At one time the left bank of the Alabama River was inhabited by the Alibamu tribe of Native Americans. On either side of the river lived the Alibamu and the Coushatta, who were great mound builders. The city of Montgomery was built on the site of two Alibamu towns. European colonization began and many changes occurred in the area.
The city of Montgomery was incorporated in 1819 and became the capital of Alabama in 1846. Jefferson Davis the only President of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865 was inaugurated on the steps of the Montgomery State Capitol.
On April 12, 1865, Major General James H. Wilson captured Montgomery for the Union. In 1886 the city became the first city in the U.S. to install city-wide electric streetcars along a system, nicknamed the Lightning Route.
Montgomery was thrust into the spotlight of the early African-American Civil Rights Movement. The Montgomery Improvement Association was created by Martin Luther King, Jr., who was then the pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.
Today people visiting Montgomery can see the black granite Civil Rights Memorial. See the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, the Alabama State Capitol dating from the 1850s, and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.