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The history of Daphne predates recorded history and shares much in common with other southeastern towns and cities. From Native American, to the Spanish, French and British, the city has seen a lengthy parade of historic influences which gives Daphne its present character. Daphne is also known as the “Jubilee City.” A Jubilee in Mobile Bay occurs when crab, shrimp, and other sea life from the waters of Mobile Bay are suddenly found washed ashore along the coastline. Biologists believe the phenomenon is due to a possible decrease in water oxygen levels which force the fish to the surface. Early settlers to the region were hunter-gather tribes similar to those in North Alabama. Small clans worked together to acquire food and to provide for their families. Initially, these groups enjoyed an economy based upon hunting and scavenging but as time passed production of weapons and pottery became more advanced. During the late Woodland stage Native Americans began to practice more elaborate ritual services . Although no burial grounds are known in Daphne, they are scattered throughout Baldwin County. By 1500, the zenith of Native American culture in South Alabama, it is estimated that a community of about 5,000 lived within 50 miles of the seacoast. These peoples were among the first who met Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1540. From this meeting forward, the original settlers faced a disaster from which they did not recover. The first European settlers to the area of Daphne came in 1540 during the period of Spanish Exploration. In 1763, the community of Daphne was established and was known simply as “the Village.” The town of Daphne was officially established, although unincorporated, in April 1874 when the Post Office for Daphne was opened. The town was named the county seat of Baldwin County, Alabama, in 1868 after the previous county seat, Blakely, was destroyed in the Civil War. Daphne remained the county seat until a legislative act of 1900, when the county seat was moved to Bay Minette. Daphne residents resisted the change and would not allow the county records to be removed. Those records were stolen in a late night raid and moved to Bay Minette. On July 8, 1927, Daphne was incorporated with a request for incorporation signed by 41 landowners. On September 19, 1927, the town held its first election. An attempt in 1946 to revoke incorporation by unhappy residents failed. In November 2010, Daphne City Council was persuaded by a single student from Bayside Academy to enact a ban against texting while driving.
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