Birmingham is one of Alabama’s most populous cities. It is situated in the north- central area of Alabama State, in the Jefferson County. It is in fact the seat of this county despite the fact that it is one of the county’s youngest cities. The city experienced rapid growth from days of being a sleepy residence to the thriving city it is, although this upward journey was marked with many ups and downs. The city owes most of its economic prosperity to the fact that nature endowed it with many rich minerals, although it has evolved out of the reliance of iron making to more varieties of economic activities. Here is Birmingham Alabama history:
In the beginning…
The earliest records of the city’s history begin when it did not even have its current name. It was first discovered by a group of veteran soldiers who had formed part of the victorious General Andrew Jackson’s army. They probably wanted a place to find some calm after the obvious savage conditions in the battlefield. These early settlers found a home in present day Birmingham in 1815. However, because the place had little fertile soils and was cut off from the rest of the world, it grew very slowly. Its breakthrough came when a group of investors realized the potential of this wild land thanks to its rich mineral deposits.
These investors asked for the help of a company from the nearby town of Elyton in building a city in Jefferson County. Birmingham was then selected as the appropriate place for this construction. The president of the Elyton Land Company was a jolly fellow named James R Powell. He had just returned from Birmingham city in England, and that was a place rich in iron and had many iron and steel making industries. He suggested this name for the city to be built and the name stuck.
Powell was elected as the city’s second mayor and he really rallied for the city to be elected as the seat of the Jefferson County, an honor that had been previously bestowed on Elyton city. Birmingham was successfully elected as the seat, thanks to the huge numbers of black residents who whole heartedly supported Powell.
Where trouble began…
Despite its success, Birmingham city suffered two major epidemics in the years that followed this election. One was the disastrous cholera epidemic that claimed the lives of many and forced more to flee the city. Another was an economic epidemic in 1873 that drove even more people out of the city. In these very hard times, the city survived because of the minerals.
Later on, the Pratt Mines were opened and they led to the city’s economic prosperity. The residents acquired jobs as workers in the pig iron producing industries and the city flourished in ways that people could not have foreseen. Birmingham transformed from a city of violence and shabbiness to a city of order and class.
Even when Birmingham was at the top of its economic excellence, it experienced another crisis. In October of 1929, the stock market of the city collapsed. This time, not only did the residents flee the city, but also the investors who had come earlier on deserted the city. Even the U.S Steel, a national company, shut down it mills. The city was right back to the drain.
With the start of the Second World War however, the U.S needed iron weapons and it was to Birmingham that they rushed, reopening factories and manufacturing more weapons. Within no time, Birmingham was back at the top of the country’s economy.
Modern day Birmingham
In later years, Birmingham was to brave civil unrests in order to stop racism that was very rampant in the 1960’s. In spite of all of these seemingly insurmountable challenges, Birmingham has developed into one of the country’s largest cities, boasting of the best medical facilities such as the medical and research center in the university of Alabama at Birmingham. The city also has good transport facilities and an international airport. From its tiny beginnings, Birmingham has sprouted into the large, beautiful and vivacious city that we know today.