Madison County, Alabama

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Madison County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama, and is a major part of the Huntsville Metropolitan Area.

It is also included in the merged Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. The county is named in honor of James Madison, fourth President of the United States of America, and the first to visit the state of Alabama. According to the Census' 2008 estimate, the population was 319,510. Its county seat is Huntsville. Madison County covers parts of the former Decatur County.



Madison County was established on December 13, 1808 by the governor of the Mississippi Territory.[1] It is recognized as the "birthplace" of Alabama, which was founded there on December 14, 1819. For much of the county's history, the economy revolved mainly around agriculture. Madison County was one of the largest cotton-producing counties in the state, and textile mills operated around the county.

This changed when a group of German rocket scientists, led by Wernher von Braun, came to Redstone Arsenal in 1950. They developed, among others, the Redstone rocket, which was modified to launch the first two Americans into space. Tens of thousands of jobs came to the area as a result of the Space Race, and the population of Madison County rose from 72,903 in 1950 to an estimated 2005 population of 298,192.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,105 km² (813 square miles). Nearly 805 square miles (2,085 km²) of it is land, and 8 square miles (21 km²) of it (0.98%) is water.

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