Alabama

The State’s Name

The etymology of the word or name, Alabama, has evoked much discussion among philological researchers. It was the name of a noted southern Indian tribe whose habitat when first known to Europeans was in what is now central Alabama. One of the major waterways in the state was named for this group and from this river, in turn, the name of the state was derived. The tribal name of Alabama was spelled in various ways by the early Spanish, French, and British chroniclers: Alabama, Albama, Alebamon, Alibama, Alibamou, Alibamon, Alabamu, and Allibamou. The appellation first occurs in three of the accounts of the Hernando de Soto expedition of 1540: written Alibamo by Garcillasso de la Vega, Alibamu by the Knight of Elvas, and Limamu by Rodrigo Ranjel (in the last form, the initial vowel is dropped and the first m is used for b, the interchange of these two consonants being common in Indian languages). The name as recorded by these chroniclers was the name of a subdivision of the Chickasaws, not the historic Alabamas of later times.

The popular belief that Alabama signifies “Here We Rest” stems from an etymology given wide currency in the 1850s through the writings of Alexander Beauford Meek. However, the first known use of this derivation appeared earlier in an unsigned article in a July 27, 1842, issue of theJacksonville Republican. Experts in the Muskogee dialect have been unable to find any word or phrase similar to Alabama with the meaning “Here We Rest.”

According to some investigations, the tribal name Alabama must be sought in the Choctaw tongue, as it is not uncommon for tribes to accept a name given them by a neighboring tribe. Inquiry among the early Indians themselves appears to have yielded no information about the meaning of the word. The Rev. Allen Wright, a Choctaw scholar, translated the name as thicket clearers, compounded of Alba meaning “a thick or mass vegetation,” and amo meaning “to clear, to collect, to gather up.”

 

Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University

Alabama A&M Univesity

University of Alabama School of Medicine

University of Alabama School of MedicineUniversity of Alabama School of Medicine

Troy University

Troy University Troy University

The University of Alabama

The University of Alabama

The University of Alabama

 

 

 

 

 

Auburn University Main Campus

http://www.auburn.edu/

 

Auburn University Main Campus

 

 

 

 

 

 

University of Alabama at Birmingham

University of Alabama at Birmingham

University of Alabama at Birmingham

 

 

 

 

 

 

University of South Alabama

University of South Alabama University of South Alabama

 

Calhoun Community College

Calhoun Community CollegeCalhoun Community College

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville State University    Jacksonville State University

 

Jefferson State Community College

Jefferson State Community CollegeJefferson State Community College

 

University of Alabama in Huntsville

University of North Alabama

 

Gadsden State Community College

 

Alabama State University

Alabama State University

 

George C. Wallace State Community College-Hanceville

George C. Wallace State Community College-Hanceville

 

Shelton State Community College

Shelton State Community College

Southern Union State Community College

 

Samford University

 

Samford University

 

Bevill State Community College

 Bevill State Community College

Northwest Shoals Community College

Northwest Shoals Community College