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Alabama blends traditional Southern Hospitality, its new role as an industrial pacesetter, and a rich variety of scenic attractions for a prized travel package. For leisure time activities, excellent fishing, boating, automobile racing, dog racing, camping, historical attractions, and the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico are no more than a two-hour drive.

Alabama’s leading industries are primary metal, pulp, paper, lumber, agriculture, textile, tourism, chemical, rubber, petroleum, and space projects. Agriculture products include cattle, hogs, poultry, cotton, peanuts, grains, pecans, potatoes, and peaches. Large lakes, snow-white cotton fields and huge forests still abound in Alabama. Miles of sandy beaches on the Gulf of Mexico mark Alabama’s southern border. Temperatures are mild and snow and ice are rare. By early April, the noon-day temperature usually climbs into the low 70s. Gulf breezes and frequent rainfalls moderate the summer nights.

Birmingham, the state’s largest city, has steel mills, a Festival of Arts, antebellum Arlington, Jimmy Morgan Zoo, and the Vulcan, the world’s largest iron statue. Nowhere else in America are iron ore, coal, and limestone -- steel’s basic ingredients -- found so close together.

Huntsville, northeast of Birmingham, is the home of many engineering industries. Montgomery, the state capital and the home of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival complex, offers a full schedule of theater, concerts, and other events. Greenville, the Camellia City, and Selma, a city of antebellum homes, are nearby.

Union Springs, in the quail-rich flatlands, is the site of the National Amateur Shooting Dog Championship. Alabama is set in the heart of America’s peanut growing area. Dothan hosts the National Peanut Festival in October.

The Boll Weevil Monument in Enterprise, built because the cotton pest ended one-crop agriculture, is the only known memorial to an insect. A large lake at Eufaula provides excellent water recreation. Squirrel, rabbits, raccoons, opossum, dove, and quail are hunted in the area.

Alabama’s history has been shaped by Indians, Spanish explorers, French settlers, British Soldiers, American pioneers, and many social and industrial changes. Hernando de Soto, Spanish explorer, led an expedition westward through Alabama in 1540. In 1702, the French settled on Dauphin Island in Mobile Bay and built Fort Conde in 1711 on the present site of Mobile. By the Treaty of Paris in 1763, France ceded to England what is now Alabama. The territory was given to the United States at the end of the Revolution, except for the Gulf Coast area which was won from Spain during the War of 1812. The territory of Alabama was formed in 1817 and admitted to statehood in 1819. Cahaba was chosen as capital, but the seat of government was moved to Tuscaloosa in 1826 and to Montgomery in 1846. Alabama seceded from the Union in 1861, and Montgomery became the first capital of the Confederacy.

The population of the state is 4,800,000. Alabama covers an area of 50,750 square miles. The state flower is the Camellia; the tree, the Southern Pine; and the bird, the Yellowhammer.

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