by Jay Higginbotham
University of Alabama Press, 1991
eISBN: 978-0-8173-9097-6 | Paper: 978-0-8173-0528-4
Library of Congress Classification F334.M6H483 1991
Dewey Decimal Classification 976.122


The highly praised, landmark history of the founding of Mobile

Commissioned to mark the 275th anniversary of the founding of the city of Mobile, Old Mobile is award-winning historian Jay Higginbotham’s definitive history of the origins of French settlement on Mobile Bay and the birth of the city.

Higginbotham’s narrative is replete with memorable characters, such as the LeMoyne brothers: Iberville, the aristocratic adventurer who abandoned the settlement and the younger Bienville, whose iron determination and Catholic faith sustained the community through its first hardscrabble years 26 miles upriver, a disastrous flood in 1711, and the community’s retreat to the city’s current location, nearer the French supply depot on Dauphin Island.

The majestic sweep of Higginbotham’s fascinating account also takes in early Mobile’s relations with neighboring European settlements, such as their meddling French neighbors in Louisana to the west and the Spanish in Pensacola to the east. Despite being rivals of a sort, Mobile and Pensacola became, of dire necessity, allies in survival. Higginbotham consulted a wealth of previously unpublished sources in the national archives of the United States, Canada, Mexico, France, England, Spain, and Cuba, creating an authoritative account never likely to be equaled. A copious bibliography, excellent illustrations and figures, tables of relevant statistics, and a detailed index round out this magisterial edition.

Scholars and readers interested in the founding of Alabama, the history of Gulf Coast settlements, the French colonial empire, or related subjects will find Old Mobile essential reading.