Mobile (Mobeel'), the principal city and only seaport of Alabama, is situated on the west side of Mobile River, and at the head of Mobile Bay, which opens into the Gulf of Mexico, and is defended by Fort Morgan. It is 141 miles by rail ENE. of New Orleans, and is built with broad shaded streets on a sandy plain, rising gradually from the river. It has a fine customhouse and post-office (1859), a city-hall and market-house (1857), a R. C. cathedral, a medical college, a Jesuit college, etc. Mobile contains a floating dry-dock and shipyards, foundries, cotton and cottonseed-oil mills, a tannery, a manufactory of chewing-gum, cigar-factories, etc. Before the war the chief business was the export of cotton ; but since then this trade has greatly shrunk, while the export of timber has increased. Settled by the French in 1702, Mobile was a Spanish town until 1813, and still shows traces of this Latin origin. In 1879 the city limits were curtailed. Pop. (1870) 32,034 ; (1901) 38,469.