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Historical Glossary

There are 116 entries in this glossary.
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Aix-La-Chapelle, treaty of

(18 October 1748)    This treaty ended King George's War. Britain returned Louisbourg to France in exchange for certain concessions in Europe, but otherwise the situation in North America remained the same as in 1744. An Anglo-French boundary commission was established to determine the Nova Scotia–Acadian boundary, but it had reached no agreement by 1754.

Alabama

In 1702, at Mobile Bay, France built Fort St Louis, the first white settlement in Ala. and capital of its La. colony until 1722. Anglo-American settlement began in 1805 at Huntsville, but proceeded slowly until after the Creek War. After becoming a territory on 3 March 1817, it grew rapidly (especially in the Black Belt region) and became the 22nd state on 14 December 1819. The Creek Indians were relocated west in 1834–5. Cotton-growing dominated its economy. By 1860 Ala. ranked 12th among states, with 964,201 inhabitants, of whom 45 percent were slaves and 1 percent were foreign-born; it stood 11th in the value of its farmland and livestock and 25th in manufactures.
Ala. became the third CSA state on 11 January 1861. In the Civil War, it furnished 75,000 CSA troops and 7,545 USA soldiers (2,576 white and 4,969 black). Ala. was the site of 336 military engagements.
In June 1865, Andrew Johnson instituted a provisional civilian government, which ended slavery in September. White supremacists took over the legislature and passed a black code (see black codes). Congress imposed military rule on 2 March 1867, but restored self-government and congressional representation on 25 June 1868. Republican control of Ala. ended six-and-a-half years later, on 14 November 1874. Ala. disfranchised most blacks in 1901 and then legislated segregation.
In 1900 it was the 18th state in size and had 1,828,697 people, who were 83 percent rural, 45 percent black, and 1 percent foreign-born; it ranked 19th in the value of its agricultural goods and 30th in manufactures. From 1920 to 1970, it lost 1,258,500 residents, mostly blacks moving to northern cities, and its racial composition shifted greatly. Ala. was a prominent battleground of the civil rights movement and site of the Montgomery bus boycott, the Birmingham desegregation violence, Selma freedom march, and Governor George Wallace's defiance of federal court orders to integrate the University of Alabama in 1963. By 1990 Ala. ranked as the 22nd state, with 4,040,587 residents (73 percent white, 25 percent black, 1 percent Hispanic, 1 percent Asian), of whom 67 percent were urban and 1.1 percent were foreign-born. Manufacturing employed 23 percent of the work force and mining 8 percent.

Alamance Creek, battle of

On 16 May 1771, Governor William Tryon's 1,300 militia (mostly from eastern N.C.) defeated 2,500 regulators (see regulator), mostly from western N.C., near Hillsborough. Tryon's losses: 9 killed and 61 wounded. Regulators' losses: about 20 killed and 100 wounded. The regulator uprising then ended.

Alamo, battle of the

On 24 February 1836, President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna's 5,500 Mexicans began artillery bombardment of Colonel James Bowie and Lieutenant Colonel William Travis's garrison of 183 Texans at San Antonio's Alamo mission. On 6 March 1,100 attackers took the fortifications by storm. Texas losses: 175 killed, 8 captured (of whom 7 were murdered after surrendering and 1 Hispanic survived by claiming he had been a prisoner). Mexican losses: 1,600 killed, 500 wounded.

Alaska

In 1741 Vitus Bering mapped the Aleutian Islands and nearby Alaskan coastline. On 22 September 1784, Russia founded its first permanent settlement at Three Saints Bay, Kodiak Island, and first occupied the Alaska panhandle near Sitka in 1799. The Russians used Alaska primarily as a source of sea otters and other furs, which were obtained by subjecting Eskimos and Aleuts to a brutal system of labor exploitation. The Tlingit Indians kept up a fierce resistance against Russian efforts to control them through the 1760s. Wishing to escape the cost of defending the colony from Tlingits and avoid its possible annexation to Canada, the Czar sold Seward's Folly to the US on 18 October 1867 for $7,200,000.
Washington did not appoint a governor until 1884, when Alaska contained about 33,000 natives and 430 whites, and did not make Alaska a territory until 24 August 1912. Commercial fishing and canning then became the biggest industry. After 1896, the main route for 50,000 miners who went to Canada's Klondike gold rush was via Alaska, where more gold was found at Nome in 1899 and Fairbanks in 1902. In 1900 Alaska had 63,592 inhabitants (approx. 48 percent white, 46 percent Indian, 5 percent Chinese), of whom 76 percent were rural and 20 percent were foreign-born; it ranked 49th in population, 51st in farm goods and 48th in manufactures. Few of the miners remained permanently, but development expanded by military facilities at Dutch Harbor, which were threatened in World War II by the Aleutian Islands campaign. The Alaskan highway, first land route to the territory, opened in 1942. The expansion of defense installations led the white population to double in both the 1940s and 1950s.
It became the 49th state on 3 January 1959, when it had 43,000 natives and 150,400 non-natives. In January 1968, the largest US oil field was discovered on the North Slope near Prudhoe Bay and began flowing in 1977 via the Alaska pipeline. Alaska ranked as the 49th state in 1990 with 550,043 residents (74 percent white, 15 percent Indian, 4 percent black, 3 percent Hispanic, 3 percent Asian), of whom 41 percent were urban and 4.5 percent were foreign-born. Manufacturing and mining employed 16 percent of workers.