Oh, THAT Gadsden!

Gadsden, Alabama

Gadsden Purchase

The treaty that ended the Mexican War in 1848 left some doubt about the western part of the boundary between Mexico and the United States. To clear up this question, and also to provide the United States with a good southern railroad route to the Pacific Coast, the government bought from Mexico a strip of land that included the region south of the Gila River in what is now Arizona and New Mexico. James Gadsden, a railroad promoter serving as United States Minister to Mexico, conducted the negotiations with Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexician president. The treaty of sale was signed on December 30, 1853, and the two countries exchanged ratifications of the treaty on June 30, 1854.

The U.S. paid $10,000,000 for the 45,535 square miles included in the Gadsden Purchase. The sale met opposition in Mexico and was one of the reasons for Santa Anna's banishment in 1855.

Norman A. Graebner
World Book Encyclypedia


Gadsden, Alabama (alt. 555 ft.),

is an important industrial center in Alabama. It lies on the banks of the Coosa River, about 65 miles northeast of Birmingham. For location see the Alabama Map Page.

The city's industries manufacture steel, textiles, nails, wire, bolts, soil pipe, transformers, furniture, lumber, tires, awnings, china bathroom fixtures, dies and jigs, and bakery products. Nearby iron, manganese, coal, and limestone deposits are important to Gadsden's industries. Gadsden is also a distribution center for beef, dairy, and poultry products.

Gadsden was founded in 1840, and was incorporated as a city in 1871. It was named for James Gadsden who negotiated the Gadsden Purchase. The city has a commission form of government, and is the seat of Etowah County.

See an 1887 bird's-eye view of Gadsden, from the archives of The Library of Congress.

Charles G. Summersell
World Book Encyclypedia

James Gadsden (1788-1858),

was an American statesman. While he was minister to Mexico from 1853 to 1856, he arranged for the United States to buy the strip of land known as the Gadsden Purchase. This land was needed for the route of a transcontinental railroad which he had planned as president of a railroad company. James Gadsden bas born on May 15, 1788, in Charleston, South Carolina.

Richard N. Current
World Book Encyclypedia