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Wedged between Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida, with a little thumb poking into the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama has an unexpected and diverse geography. Mountains and hills dominate the northern part of the state; the center is rich with rolling hills and fertile farmland; and the southern Gulf Coast is steamy and wet. Alabama has a diverse history as well. It's here that Jefferson Davis gave the call to start the Civil War, from his Confederate presidency in Montgomery. Nearly a hundred years later, this is where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus, thereby accelerating a movement that would forever change the rules ...

Wedged between Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida, with a little thumb poking into the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama has an unexpected and diverse geography. Mountains and hills dominate the northern part of the state; the center is rich with rolling hills and fertile farmland; and the southern Gulf Coast is steamy and wet. Alabama has a diverse history as well. It's here that Jefferson Davis gave the call to start the Civil War, from his Confederate presidency in Montgomery. Nearly a hundred years later, this is where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus, thereby accelerating a movement that would forever change the rules about American Civil Rights.

For all its heated, rebellious and segregationist past, Alabama today is mostly composed of quiet towns and friendly people. Racism still exists, but rather than turn their backs on the important events of the past, Alabama cities have done an impeccable job at preserving it, which is evidenced by the wealth of museums and memorials.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Debra Landau for Triporati

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