History The settlement was first established in 1702, at Twenty-seven Mile Bluff on the Mobile River, as the capital of the French colony of Louisiana. It was relocated downriver to its present location near the head of Mobile Bay in 1711. Mobile was transferred to the British in 1763 as a result of the Treaty of Paris and was captured by the Spanish in 1780. The Spanish held Mobile until 1814 when it was captured by the the American General Wilkinson; by then it was the second largest seaport on the Gulf Coast.
One incident of some historical interest occurred in 1860, when the Clotilde, the last known ship to arrive in the Americas with a cargo of slaves, was abandoned by its captain near Mobile. A number of the slaves escaped and formed their own community on the banks of the Mobile River, which became known as Africatown[?]. The inhabitants of this community retained their African customs and language well into the 20th century.
Mobile grew substantially in the period leading up to the American Civil War when it was heavily fortified and held by the Confederates. Union naval forces established a blockade under the command of Admiral David Farragut. Farragut did not attack the city until August 1864. The ensuing Battle of Mobile Bay was a Union victory but the city held out for another nine months. During the later federal occupation of the city, in May, 1865, an ammunition depot explostion -- called the great Mobile magazine explosion -- killed some 300 people.
After the war the harbour was substantially improved and deepened, and ship-building became a notable industry.
Notable yearly activities that currently take place in Mobile include the Senior Bowl, Mardi Gras (the oldest in the country), and the Junior Miss Pageant.
Mobile and the Eastern Shore (across Mobile Bay) periodically experience a unique phenomenon called a Jubilee. A Jubilee, which usually takes place around 3-4am, describes a massive upsurge of sea life from the bottom of the bay. This upsurge to the surface usually consists of crabs, shrimp, oysters, and other sea delicacies. Needless to say, a Jubilee, when first realized, is quickly spread by word of mouth along the coast, providing an impromptu fishing party in the middle of the night.
Demographics As of the census of 2000, there are 198,915 people, 78,480 households, and 50,776 families residing in the city. The population density is 651.4/km² (1,687.1/mi²). There are 86,187 housing units at an average density of 282.2/km² (731.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 50.40% White, 46.29% African American, 0.24% Native American, 1.52% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races. 1.42% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 78,480 households out of which 30.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% are married couples living together, 19.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 35.3% are non-families. 30.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.46 and the average family size is 3.09.
In the city the population is spread out with 26.5% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 87.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 82.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $31,445, and the median income for a family is $39,752. Males have a median income of $31,629 versus $22,051 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,072. 21.2% of the population and 17.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 31.4% are under the age of 18 and 14.7% are 65 or older.