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12 Things We Have Alabama To Thank For

Y'all are welcome anytime. And while you're there, take a test drive in the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, proudly built in Montgomery.

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1. Mardi Gras

Handout / Reuters

15 years before New Orleans was even founded, the city of Mobile hosted the first Mardi Gras celebration in the United States — and it's still a must-see annual event. Over one million partygoers filled downtown Mobile for the Carnival in 2009.

2. The First Successful Submarine

Richard Cummins / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images

Privately assembled in Mobile during the Civil War, the H. L. Hunley measured 40 feet long and carried a nine-person crew — eight to hand-crank the propeller and one to steer. In 1864, it became the very first submarine in history to sink a warship.

4. The Saturn V Rocket

SSPL / Getty Images

Nicknamed "The Rocket City" for its close ties to the space program, Huntsville, Alabama proved instrumental to NASA in the sixties and seventies as the birthplace of the Saturn V, the rocket that sent humans to the moon — like, oh, Neil Armstrong.

5. Harper Lee

Donald Uhrbrock / The LIFE Images Collection / Getty Images

Born in Monroeville in 1926, beloved author Harper Lee won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 for her only novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, which was partly based on her Alabama upbringing. Today, students all over the country still read and cherish her work.

6. The Van de Graaff Generator

Boston Museum of Science (CC BY-SA http://3.0) / Via

Remember that electrostatic ball from science class — the one that made your hair stand on end when you touched it? It's called a Van de Graaff generator, and it came from Tuscaloosa-born physicist Robert J. Van de Graaff, so yeah — you're welcome.

7. Lionel Richie

David Redfern / Redferns / Getty Images

Originally a member of the funk/soul outfit The Commodores, Lionel Richie went on to become one of the most successful stars of the 1980s, earning five GRAMMYs, an Oscar, and selling 100 million albums worldwide. And hello — he's from Tuskegee!

9. 105 Different Ways of Eating Peanuts

While he didn't invent peanut butter, George Washington Carver did publish a bulletin detailing 105 different ways to eat peanuts, among many other things. And where did he do it? In his lab at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, of course!

10. The Klaxon Horn

Via Cineflex (CC BY http://3.0) and the http://U.S. Navy (CC0)

Turn your volume down. That beautiful sound was composed by Montrose native Miller Reese Hutchison. Because musical car horns were so ineffective, Hutchison purposely designed the awooga noise as "disagreeable and penetrating." Nice job!

11. The Hearing Aid

Joe Haupt (CC BY-SA http://2.0) / Via Flickr: 51764518@N02

Still deaf from the Klaxon horn? Good, because the same Alabamian also invented the first portable electric hearing aid in 1901. A year later, Hutchison traveled across the Atlantic to personally present his invention to England's Queen Alexandria.

The First Hyundai Plant

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Based in Montgomery, Hyundai's first plant in the United States is the starting point of a 3,000-mile test drive starring the all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata. Join us here!

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