The University of Alabama was founded in 1820. The newly-formed Alabama Territory had been authorized by Congress to found a "seminary of learning" in 1818.
The Alabama State Legislature chose a site just outside of Tuscaloosa, at that time the state's capital, for the new university's home. In 1860, on the eve of the United States Civil War, the school became a military academy. Many of its graduates from this time would go on to serve as officers in the Confederate Army. Other important dates in the history of the University of Alabama include 1892, when the first football team was founded, and 1956, when the first African American student was enrolled, though the first sustained African American enrollment did not come until 1963.