Mobile (pron.: /moÊËbiËl/ moh-BEEL) is the third most populous city in the U.S. state of Alabama, the county seat of Mobile County, and Alabama's only salt water port. It is located at the head of Mobile Bay and the north-central Gulf Coast of the United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 during the 2010 census. It is the largest municipality on the Gulf Coast between New Orleans, Louisiana, and St. Petersburg, Florida. Mobile is the principal municipality of the Mobile Metropolitan Statistical Area, a region of 412,992 residents which is composed solely of Mobile County and is the third largest metropolitan statistical area in the state. Mobile is largest city in the Mobile-DaphneâFairhope CSA, with a total population of 591,599, the second largest in the state. As of 2011, the population within a 60 mile radius of Mobile is 1,262,907.
Mobile began as the first capital of colonial French Louisiana in 1702. The city gained its name from the Native American Mobila tribe that the French colonists found in the area of Mobile Bay. During its first 100 years, Mobile was a colony of France, then Britain, and lastly Spain. Mobile first became a part of the United States of America in 1813, with the annexation of West Florida under President James Madison. It then left that union in 1861 when Alabama joined the Confederate States of America, which collapsed in 1865.
Located at the junction of the Mobile River and Mobile Bay on the northern Gulf of Mexico, the city is the only seaport in Alabama. The Port of Mobile has always played a key role in the economic health of the city beginning with the city as a key trading center between the French and Native Americans down to its current role as the 12th-largest port in the United States.