Mobile began as the first capital of colonial French Louisiana in 1702, and during its first 100 years, Mobile was a colony for France, then Britain, and lastly Spain. Mobile first celebrated Carnival in 1703 when French settlers began the festivities at the Old Mobile Site. Mobile is also the original home of Mardi Gras, a tradition that started in 1703, and is the second largest celebration in the United States.
The capital of Louisiana was moved to Biloxi in 1720, leaving Mobile in the role of military and trading center. When Mobile was made a part of the Mississippi Territory in 1813, the population had dwindled to roughly 300 people. Alabama was granted statehood in 1819 and Mobile's population had increased to 809 by that time. From the 1830s onward Mobile expanded into a city of commerce with a primary focus on the cotton trade.
By 1860 Mobile's population within the city limits had reached 29,258 people, it was the 27th largest city in the United States and 4th largest in what would soon be the Confederate States of America. In 1902 the city government passed Mobile's first segregation ordinance, one that segregated the city streetcars. Between 1940 and 1943, more than 89,000 people moved into Mobile to work for war effort industries.
Mobile is the third most populous city in the State of Alabama with population of 197,833 (2006 estimate). Mobile has more than 45 public parks with some that are of special interest. Mobile has a number of historic structures spread throughout the city. Mobile also has a large number of private schools, most of them being parochial in nature. Mobile serves the central Gulf Coast as a regional center for medicine. Mobile's Alabama State Docks underwent the largest expansion in its history by expanding its container processing and storage facility and increasing container storage at the docks by over 1,000% at a cost of over $300 million, thus positioning Mobile for rapid container processing growth. Mobile has three routes east across the Mobile River and Mobile Bay into neighboring Baldwin County, Alabama. Mobile's public transportation is the Wave Transit System which features buses with 18 fixed routes and neighborhood service.
Written by Lyndsey Morgan