alabama primarily used to be grasslands.
Alabama has changed drastically since the time of the first European settlers.
The land was transformed from forest to farmland when the first settlers arrived and set fire to the grass.
Historically, grasslands, wetlands, and open grassy forests made up more than half of the state.
There used to be a lot more meadows, but now only around 1% of it is still around.
Rosa Parks ignited a civil rights movement when she refused to give up her seat to a white man in Alabama.
Rosa Parks, sometimes called the “Mother of Civil Rights Movements,” is often credited with making significant contributions to the development of civil rights in the United States.
Back when public transportation was still separated by race, Rosa stood up for her freedom to ride the bus wherever she pleased.
The white section was filled on December 1, 1955, and Rosa refused to give up her seat to a white man.
She was arrested for civil disobedience despite the fact that she was within her rights to sit in the designated area.
Even while this isn’t the first time something like this has happened, Rosa was able to challenge the court.
Because of her refusal to conform, Rosa Parks became an icon of the civil rights movement and achieved much success in her lifetime.
Even though the Spanish were the first Europeans to discover Alabama, the French were the ones who actually settled there.
In the 16th century, the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto undertook an expedition across what is now the state of Alabama.
But Hernando had no intention of establishing any new communities; he was after gold and a route to the Pacific coast.
The first European settlement in Alabama was established in 1702, more than 160 years after the discovery of the region.
At its height, the initial hamlet of Old Mobile was home to 350 people.
After experiencing a variety of problems, including devastating flooding, the city of Old Mobile was forced to migrate just 9 years later.
You can find the world’s largest cast-iron statue in Alabama.
Birmingham, Alabama, built a statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and forge, that is 56 feet (17 meters) tall in 1904.
When it was finished, the statue was sent to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis on behalf of Birmingham.
The grand prize given to the statue is indicative of its quality as a representation of the outstanding manufacturing capabilities of the Birmingham region.
The Vulcan statue has been relocated on a 123-foot (37 m) pedestal at Vulcan Park and Museum.
Its staggering weight of 120,000 pounds (45,359 kilograms) is the same as that of ten elephants!
The original capital of Alabama was abandoned.
Following Alabama’s admission as a state, the location of the state capital needed to be decided upon.
Cahaba (sometimes spelled Cahawba) was established as Alabama’s capital on November 21, 1818.
The city’s plan was finalized in 1820, and by that time, land auctions and building had already begun.
Yet, due to recurrent flooding, the capital of Alabama had to be moved from Cahaba to Montgomery from 1820 to 1825.
After another devastating flood in 1865, the community never fully recovered.
When the 1880 US census was taken, Cahaba was already gone.
Alabama is the founding place of the country’s pioneering school for civil aviation.
The Wright Brothers, aka Orville and Wilbur, established the first civil aviation school in the United States just outside of Montgomery.
Though the Wright Brothers are remembered for many things, their role as aviation’s progenitors is their most lasting contribution.
These American aviators were the first to design, construct, and fly aircraft successfully.
Alabama goes by many nicknames.
You’ve probably heard of the “Yellowhammer State” before. Well, that’s Alabama!
A reference to the state bird inspired this moniker.
The Northern Flicker gets its common name, “yellowhammer,” from the cluster of yellow feathers found under the bird’s tail.
Soldiers from Huntsville, Alabama, were dubbed Yellowhammer due to the prominence of yellow in their uniforms.
Alabama also goes by the “Cotton State” because of its rich cotton history.
Why? Because Alabama produced so much cotton that it was considered a world leader.
Last but not least, Alabama is often referred to as the “Heart of Dixie.”
Alabama is situated smack dab in the middle of the Dixieland region of the United States.
Who knew a single state could be known by so many different names?
Alabama has many types of snails.
Snails can be found in a variety of habitats, including on land, in rivers and lakes, and in the ocean.
Exactly what is so awesome about these adorably shelled critters?
It turns out that Alabama is home to almost 43% of the country’s snail species.
The first rocket was built in Alabama.
This wasn’t the very first rocket ever invented, but it was the first one to land humans on the moon successfully.
Apollo 11 was constructed in NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and it successfully landed on the moon in 1969.
As a result, Huntsville has become widely recognized as the global rocket capital.
You can find the world’s largest office chair in Alabama.
The largest office chair in the world is in Aniston, Alabama. Close to ten tons of steel went into its construction.
In terms of metal content, that’s equivalent to three cars!
Alabama has a bookstore that sells signed copies of books.
Birmingham, Alabama, is home to a bookstore with a twist, tucked away on a dead-end street.
The proprietor of Alabama Booksmith, Jacob Reiss, has been in the book trade for 25 years.
Back in 2012, Jacob made the switch from selling rare and secondhand books to selling only copies that had been personally signed by the author.
It was in Alabama that the first successful open-heart surgery was performed in the western hemisphere.
In Montgomery, Alabama, Luther Leonidas Hill performed the first successful open-heart surgery on September 15, 1902.
A teenage boy with a knife wound to the heart was the patient of Dr. Hill’s surgery.
A day before his operation, Henry Myrick was stabbed and somehow survived.
The boy’s heart was leaking blood, and despite the efforts of several local doctors, they were unable to stop the bleeding.
Dr. Hill, a well-respected medical professional at the time, convinced the boy’s mother to let him try to operate on his beating heart.
In a 45-minute procedure, he opened the boy’s chest and sutured his wounds.
As a result of Myrick’s recovery, Dr. Hill’s technique was heralded as a major advancement in medicine.
Alabama is home to many religious folks.
The Pew Research Center is a neutral organization that studies demographics and public opinion, and its findings indicate that Alabama is the most religious state in the US.
They found that 49% of the state’s Christian population identified as Evangelical Protestants.
Although 73% of Alabamians claim they pray at least once a day, only 51% regularly attend worship services.
Naturally, half of Alabama’s adult population turns to the Bible when deciding what’s right and wrong.
It rained eels once in Alabama.
Eels actually fell from the sky in Alabama at one point.
That’s not a typo.
In May of 1892, eels seemingly fell from the sky and piled up in the streets of the town of Coalburg, creating a bizarre meteorological occurrence.
They were likely sucked up by a storm and carried above the town, but no one knows for sure.
The name “Alabama” hails from a Native American tribe.
The Alibamu people were the namesake of both the Alabama River and the state of Alabama.
This native group spoke Muskogean and made their home in the region where the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers meet.
Some researchers believe that “Alabama” was derived from the Choctaw word for “herb gatherers” or “clearers of the thicket,” however others disagree.
Even so, not everyone believes that the name has its roots in Choctaw vocabulary.
Alabama is a name whose origins may be traced all the way back to the 1540s when the first known variations were recorded.
The name has been written in a number of different ways, including Alibamo, Alibamu, Alabama, Alibama, and Alibamon.
Additionally, since 1702, the French have used the name Rivière des Alibamons for the Alabama River.
Alabama is the only state that has an official alcoholic drink.
Conecuh Ridge Whiskey, also known as Clyde May’s Alabama Style Whiskey, was named Alabama’s official state drink in 2004.
This Conecuh Ridge Distillery’s moonshine whiskey is the only alcoholic state beverage in the US.
Bear wrestling used to be legal in Alabama.
An unusual pastime that was formerly popular in Alabama was wrestling trained bears.
The widespread adoption of this practice has raised various concerns about animal abuse and exploitation.
Terrible Ted, a huge black bear whose owner removed his teeth and claws and put chains around his neck, became a popular bear in bear wrestling matches.
Terrible Ted fought bears in a bar in Alabama from the 1980s until 1996.
In 1996, the state senate finally voted to ban bear wrestling, responding to the concerns of several animal rights activists.
The use of bears for entertainment purposes, such as bear wrestling matches, was outlawed by the government.
Manslaughter and the unlawful use of a lethal weapon fall into the same category as bear wrestling, which is why the state made it a Class B felony in the state.
The rule was repealed in 2015 as part of an effort to get rid of antiquated regulations, but animal cruelty and exploitation remain illegal under other statutes.
The Constitution of Alabama is the longest in the United States and perhaps the world.
Alabama’s state constitution, with over 300,000 words, is by far the longest and most-amended in the whole country.
It’s a mammoth document compared to the Texas constitution (86,936 words), the second-longest of any state’s founding document.
Alabama’s state constitution is 44 times longer than the US Constitution, and it’s possible it’s the longest one still in use anywhere in the world.
Many topics, such as bingo, boll weevil taxes, and mosquito control taxes, are addressed in this constitution.
As if that weren’t mind-blowing enough, the English translation of India’s Constitution is 146,385 words long, making it the lengthiest constitution in the world.
And that’s still short compared to the constitution of Alabama!
Mobile, Alabama, used to be a part of Louisiana.
Mobile was established as the capital of the French Louisiana colony in 1702. But the British, then the Spanish, then the Americans, all took turns ruling the city.
Mobile did not officially become a part of Alabama until December 14, 1819.
There is an all-water mailing route in Alabama.
If you live in Magnolia Springs, you’ll need a boat to get your mail.
The village is serviced by a delivery route that operates solely on water throughout the year.
This mail service via boat was first launched in 1915.
This path is the only one of its sort in the United States, and it spans around 31 miles (50 km).
The earliest 911 call in the US was made in Alabama.
The earliest 911 call was placed in Haleyville, Alabama, on February 16, 1968, by none other than Speaker of the House Rankin Fite.
Fite dialed the local police station to reach out to US Representative Tom Bevill.
The Alabama Telephone Company continues to support this Haleyville 911 service.
Windshield wipers were invented in Alabama.
Mary Elizabeth Anderson, an Alabamian, traveled to the Big Apple in the winter of 1903.
Anderson was riding on a trolley when she noticed that the driver had to get off and wipe up the windshield because he couldn’t see.
When she got back to Alabama, she collaborated with a designer and a company there to create the first practical windshield wiper prototype.
In 1903, she was endowed with a patent for her creation.
After 10 years, windshield wipers that use mechanical power became commonplace on standard cars.
The first submarine built by the Confederacy in Alabama sank an enemy warship.
The H. L. Hunley is widely regarded as the first combat submarine to successfully sink an enemy vessel.
The Confederacy successfully finished building this sub in Mobile, Alabama, in 1863.
During the course of the Civil War, James McClintock conceived of and created the submarine design in 1863 and 1864.
In honor of Horace L. Hunley, who provided a significant portion of the funding for the project, the submarine bears his name.
During its initial testing by the Confederacy, the submarine sank, taking with it five members of the crew.
During its second voyage, eight people were aboard, but the ship sank once again, taking their lives with it.
The submarine didn’t make its real debut until 1864, and its brief existence was marked by success.
On February 17, 1864, it was able to successfully sink the Union battleship USS Housatonic.
However, it was critically damaged in the attack and sank again, killing everyone on board.
With each loss of the sub, the Confederacy lost 21 men.
Mardi Gras was first celebrated in Alabama.
Many people think of New Orleans when they hear of Mardi Gras, but it was actually first celebrated in Alabama.
There was a celebration at Mobile, Alabama, in 1703, a year after the French founded the city there.
About 15 years had passed at this point before New Orleans was established.
Mobile residents still party it up and throw moon pies in honor of Mardi Gras to this day.
A place called “Sweet Home Alabama” actually exists.
This is one of the Alabama facts you won’t forget if you’re a fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Henry W. Sweet’s mansion in Bessemer, Alabama, was built in Queen Anne and Neoclassical styles in 1906.
Sweet Home Alabama was the nickname given to the house.
In 1974, Lynyrd Skynyrd released the song “Sweet Home Alabama,” which became a huge hit and made the house famous.
The Alabama Historical Association designated it as such in 2006.
Certain areas of the state were originally ornamented with wooden roadways.
There were formerly plank roads in Alabama before the advent of the railroads.
It was in 1849 that Daniel Pratt constructed the first wooden roadway in America.
From Pratt Cotton Gin, it made its way to the Alabama River.
Because it allowed for passage even under damp conditions, the wooden plank road design soon gained traction.
On top of all that, it was inexpensive and easily available.
However, five years after its first popularity surge, the invention of railroads caused its decline in use.
Matilda, the world’s oldest chicken, lived in Alabama.
Bessemer, Alabama, is home to one of Alabama’s lesser-known snippets: the oldest chicken in the world.
Matilda, the hen, outlived the average lifespan of a chicken by several years, reaching the ripe old age of 16!
Therefore, in 2004, after Keith and Donna Barton contacted Guinness World Records and confirmed her age, she was officially recognized as the World’s Oldest Living Chicken.
When Matilda was awarded the title, she was 14 years old.
Although Matilda never produced eggs, she lived a long and fulfilling life until her death from heart disease in 2006.
Alabama has the odd honor of having the first confirmed meteorite injury.
Stars Fell On Alabama, a jazz standard, references the state’s lengthy history of recorded meteor showers.
One person has been reported to have been hurt by a meteorite, though.
Ann Hodges, an Alabama native, had a bruising on her thigh after being hit by a meteorite in 1954.
Hodges was dozing off when a meteorite crashed through the roof, hit her radio, and ricocheted down to her.
As far as we know, she was the first person ever to have been struck by a meteorite in human history.
The meteorite that struck her is now commonly known as the Hodges meteorite.
In the past, giant sloths could be found all over the area.
Cute and lovable, sloths have the unique distinction of being the world’s slowest mammals.
Their forebears, however, were enormous, powerful animals that could reach heights of 9 feet (2.7 meters) and weigh more than two tons.
Giant sloths once roamed the area we now call Alabama, but they went extinct during the Ice Age.
Megalonyx Jeffersonii and Paramylodon Harlani are two of the two varieties of giant ground sloths whose remains have been discovered in Alabama by archaeologists.
One of the smallest museums in the world is located in Alabama.
This is one of the more intriguing things about Alabama that people who enjoy museums and books would appreciate.
The Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Alabama is one of the smallest museums in the world.
Even though it’s only 22 square feet (2 square meters) in size, Edgar’s Closet is located in a tiny high school closet in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
It houses almost 2,000 Edgar Allan Poe-related objects.
Alabama was the first state to hold Veteran’s Day.
When it comes to honoring veterans, Alabama was the first state to do so back in 1947.
A veteran of World War II, Raymond Weeks of Birmingham, Alabama, proposed extending the initial November 11 Armistice Day celebration to include all veterans in 1945.
In 1947, because of his efforts, Birmingham hosted the first-ever Veteran’s Day parade.
Camellia is its state flower.
The beautiful camellia was designated as Alabama’s official state flower in 1959.
Its popularity is such that the state has its own society dedicated to propagating and praising the flower’s charms: the Alabama Camellia Society.
The longest NASCAR oval in the US is in Alabama.
The NASCAR oval at the Talladega Superspeedway (formerly the Alabama International Motor Speedway) is 2.66 miles in length (4.28 km).
Built in 1969 on the grounds of a decommissioned United States Air Force base, this motorsports complex can be found just outside of Talladega, Alabama.
Many records have been set, and first-time winners have emerged from this track over its long history of use.
At this course, it’s not uncommon for speeds to exceed 320 kilometers per hour (200 miles per hour)!
There’s a drive-thru museum in Alabama.
In Seale, there’s a fantastic museum that you can see without getting out of your car.
To supplement his adjacent Museum of Wonder, which features taxidermy, paintings, and other discovered objects that Anthony finds interesting, local artist Butch Anthony curated the Drive-Thru Museum, which features a unique collection of antiques and local folk art.
Alabama is home to the peanut capital of the world.
Approximately half of the nation’s peanuts come from farms within a hundred miles of Dothan, Alabama.
The state of Alabama is home to over 900 peanut producers and ranks third in the United States in terms of peanut production.
Cannonballs from the American Civil War were discovered in Alabama in 2015.
Although the Civil War technically ceased in 1865, that doesn’t mean Alabamians were entirely safe.
Cannonballs were found buried beneath University of Alabama sidewalks in June 2015.
In the course of routine maintenance, staff members found a hidden stash of ten.
They immediately reported it to authorities, who sent a bomb squad to remove them. Yikes.
In Alabama, there’s a monument dedicated to an insect.
In the middle of Enterprise, Alabama, there is a statue of a Greek woman. Her long white marble arms are raised high above her head.
The attractive woman is holding a round bowl in her strong hands, on top of which is perched a giant insect.
A boll weevil, to be exact, which weighs as much as 50 pounds in this statue but is most commonly no bigger than a human pinky fingernail.
In 1919, a businessman in Enterprise commissioned an Italian sculptor to create this statue.
The insect was added thirty years after the original statue of a classical woman was erected, at which point she was holding a fountain above her head.
In 1909, the boll weevil made its way into the state from Mississippi’s border.
As more and more farmland was lost to the cotton-eating insect over time, farmers were obliged to diversify their plantings to take advantage of a wider range of available resources.
The first memorial to the noble weevil can be found in Alabama.
Thrifters can buy lost luggage in Alabama.
When a bag is left at the airport and not picked up, it gets sent to Scottsboro, Alabama.
The Unclaimed Baggage Center, the final destination for missing luggage when all other avenues of recovery have been exhausted, is located in this city.
Thrift store-style, the items are then sold to buyers.
Only one tourist has ever purchased something that was already theirs; they were ski boots, in case you were curious.
Alabama is the last resting place of the first monkey to ever return from space.
After Miss Baker made history in 1959 by being the first monkey to return from a space mission, she was celebrated as a hero in Huntsville.
When she passed away in 1984 from natural circumstances, a gravesite was prepared near the US Space and Rocket Center.
Bananas have been known to be left atop her gravestone.
A miniature city built by a monk is a tourist attraction here.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find another site in the world where a hunchbacked monk constructed a model city.
The Ave Maria Grotto, located on four acres near Cullman, is a tribute to well-known sacred sites that were built by Brother Joseph Zoettl between 1954 and 1958.
The intricate exhibit has quickly become a must-see for visitors.
Dinosaurs are lurking among the conifers.
In 1991, billionaire George Barber commissioned artist Mark Cline to build four dinosaurs on his property near Barber Marina in Elberta.
They have a large footprint, but they are difficult to spot from the road.
Barber also commissioned Cline to create a Stonehenge facsimile.
Alabama is more biodiverse than any other state in the US.
The academic community has dubbed Alabama “the Amazon of North America.”
It has an abundance of major natural resources needed to sustain diverse life.
There are more species of freshwater fish, crawfish, snails, mussels, and turtles in the Mobile River basin, which drains most of the state, than in any other state. By a wide margin.
Compare Alabama’s 84 crawfish species to California’s 9 and Louisiana’s 32.
It’s virtually unmatched.
The number of turtle species in Alabama (18) exceeds that of the Nile, the Mekong, the Yangtze, and the Amazon River combined.
Can’t go on a backcountry camping trip for a few weeks?
Travel to Decatur, where the Cook Museum of Natural History awaits.
From cuddly bears to hands-on geology displays and even a real swimming turtle, the museum brings Alabama’s rich biodiversity to life.
Related Reading: Dumb Laws In Alabama – Read Them Here.
It’s no surprise that Alabama is remarkable, given the state’s immensely rich history and varied topography.
Its history includes both Confederate rule and the center of African-American civil rights activities.
What you’ve discovered here is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the vast amount of interesting information available about Alabama.
The best way to learn more is to come visit!