Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London with 1,073,000 residents (2011 census), an increase of 96,000 over the previous decade. The city lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a population of 2,284,093 (2001 census). Its metropolitan area is also the United Kingdom's second most populous with 3,683,000 residents. 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 subsequent Industrial Revolution, which saw the town at the forefront of worldwide developments in science, technology and economic organisation, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society.
Contributions by G-Man, Pigsonthewing, and 80.255.