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From the 1830s onward, Mobile expanded into a city of commerce with a primary focus on the cotton and slave trades.
Many slaves were transported by ship in the coastwise slave trade from the Upper South.
There were many businesses in the city related to the slave trade – people to make clothes, food, and supplies for the slave traders and their wards.
The city's booming businesses attracted merchants from the North; by 1850 10% of its population was from New York City, which was deeply involved in the cotton industry.
Mobile first became a part of the United States of America in 1813, with the annexation by President James Madison of West Florida from Spain.
In 1861, Alabama joined the Confederate States of America, which surrendered in 1865.
Most of these colonial-era Jews in Mobile were merchants and traders from Sephardic Jewish communities in Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina; they added to the commercial development of Mobile.
While the British were dealing with their rebellious colonists along the Atlantic coast, the Spanish entered the war in 1779 as an ally of France.
This area was made a part of the expanded British West Florida colony.
The Spanish wished to eliminate any British threat to their Louisiana colony west of the Mississippi River, which they had received from France in the 1763 Treaty of Paris.
Their actions were condoned by the revolting American colonies, partially evidenced by the presence of Oliver Pollack, representative of the American Continental Congress.
Mobile's Roman Catholic parish was established on July 20, 1703, by Jean-Baptiste de la Croix de Chevrières de Saint-Vallier, Bishop of Quebec.
This early period was also the occasion of the importation of the first African slaves, transported aboard a French supply ship from the French colony of Saint-Domingue in the Caribbean, where they had first been held.