Alabama is the thirtieth largest state of the United States of America. It has a total area of 52,423 square mi. It has a varied topography consisting mostly of gentle plains, with some mountains and valleys on the north and beautiful inland waterways connected to the Mississippi River and the Tennessee River. Like all others states in the United States, Alabama has its own state symbols and emblems that give the state its own identity.
Alabama has no official nickname. Unofficially though, the state is called as the “Heart of Dixie” which had been used in license plates since the 1950s. In 2002, a new phrase “Stars Fell on Alabama” appeared on license plates because of an 1833 phenomenon regarding an amazing meteor shower seen across the southeast region of the state. The event also became part of the local folklore.
The Alabama has a state bible purchased in 1853. The state’s Executive Department commonly uses it to this day. There is an inscription of “Executive Office, Alabama, 1853” on the flyleaf of the Bible. Since then, the book had been used during inaugurations by Alabama governors. It was also used by Jefferson Davis in 1861 when he took oath as President of the provisional government of the Confederate States of America. The Bible is in the Alabama Department of Archives and History and can be seen on exhibit in the Sampler Gallery of the department.
The Great Seal of Alabama was made in 1817 by William Wyatt Bibb who was then the newly appointed Governor of Alabama. It became the official seal in 1819 through a legislature.
The official state flag of Alabama bears the design of a crimson cross of St. Andrew on a field of white. This design is based on the legislature on February 16, 1895. The bars that form the cross should be more than 6 inches broad and should diagonally extend across the flag coming from side to side. The background field should be all white.
The Alabama state bird is a yellowhammer, which is sometimes used as the nickname of the state. Its scientific name is colaptes auratus (Linnaeus) under the Picidae family. It is also called commonly as flicker. The common color of a yellowhammer is gray-brown with broken black bars on the body and with partly visible shafts of yellow. The rump patch is often white and the tail is black. The crown and back of the neck is gray with a red band at the nape. There is a pinkish rub and black “moustache” on the throat area. The under parts of the body are cream-colored with spots of black. Under the wings are bright yellow. Their beaks are quite sharp. Unlike their male counterparts, female flickers do not have “moustache.” Flickers are very common throughout the Alabama state and can be seen all year round.
The State Coat of Arms was made legal through a legislature in1939. It was designed by B.J. Tieman and is made up of a shield with the emblems of the five governments, namely Spain, France, Great Britain, the Confederacy and the United States. All these have held control over Alabama at one point in history.
This shield is actually held up on each side by bald eagles, which is symbolic for courage. On its crest is a ship, representing the vessel which sailed from France to the area. There is a motto under the shield which says is “Audemus jura nostra defendere” with the state name under it.
The title of the Alabama state song was adopted after the name of the state “Alabama” itself. Its music was composed by Mrs. Edna Gockel Gussen Birmingham and its lyrics are written by Julia S. Tutwiler.
The State Flower of Alabama is Camellia (scientific name: Camellia japonica L.). This was made official through a legislature on June 1999.
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