Madison is a city located primarily in Madison County, near the northern border of the U.S. state of Alabama. Madison extends west into neighboring Limestone County. The city is included in the Huntsville Metropolitan Area, the second-largest in the state, and is also included in the merged Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 42,938. Madison is bordered by Huntsville on nearly all sides with minor unincorporated Madison county and Limestone pockets.
Madison was mostly a small city for many years until the creation of Redstone Arsenal, which brought many people to the area and rapidly increased Madison's population and economic growth to the point that Madison is the second largest city north of the Tennessee river only behind neighboring Huntsville (Decatur is mostly south of the Tennessee river). Many of Madison's residents work in Research Park or the Redstone Arsenal. To this day, Madison has been the fastest growing city of the top 10 cities in Alabama and is one of the wealthiest cities on average.
This area was occupied historically by the Koasati (also known as Coushatta), a Muskogean-speaking people and, before them, thousands of years of indigenous cultures.
Madison's first European-American resident was John Cartwright, who settled in the area in 1818.