Alabama is nicknamed the Yellowhammer State, after the state bird. Alabama is also known as the "Heart of Dixie" and the Cotton State. The state tree is the longleaf pine, and the state flower is the camellia. Alabama's capital is Montgomery. The largest city by population is Birmingham, which has long been the most industrialized city; the largest city by land area is Huntsville. The oldest city is Mobile, founded by French colonists in 1702 as the capital of French Louisiana.
In January 1776, it became the first of the British North American colonies to establish a government independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain's authority, and it was the first to establish its own state constitution. Six months later, it became one of the original 13 states that founded the United States of America, and in June 1788 it was the ninth state to ratify the Constitution, bringing that document into effect.