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Alabama

A map of AlabamaAlabama is located in the southeastern region of the US. Much of the state is made up of a rolling plain that slopes gently down towards the Gulf of Mexico. A number of rivers, including the Alabama and its tributaries, flow across it in a generally southwards direction. In the north of the state, the Tennessee River cuts a deep valley across the mountains that make up the far southwestern corner of the Cumberland Plateau—part of the Appalachian range. Alabama was once covered by vast areas of pine forest. Today, although it still has the second most extensive forests of all the states in the contiguous US after Georgia, it is mostly agricultural.


The view from Pulpit Rock on Mount Cheaha, northern Alabama
Alabama Theater, Birmingham

Name

The naming of both the state and Alabama River comes from the Alabama people, a Muskogean-speaking tribe who once lived in the area close to where the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers meet the Alabama river. The Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto first used the name, which he wrote as “Alibamu”, when describing his expedition there in 1540.  


Ships and boats aground after Hurricane Katrina 2005

Climate

Alabama has very hot summers—among the hottest in the US—and mild winters, with high levels of rainfall throughout the year. Temperatures are generally warmer in the southern part of the state, close to the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico, while northern parts, especially in the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast, tend to be cooler.
In some parts, Alabama is prone to tornadoes, tropical storms and hurricanes. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused major flooding and destruction along the coast.

An 8-km (5-mile) wide meteorite impact crater, Wetumpka crater, is located in Elmore County, just north of Montgomery. It was created when a massive meteorite crashed to Earth about 80 million years ago.

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