Mobile Bay (crs)
|Start Slide Show|
Mobile Bay is an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico, lying within the state of Alabama. Its mouth is formed by the Fort Morgan Peninsula on the eastern side and Dauphin Island, a barrier island on the western side. The Mobile River and Tensaw River empty into the northern end of the bay, making it an estuary. Several smaller rivers also empty into the bay. Mobile Bay is the fourth largest estuary in the United States with a discharge of 62,000 cubic feet (1,800 m3) of water per second. The bay is 413 square miles (1,070 km2) in area. It is 31 miles (50 km) long by a maximum width of 24 miles (39 km). The deepest areas of the bay are located within the shipping channel, sometimes in excess of 75 feet (23 m) deep, but the average depth of the bay is 10 feet (3 m). Spanish explorers were sailing into the area of Mobile Bay as early as 1500, with the bay being marked on early maps as the Bahía del Espíritu Santo (Bay of the Holy Spirit). The area was explored in more detail in 1516 by Diego de Miruelo and in 1519 by Alonso Álvarez de Pineda. In 1528, Pánfilo de Narváez travelled through what was likely the Mobile Bay area, encountering Native Americans who fled and burned their towns at the approach of the expedition. This response was a prelude to the journeys of Hernando de Soto, more than eleven years later. Hernando de Soto explored the area of Mobile Bay and beyond in 1540, finding the area inhabited by a Muscogee Native American people. During this expedition his forces destroyed the fortified town of Mauvila, also spelled Maubila, from which the name Mobile was later derived. This battle with Chief Tuscaloosa and his warriors took place somewhere in inland Alabama, well to the north of the current site of Mobile. The next large expedition was that of Tristán de Luna y Arellano, in his unsuccessful attempt to establish a permanent colony for Spain nearby at Pensacola in 1559. Although Spain's presence in the area had been sporadic, the French created a deep-sea port at Dauphin Island and founded French Louisiana's capital at Mobile, a few miles north of Mobile Bay on the Mobile River in 1702. The original settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile was relocated in 1711 to the head of Mobile Bay following a series of floods. During the American Civil War Mobile Bay was used as a major port for blockade runners bringing in badly needed supplies for the Confederacy. On August 5, 1864, Admiral David Farragut led a Union flotilla through Confederate defenses and sealed off one of the last major Southern ports of the bay in the Battle of Mobile Bay, effectively cutting off another port for receiving supplies. A number of Civil War-era shipwrecks remain in Mobile Bay, including American Diver, CSS Gaines, CSS Huntsville, USS Philippi, CSS Phoenix, USS Rodolph, USS Tecumseh, and CSS Tuscaloosa.
Identifier: 611, Last Accessed: 2017-11-07 17:27:06
Copyright: © A. O. Newberry & Co. 2007-2017
All rights reserved.
Last Modified: Fri Jul 29 2016 09:10:20.