If you’ve lived in Alabama long enough to visit a few local museums, you might know that the state had a colonial period when the French ruled over the region. You also might know a tad about the state’s antebellum history before the onset of the American Civil War.
But what about the years between? From 1798 to 1826, those 28 years were some of the most formative years in the yellowhammer state, even though they may be the least explored.
Mike Bunn’s new book, “Early Alabama: An Illustrated Guide to the Formative Years, 1798 – 1826” explores that time period and how it shaped an entire region.
“I want people to understand that Alabama has a pretty dynamic, interesting period of development that needs to be studied in and of itself,” said Bunn, currently the director of Blakeley State Park. “This era is not something that is easily lumped into the Colonial era or the Deep South plantation and cessation era. It’s independent of both of those and is where the state really took shape.
“It’s filled with interesting people and political rivalries and the founding of towns,” he said. “It’s a really interesting time in the state’s history.”
During this time period the Mississippi Territory which encompassed both modern-day Mississippi and Alabama, transitioned from frontier property to statehood.
Bunn said he canvassed existing histories of the region to compile a comprehensive, definitive summary.
He said that he hopes readers will also easily relate the stories in the book to places they see in their communities every day. Much of the book is dedicated to those historic sites, several of which stand today.
“We do have a lot of historic sites where can get in touch with this earlier era and go out and discover some of this history in the physical environment,” Bunn said. “It’s worth your time to investigate some of the most colorful history in the state’s past, in my opinion.”