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the third most populous city in Alabama (195,111) and seat of Mobile County

Located on the Mobile River, where it meets Mobile Bay, Mobile is Alabama's only seaport.

Mobile County


Fort Louis de la Mobile (named for the Mobila Indians) was established as a trading post and French military outpost by explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, in January 1702. River flooding forced the fort and surrounding colony to move to 27 miles south to the present site of Mobile in 1711.

France gave Mobile to Great Britain following the French and Indian War (1754-1763). Spain captured Mobile in 1780, and the United States seized it in 1813. Mobile was incorporated as a city in 1819.

Mobile became an important seaport during the early 1800's as cotton production flourished in the South. The Civil War crippled that production, however, and Mobile's economy suffered greatly as a result. The Battle of Mobile Bay, won by Union naval forces under Rear Admiral David G. Farragut, closed Mobile's port in August 1864, and the city itself fell nine months later (the last Southern stronghold to surrender). Mobile's economy gradually improved after the war, and by the beginning of World War I it was once again a thriving seaport.


The Port of Mobile continues to be the linchpin of Mobile's economy, along with aerospace, ship building, manufacturing, steel, and construction. Mobile Regional Airport provides direct passenger service to four major hub airports, and Mobile Downtown Airport serves corporate, cargo, and private aircraft.

Donwtown Mobile, with Government Plaza in the foreground
downtown Mobile


Since 1985 the government of Mobile has consisted of a mayor and a seven-member city council. The Mayor is elected at-large, while Council members are elected by individual districts.


Public schools in Mobile are operated by the Mobile County Public School System, which has an enrollment of over 65,000 students. Major colleges and universities in Mobile include the University of South Alabama, Spring Hill College, the University of Mobile, Faulkner University, and Bishop State Community College.

Sites and Attractions

Battleship Memorial Park, on the shores of Mobile Bay, features the World War II-era battleship USS Alabama, the World War II-era submarine USS Drum, Korean War and Vietnam War memorials, and a variety of historical military equipment.

Battleship Alabama at Battleships Memorial Park
Battleship Alabama

The 400,000-square-foot Mobile Civic Center is the primary concert venue for the city and hosts a wide variety of events. It is home to the Mobile Ballet and the Mobile Opera.

Mobile Civic Center

The Mobile Museum of Art features permanent exhibits that span several centuries of art and culture. Those exhibits include the African and Asian Collection Gallery, Altmayer Gallery (American art), Katharine C. Cochrane Gallery of American Fine Art, Maisel European Gallery, Riddick Glass Gallery, Smith Crafts Gallery, and the Ann B. Hearin Gallery (contemporary works).

Mobile Museum of Art

The National African American Archives and Museum features the history of African-American participation in Mardi Gras, authentic artifacts from the era of slavery, and portraits and biographies of famous African-Americans.

The Saenger Theatre opened in 1927 as a movie palace. Today it is a performing arts center and serves as home of the Mobile Symphony Orchestra.

Saenger Theatre

French and Indian War
Civil War
David G. Farragut
World War I

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The Robinson Library >> American History >> United States: Local History and Description >> Gulf States >> Alabama

This page was last updated on September 25, 2017.