Birmingham is an English city located in the centre of the West Midlands region of England on the Birmingham Plateau. It is North of the Lickey Hills, the Clent Hills and the Walton Hill, and close to the River Tame. No less than 1,092,330 people live in Birmingham, making it the most populous British city outside London.
Birmingham used to be a medium-sized market town during the medieval period. It only grew to international importance in the 18th century, as a result of the Midlands Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. At that time, Birmingham was at the forefront of worldwide advances in science, technology and economic development. Thus, soon it was known as “the first manufacturing town in the world”.
Subsequently, the city showed a high level of social mobility, which was accompanied by a culture of political radicalism. This is how Birmingham gained a political influence unparalleled in Britain outside London, and an essential role in the development of British democracy.
Nowadays, this metropolis bears the second largest economy in the United Kingdom. It has six universities and many cultural institutions, such as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Library of Birmingham and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. Both its universities and its cultural institutions enjoy international reputations, making Birmingham the largest centre of higher education in the country outside London, and also a privileged scenario for art, music, literary and culinary activity.
Birmingham was once known by the alias Brum, which derived from its dialect name, Brummagem. Today, people from this city are still called Brummies. Their distinctive accent is also known as the Brummie accent.