Birmingham is an important city and the most populous city in the US state of Alabama and is the county seat of Jefferson County. Founded in 1871, it grew from annexing many more of its smaller neighbors, into an industrial and railroad transportation center with a focus on mining, the iron and steel industry, and railroading. Birmingham was named for Birmingham, England, one of the UK's major industrial cities.
From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the southern United States. The pace of Birmingham's growth during the period from 1881 through 1920 earned its nicknames ''The Magic City'' and ''The Pittsburgh of the South''. Though the manufacturing industry maintains a strong presence in the city, other businesses and industries such as banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have risen in stature. The city ranks as one of the most important business centers in the Southeastern United States and is also one of the largest banking centers in the United States. In addition, the Birmingham area serves as headquarters to one Fortune 500 company: Regions Financial, along with five other Fortune 1000 companies.