Alabama looks in a mirror

Alabama looks almost exactly like Mississippi in a mirror.  Previous to Alabama becoming a state the country had admitted 21 states to the union and not one of them looked like any of the others.  Why did Alabama end up as a carbon copy of another state?

Alabama and Mississippi were both carved out of the larger territory known as The Georgia Territory at a time when the government believed we would be better served having a greater number of small states, rather than a handful of very large ones.  Massive territories were being cut into smaller ones, and thus the “Mississippi Territory” was born.  Some time later this new territory was cut in two.

But what about the notch on the southern border of each state?  For many years Spain’s claim to Florida included a long panhandle that extended much further west than the panhandle of Florida we know today.  Alabama and Mississippi’s southern borders would have been a simple straight line except for the fact that when the War of 1812 was approaching, Spain lost the ability to focus on their ownership of Florida and relinquished its hold on parts of the panhandle, although not entirely willingly.

Congress broke up the tracts of land in the panhandle that it had seized.  The first chunk was awarded to Louisiana and the second chunk was awarded to the Mississippi Territory.  When that territory was divided in half to become the states of Mississippi and Alabama, a line down the middle created the notches in the southern boundaries of both states.

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