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The history of Birmingham in England spans 1400 years of growth, during which time it has evolved from a small 7th century Anglo Saxon hamlet on the edge of the Forest of Arden at the fringe of early Mercia to become a major city through a combination of immigration, innovation and civic pride that helped to bring about major social and economic reforms and to create the Industrial Revolution, inspiring the growth of similar cities across the world.The last 200 years have seen Birmingham rise from market town into the fastest-growing city of the 19th century, spurred on by a combination of civic investment, scientific achievement, commercial innovation and by a steady influx of migrant workers into its suburbs.
Place names ending in -ingahām are characteristic of primary settlements established during the early phases of Anglo-Saxon colonisation of an area, suggesting that Birmingham was probably in existence by the early 7th century at the latest.
Birmingham itself and the parishes in the centre and north of the area were probably colonised by the Tomsaete or "Tame-dwellers", who were Anglian tribes who migrated along the valleys of the Trent and the Tame from the Humber Estuary and later formed the kingdom of Mercia.
Parishes in the south of the current city such as Northfield and King's Norton were colonised during a later period by the Hwicce, a Saxon tribe whose migration north through the valleys of the Severn and Avon followed the West Saxons' victory over the Britons at the Battle of Dyrham in 577.
By the 20th century Birmingham had become the metropolitan hub of the United Kingdom's manufacturing and automotive industries, having earned itself a reputation first as a city of canals, then of cars, and most recently as a major European convention and shopping destination.
By the beginning of the 21st century, Birmingham lay at the heart of a major post-industrial metropolis surrounded by significant educational, manufacturing, shopping, sporting and conferencing facilities.