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Alabama Fever

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Title: Alabama Fever  
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Subject: History of Alabama, Agriculture in the United States, King Cotton, Louisville and Portland Canal, History of cotton
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Alabama Fever

Alabama Fever was the land rush that occurred as settlers and speculators moved in to establish land claims in Alabama as Native American tribes ceded territory. It came to be characterized as a movement of farmers and their slaves ever further west to new slave states and territories in the pursuit of fertile land for growing cotton.[1][2][3] It was one of the first great American land booms until superseded by the California Gold Rush in 1848.[4]


The term Alabama Fever was used as early as 1817, during the cotton cultivation had become difficult.[1] Alabama had a population estimated at under 10,000 people in 1810, but it had increased to more than 300,000 people by 1830.[1] Most Native American tribes were completely removed from the state within a few years of the passage of the Indian Removal Act by the United States Congress in 1830.[5] By 1860 the population had increased to a total of 964,201 people, of which 435,080 were enslaved African Americans and 2,690 were free people of color.[6]


Global demand for cotton, spurred on by new industrial textile manufacturing processes, made its cultivation extremely lucrative. Alabama, Caribbean and Central America for future cotton cultivation, due to increased northern resistance to the expansion of slavery in the United States and the arid regions of the west being unsuited for cotton production.[1]


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  • Colliers Encyclopedia, vol. 1 of 24, editors: Lauren Bahr & Bernard Johnston, PF Collier : Company (1994), "Alabama Fever - Mass Movement to Alabama"
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