Alabama, river, 315 mi (507 km) long, formed in central Ala. by the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers N of Montgomery, Ala., and flowing SW to Mobile, Ala., where it joins the Tombigbee to form the Mobile River; drains c.22,600 sq mi (58,500 sq km). In the 1800s the river played an important role in the development of the region's economy as a transporter of goods. It remains an important mover of farm products, lumber, and manufactured goods. The Cahaba River, its chief tributary, is the source of water for Birmingham, Ala.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.