March 1, 1817
The federal government granted authority to the Mississippi Territory to create a state government for its western lands, leading to the creation of the Alabama Territory two days later. The U.S. Congress created the Mississippi Territory in 1798 out of lands north of the 31st parallel formerly claimed by the colony of Georgia. Congress split the territory in 1817 due to pressure from white Southerners who wanted to see two new slave states emerge. Residents in present-day Alabama also pushed for a division, claiming that the seat of government in Natchez was too far away for the territorial militia to provide protection, especially after the Fort Mims massacre several years earlier.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.