|Area: 267.77 kmē|
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands. Birmingham is the largest of England's core cities, and is generally considered to be the UK's second city. The city's reputation was forged as a powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, a fact which led to Birmingham being known as "the workshop of the world" or the "city of a thousand trades".
The City of Birmingham has a population of 1,001,200 (2005 estimate) . It forms part of the larger West Midlands conurbation, which has a population of 2,284,093 (2001 census) and includes several neighbouring towns and cities, such as Solihull, Wolverhampton and the towns of the Black Country.
The people of Birmingham are known as 'Brummies', a term derived from the city's nickname of Brum. This comes in turn from the city's dialect name, Brummagem, which is derived from an earlier name of the city, 'Bromwicham'. There is a distinctive Brummie dialect and accent.
Birmingham has a recorded history going back 1,000 years. In this time, it has grown from a tiny Anglo-Saxon farming village into a major industrial and commercial city.
The Birmingham area was occupied in Roman times, with several military roads and a large fort. Birmingham started life as a small Anglo-Saxon hamlet in the Early Middle Ages. It was first recorded in written documents by the Domesday Book of 1086 as a small village, worth only 20 shillings.
In the 12th century, Birmingham was granted a charter to hold a market, which in time became known as the Bull Ring. As a convenient location for trade, Birmingham soon developed into a small but thriving market town.
By the 16th century, Birmingham's access to supplies of iron ore and coal meant that metalworking industries became established. In the 17th century Birmingham became an important manufacturing town with a reputation for producing small arms. Birmingham manufacturers supplied Oliver Cromwell's forces with much of their weaponry during the English Civil War. Arms manufacture in Birmingham became a staple trade and was concentrated in the area known as the Gun Quarter.
During the Industrial Revolution (from the mid 18th century onwards), Birmingham grew rapidly into a major industrial centre. Unlike many other English industrial cities such as Manchester, industry in Birmingham was based upon small workshops rather than large factories or mills.