Birmingham Alabama USA

Birmingham Alabama

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Birmingham Brief City History:
Birmingham, largest city in Alabama, U.S., located in the north-central part of the state. It is a leading industrial centre of the South. Birmingham is the seat (1873) of Jefferson county, a port of entry in the Mobile customs district, and the focus of a large metropolitan area that includes the surrounding counties of Blount, St. Clair, and Shelby as well as such cities as Bessemer, Homewood, and Fairfield. The site, in the narrow Jones Valley at the southern end of the Appalachian Mountain system, was settled about 1813, and Elyton (now part of Birmingham) became the county seat in 1821. In 1870 the east-west and north-south railroads met at this point; the city was founded there the following year by a land company backed by railroad officials. Named for Birmingham, England, it developed as the iron and steel center of the South. The city’s industrialization was based primarily on abundant local deposits of coal, limestone, and iron ore, essential for making steel. Dolomite, marble, barites, bauxite, pyrite, quartz, millstone, clays, sand, and gravel were also found in the area. Birmingham’s most important products are iron, steel, and related manufactures (including cast-iron pipe and wrought-iron furniture). The city’s industrial trend is toward diversification, and other products include aircraft parts, fire extinguishers, chemicals, paint, electronics, furniture, paper products, automotive parts, plastics, and textiles. Coal mining and high-technology industries also contribute to the economy. Education, government, banking, and health care are the chief service industries. From nearby Port Birmingham an inland waterway leads southward to the seaport of Mobile on the Gulf of Mexico.

The city is the seat of several institutions of higher education, the largest of which, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is a unit (founded 1969) of the state university system. Birmingham-Southern College (Methodist) was created in 1918 by the consolidation of Birmingham College (1898) and Southern University, established at Greensboro in 1856. Samford University (Baptist; chartered in 1841 at Marion) moved to Birmingham in 1887, where it was operated as Howard College until 1965. Miles College, maintained by the Methodist Episcopal church, was founded in 1905. Birmingham is also home to the Birmingham School of Law (1915) and Southeastern Bible College (1935) as well as several community colleges. The city’s medical centre includes the medical and dental colleges of the University of Alabama and a number of specialized hospitals and clinics. The Southern Research Institute, founded in Birmingham in 1941, now has facilities in several other southern states.