Mobile County[p] is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. Its name is in honor of a tribe of Indians, the Maubila tribe (see Mobilian). As of the 2010 census, its population was 412,992. Its county seat is Mobile, Alabama. The entire county is included in the Mobile metropolitan statistical area.
This area was occupied for thousands of years by varying cultures of indigenous peoples. The historic Choctaw were among the Native Americans encountered by early French traders and colonists, who founded Mobile in the early eighteenth century. The British took over the territory in 1763 after defeating the French in the Seven Years War. During the American Revolutionary War, it came under Spanish rule as part of Spanish Florida. It was ceded to the United States after the War of 1812.
Most of the Native Americans in the area were removed in the 1830s under President Andrew Jackson's policy to relocate them to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. The MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians was recognized as a tribe in 1979 by the state; it occupies land along the border of Mobile and Washington counties.
Mobile County was created by European Americans by a proclamation of Governor Holmes of the Mississippi Territory on December 18, 1812. The area became part of the Alabama Territory on August 15, 1817, on the day that Mississippi became a state. Two years later, the county became part of Alabama, when granted statehood on December 14, 1819.
The city of Mobile, first settled by French colonists as part of La Louisiane, has always been designated as the county seat. Both the county and city derive their name from Fort Louis de la Mobile, a French fortification established (near present-day Axis, Alabama) in 1702. The word "Mobile" is believed to stem from a Choctaw Indian word for "paddlers". The area was occupied by French colonists from 1702–1763, by the British from 1763–1780, and by the Spanish from 1780-1813. Courthouse fires occurred in the years 1823, 1840, and 1872.
Note: Population for 1890 includes 384 Indians (Geronimo's Apaches) at Mount Vernon Barracks, reported separately.