Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in theWest Midlands of England, in the United Kingdom. It is the most populous British city outsideLondon with 1,092,330 residents (2013 est.),and its population increase of 88,400 residents between the 2001 and 2011 censuses was greater than that of any other British local authority. The city lies within the West Midlands Built-up Area, the third most populous built-up area in the United Kingdom with 2,440,986 residents (2011 census), and its metropolitan areais the United Kingdom's second most populous with 3,701,107 residents (2012 est.).
A medium-sized market town during the medieval period, Birmingham grew to international prominence in the 18th century at the heart of the Midlands Enlightenment and subsequentIndustrial Revolution, which saw the town at the forefront of worldwide advances in science, technology and economic development, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society. By 1791 it was being hailed as "the first manufacturing town in the world". Birmingham's distinctive economic profile, with thousands of small workshops practising a wide variety of specialised and highly skilled trades, encouraged exceptional levels of creativity and innovation and provided a diverse and resilient economic base for industrial prosperity that was to last into the final quarter of the 20th century. Its resulting high level of social mobility also fostered a culture of broad-based political radicalism, that under leaders from Thomas Attwood to Joseph Chamberlain was to give it a political influence unparalleled in Britain outside London, and a pivotal role in the development of British democracy.
Today Birmingham's economy is dominated by the service sector. The city is a major international commercial centre, ranked as a beta−world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network; and an important transport, retail, events and conference hub. Itsmetropolitan economy is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a GDP of $114.3bn (2012 est., PPP), and its six universities make it the largest centre of higher education in the country outside London.Birmingham's major cultural institutions – including 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 – enjoy international reputations, and the city has vibrant and influential grassroots art, music, literary and culinaryscenes.
People from Birmingham are called 'Brummies', a term derived from the city's nickname of 'Brum'. This originates from the city's dialect name, Brummagem, which may in turn have been derived from one of the city's earlier names, 'Bromwicham'. There is a distinctive Brummie accent and dialect.
|City and Metropolitan borough
Clockwise, from top: skyline of Birmingham City Centre from the south; Birmingham Town Hall; St Martin's church andSelfridges department store in the Bull Ring; the University of Birmingham; St Philip's Cathedral; the Library of Birmingham.
|Nickname(s): "Brum", "Brummagem", "The Second City", "City of a thousand trades", "Workshop of the World"|
Birmingham shown within the West Midlands county
Birmingham is home to many national, religious and spiritual festivals including a St. George's Day party. The Birmingham Tattoois a long-standing military show held annually at the National Indoor Arena. The Caribbean-style Birmingham International Carnival takes place in odd numbered years.Birmingham Pride takes place in the gay village and attracts up to 100,000 visitors each year. From 1997 until December 2006, the city hosted an annual arts festival ArtsFest, the largest free arts festival in the UK at the time. The city's largest single-day event is its St. Patrick's Day parade (Europe's second largest, after Dublin). Other multicultural events include the Bangla Mela and the Vaisakhi Mela. The Birmingham Heritage Festival is a Mardi Gras style event in August. Caribbean and African culture are celebrated with parades and street performances by buskers.
Other festivals in the city include the Birmingham International Jazz Festival,"Party in the Park"was o riginally a festival hosted by local and regional radio stations which died down in 2007 and has now been brought back to life as an unsigned festival for regional unsigned acts to showcase themselves in a one day music festival for the whole family. Birmingham Comedy Festival (since 2001; 10 days in October), which has been headlined by such acts as Peter Kay, The Fast Show, Jimmy Carr, Lee Evans and Lenny Henry, and the Off The Cuff Festival established in 2009. The biennial International Dance Festival Birmingham started in 2008, organised by DanceXchange and involving indoor and outdoor venues across the city. Since 2001, Birmingham has also been host to the Frankfurt Christmas Market. Modelled on its German counterpart, it has grown to become the UK's largest outdoor Christmas market and is the largest German market outside of Germany and Austria,attracting over 3.1 million visitors in 2010 and over 5 million visitors in 2011.