December 21, 1789
Georgia Gov. Edward Telfair signed the Yazoo Land Act, selling 3.5 million acres in present-day north Alabama to Zachariah Cox’s Yazoo Tennessee Company for $55,000. After purchasing the land, Cox attempted to settle Muscle Shoals, where he established a fort and trading house in 1791. Opposition from President George Washington and others for violating federal Indian land policy, as well as Georgia’s insistence on being paid in gold and silver, disrupted Cox’s efforts. In 1795, Cox again purchased 3 million acres from Georgia, but the sale was quickly voided. Cox’s short-lived land holdings, however, eventually set the historic basis for the east and west limits of Alabama’s northern border.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.