City and space flight and aviation center, in N Alabama 85 mi N of Birmingham. Settled in 1805 and made the state’s first capital in 1819, it was the site of the 18th-century constitutional convention in Alabama. It was burned and captured by Union troops during the Civil War in 1862. Leroy Pope Walker, the Confederate secretary of war, was born here. The Marshall Space Flight Center was established here by NASA in 1960.