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Transportation and Alabama Rivers

bullet Alabama's remarkable river system gives it more miles of potentially navigable waterways than any state in the union.

bullet Alabama's rivers provided food and transportation for a large Native American population, and avenues of invasion for Europeans.

bullet River towns were the most important settlements in Alabama before the Civil War and all of the state's capitals were on rivers.

bullet With the arrival of the steamboat, Alabama's rivers became the state's main commercial routes. The streams helped the state's war effort by providing a safe, dependable means of transportation, but they also retarded the growth of railroads and therefore hurt future commercial expansion.

bullet In the late nineteenth century rivers became less important, while the railroad became the principal means of transportation.

bullet In the twentieth century the major developments along the rivers have been hydroelectric dams, paper mills, and recreational facilities.