Birmingham, Alabama

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Birmingham (play /ˈbɜrmɪŋhæm/ BUR-ming-ham) is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. According to an estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2009, Birmingham had a population of about 230,650.[2] The Birmingham Metropolitan Area, in estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2009, had a population of about 1,212,848. The Birmingham Metropolitan Area contains about one-quarter of the entire population of Alabama.

Birmingham was founded in 1871, just after the American Civil War, through the merger of three pre-existing towns, and Birmingham grew from there, annexing many more of its smaller neighbors, into an industrial and railroad transportation powerhouse, especially in mining, the iron and steel industry, and railroading. Birmingham was named for Birmingham, England, once one of the major metal manufacturing industrial cities of Great Britain.

From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was the primary industrial center of the Southern United States. The astonishing pace of Birmingham's growth during the period from 1881 through 1920, Birmingham earned its nicknames "The Magic City" and "The Pittsburgh of the South." Much like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Birmingham's major industries were iron and steel production, plus a major component of the railroading industry, where rails and railroad cars were both manufactured in Birmingham. In the field of railroading, the two primary hubs of railroading in the Deep South were Atlanta, Georgia, and Birmingham, beginning in the 1860s and continuing through to the present day. Going clockwise from the due north, Birmingham is the nexus of railroad lines that connect it with Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Columbus, Georgia, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, Jackson, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee.

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