The History of One of Alabama’s Greatest Cities

Birmingham city enjoys a strategic location in Jefferson County in the north-central part of Alabama. It is also Alabama’s most populous city, with a population of about 210,710 (2017 U.S. Census). The city lies in the fifth largest county in Alabama, within a 148-square mile area. On the other hand, the Jefferson County lies within a 1,124-square mile area, with an estimated population of 659, 197 (2017 U.S. Census).

Founded in 1871, the city was named after its sister city in England, which is the second largest city in the entire United Kingdom. The Alabama-based city started during the Reconstruction era, after the Civil War. Starting as an industrial center propelled by mining, rail transport, and the newly-formed iron and steel industry, the city grew to become a popular place for sourcing affordable, non-unionized immigrant labor. Irish and Italian immigrants largely provided the labor alongside African Americas in the rural parts of the county. The blast furnaces and steel mills sector employed the immigrants and competed with unionized industrial cities located in the Northeast and Midwest regions.

Since its founding in1881 through to the 1960s, its growth as an industrial center earned it the nickname “The Magic City”, thanks to the steel and iron production industries. The remaining half of the twentieth century was characterized by a diversification of the economy to include electrical power transmission, insurance, college education, medical care, telecommunications, and banking. Some of the United States largest banking centers are also found here. Major colleges of nursing, pharmacy, medicine, dentistry, optometry, engineering, law, and physical therapy can be found in the Birmingham area. When the Elyton Land Company founded the city in 1871, they focused on cotton planting, railroad, and banking. The city has since grown to become a diversified economy with several functional industries and sectors.

Birmingham lies in Jones Valley, bordered by extensive parallel mountain ridges stretching from northeast through to southwest. Valley and Village Creeks drain the valley and feed the Black Warrior River. Toward the south of downtown lies Red Mountain, Sand Mountain to the north and Ruffner Mountain to the east. Birmingham lies 237 km (147 miles) west of the neighboring Atlanta and 385 km (239 miles) southeast of Memphis, Tennessee. It is also 148km (92 miles) north of Montgomery and 309 km (192 miles) south of Nashville. The city is 1.71% covered in water while the remaining 98.29% is on an extensive piece of land.

Based on the 2010 U.S. Census, African Americans comprised 73.4% of the population, which is the largest in the city, followed by 22.3% White population. Hispanic or Latinos comprise 3.6% whereas Asians and Native Americans are 1% and 0.2% of the population, respectively. Pacific Islanders take up about 0.04% of the population while the remaining is shared among other minority races.

As the most populous city in the state, Birmingham boasts a population of about 210, 710 (2017 U.S. Census). The greater metropolitan area has a population of about 1, 128, 000 and includes numerous suburb cities, including Alabaster, Homewood, Center Point, Fairfield, and Bessemer