Native Americans set foot in what we now knew as the Deep South 12,000 years ago. Some of the predecessor tribes include the Creek or Muskogee people and the Iroquoian-speaking Cherokee, who were believed to be from the Great Lakes region. Andrew Jackson assumed the US presidency in 1928, and his claim to fame was when he overcame the Creek at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. He lobbied for the displacement of the Indians to an Indian Territory to clear the land to be settled by the European-Americans. He treated the Indians differently than his ancestors and carried out his plans to remove the Indian tribes east of the Mississippi River.
In 1832, the Creek National Council affirmed the Treaty of Cusseta, which states their cessation of the remaining lands to the US government. They finally approved of relocating to the Indian Territory.
Following the War of 1812, white settlement increased significantly. Log cabins were established along the Creek village, and the settlement was named after Chief Tuscaloosa. Alabama became a territory in 1817, and in December 1819, the town of Tuscaloosa was incorporated. On December 14, 1819, Alabaman became a state.
Tuscaloosa was the capital of the state from 1826 to 1846. The University of Alabama was founded in 1831, along with the growth of the city’s economy and number. There was a substantial decline after the capital was relocated to Montgomery. Tuscaloosa restored its wealth sometime in the 1850s after the construction of the Alabama State Hospital for the Insane, which is now the Bryce Hospital.
After Alabama’s withdrawal from the Union, thousands of men from Tuscaloosa battled the Confederate armies in the Civil War. Several Union troops burned the campus of the university in the last days of the Civil War. The greater town was equally damaged and suffered economically.
A system of locks and dams were built in the 1890s, and they improved transportation in and around Tuscaloosa. The town greatly benefited from the fact that it was linked to the Gulf Coast seaport of Mobile in the best possible way. Economy and trade in the city were positively impacted by the improvement of navigation. Mining and metallurgical industries emerged in the area. Due to the growth of the mental health-care facilities in the area as well as the expansion of the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, along with the entire nation, experienced steady growth.
Following World War II, African Americans became more aggressive in their pursuit to regain their constitutional civil rights. Autherine Lucy was accepted into the University as a graduate student. However, her enrolment was not entirely welcomed because she was black. After three years, NAACP and Thurgood Marshall obtained a court order that prohibits the University from banning Autherine Lucy and other students just because they are not white. The University officially honored Lucy and other alumni by naming the plaza before Foster Auditorium after them. It was named Malone-Hood Plaza.
Tuscaloosa was struck by a 1.5 mi tornado on April 27, 2011. The disaster led to casualties and injuries and significant damage. Due to the massive destruction brought by the disaster, the University of Alabama delayed their graduation for that school year.
Click here for more information about Tuscaloosa, AL.