Birmingham was founded in 1871, just after the American Civil War, as an industrial enterprise. It was named after Birmingham, one of the United Kingdom's major industrial cities. Through the middle of the 20th century, Birmingham was the primary industrial center of the Southern United States. The astonishing pace of Birmingham's growth through the turn of the century earned it the nicknames "The Magic City" and "The Pittsburgh of the South". Much like Pittsburgh in the north, Birmingham's major industries were iron and steel production.
After Atlanta fell to the United States during the Second Great War in 1944, Birmingham was one of the few industrial areas available to the C.S. war effort, and so was immediately the subject of heavy U.S. bombing and attack. Given its importance, Confederate General George Patton attempted to hold the city in a Pittsburgh-esque battle. However, the U.S. superbomb attacks on Newport News and Charleston made that plan impossible. Instead, Patton had no choice but to surrender his troops and himself at Birmingham.