13 May 2010
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States of America. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland waterways. The state ranks 23rd in population with almost 4.6 million residents in 2006.
The Alabama, a Muskogean tribe whose members lived just below the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers on the upper reaches of the Alabama River, are the etymological source of the names of the river and state.
The word Alabama is believed to have originated from the Choctaw language and was later adopted by the Alabama tribe as their name.
The spelling of the word varies depending on the source. The first usage appears in three accounts of the Hernando de Soto expedition of 1540 as "Alibamo."
As early as 1702, the tribe was known to the French as Alibamon with French maps identifying the river as Rivière des Alibamons.
Though the origin of Alabama seems clear, the actual meaning of the tribe's name. It is generally accepted that the word comes from the Choctaw words alba (meaning "plants" or "weeds") and amo (meaning "to cut", "to trim", or "to gather"). Therefore, translations can be "clearers of the thicket" or "herb gatherers" referring to clearing of land for the purpose of planting crops or to collection of medicinal plants by medicine men.
Alabama: The History of a Deep South State