Its most successful football club Aston Villa has won seven league titles and one European Cup with the other professional club being Birmingham City. Birmingham's early history is that of a remote and marginal area.The main centres of population, power and wealth in the pre-industrial English Midlands lay in the fertile and accessible river valleys of the Trent, the Severn and the Avon.This included the construction of large tower block estates, such as Castle Vale.
A medium-sized market town in 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 advances in science, technology, and economic development, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society.
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.
This led to exceptional levels of inventiveness: between 17 – the core years of the Industrial Revolution – Birmingham residents registered over three times as many patents as those of any other British town or city.
In 1709 the Birmingham-trained Abraham Darby I moved to Coalbrookdale in Shropshire and built the first blast furnace to successfully smelt iron ore with coke, transforming the quality, volume and scale on which it was possible to produce cast iron.
From the summer of 1940 to the spring of 1943, Birmingham was bombed heavily by the German Luftwaffe in what is known as the Birmingham Blitz.
The damage done to the city's infrastructure, in addition to a deliberate policy of demolition and new building by planners, led to extensive demolition and redevelopment in subsequent decades.
In 1765 Matthew Boulton opened the Soho Manufactory, pioneering the combination and mechanisation under one roof of previously separate manufacturing activities through a system known as "rational manufacture".
Freeing for the first time the manufacturing capacity of human society from the limited availability of hand, water and animal power, this was arguably the pivotal moment of the entire industrial revolution and a key factor in the worldwide increases in productivity that would follow over the following century.
Relationships were built around pragmatic commercial linkages rather than the rigid paternalism and deference of feudal society, and loyalties to the traditional hierarchies of the established church and aristocracy were weak.
and its leading citizens – particularly the members of the Lunar Society of Birmingham – became influential participants in the circulation of philosophical and scientific ideas among Europe's intellectual elite. Instead of the economies of scale of a low-paid, unskilled workforce producing a single bulk commodity such as cotton or wool in large, mechanised units of production, Birmingham's industrial development was built on the adaptability and creativity of a highly paid workforce with a strong division of labour, practising a broad variety of skilled specialist trades and producing a constantly diversifying range of products, in a highly entrepreneurial economy of small, often self-owned workshops.
By the 1820s, an extensive canal system had been constructed, giving greater access to natural resources and fuel for industries.