• The area at the fall line of what would be later known as the Black Warrior River had long been well known to the various Native Americans in the United StatesIndian tribes whose shifting fortunes brought them to West Alabama. The river shoals at Tuscaloosa represented the southernmost site on the river which could be forded under most conditions. Inevitably, a network of Indian trails converged upon the place, the same network which, in the first years of the 19th Century began to lead a few intrepid white frontiersmen to the area. The pace of white settlement increased greatly after the War of 1812, and a small assortment of log cabins soon arose near the large Creek (people)Creek village at the fall line of the river, which the settlers named in honor of the legendary Chief Tuskalusa. In 1817, Alabama became a Alabama Territoryterritory, and on December 13, 1819, the territorial legislature incorporated the town of Tuscaloosa, exactly one day before United States CongressCongress admitted Alabama to the United StatesUnion as a State (United States)state. From 1826 to 1846 Tuscaloosa was the state capitalcapital of Alabama. During this period, in 1831, the University of Alabama was established. The town's population and economy grew rapidly until the departure of the capital to Montgomery, AlabamaMontgomery caused a rapid decline in population. Establishment of the Bryce State Hospital for the Insane in Tuscaloosa in the 1850s helped restore the city's fortunes. During the American Civil WarCivil War following Alabama's secession from the Union, several thousand men from Tuscaloosa fought in the Confederate States of AmericaConfederate armies. During the last weeks of the War, a brigade of Union troops raiding the city burned the campus of the University of Alabama. Tuscaloosa, too, suffered much damage from the battle and shared fully in the South's economic sufferings which followed the defeat. The construction of a system of locks and dams on the Black Warrior River by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the 1890s opened up an inexpensive link to the Gulf seaport of Mobile, AlabamaMobile, stimulating especially the mining and metallurgical industries of the region. By the advent of the Twentieth Century20th Century, the growth of the University of Alabama and the mental healthcare facilities in the city, along with strong national economy fueled a steady growth in Tuscaloosa which continued unabated for 100 years. Manufacturing plants of large firms such as Michelin and JVC located in town during the latter half of the 20th Century. However, it was the announcement of the addition of the Mercedes-BenzMercedes facility in 1993 that best personified the new era of economic prosperity for Tuscaloosa. Source:

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