Birmingham ( ming-ham) is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. According to the 2010 United States Census, Birmingham had a population of 212,237. The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area, in estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2009, had a population of about 1,212,848; approximately one-quarter of Alabama's population. Birmingham was founded in 1871, just after the American Civil War, through the merger of three pre-existing towns, and Birmingham grew from there, annexing many more of its smaller neighbors, into an industrial and railroad transportation powerhouse, especially in mining, the iron and steel industry, and railroading. Birmingham was named for Birmingham, England, one of the major manufacturing industrial cities of England. Most of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. It was planned as a city where cheap, non-unionized, African-American labor from rural South Alabama could be employed in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeastern United States. From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was the primary industrial center of the Southern United States. The astonishing pace of Birmingham's growth during the period from 1881 through 1920, Birmingham earned its nicknames "The Magic City" and "The Pittsburgh of the South." Much like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Birmingham's major industries were iron and steel production, plus a major component of the railroading industry, where rails and railroad cars were both manufactured in Birmingham. In the field of railroading, the two primary hubs of railroading in the Deep South were Atlanta, Georgia, and Birmingham, beginning in the 1860s and continuing through to the present day. Going clockwise from the due north, Birmingham is the nexus of railroad lines that connect it with Nashville, Tennessee; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Atlanta, Georgia; Columbus, Georgia; Montgomery, Alabama; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; and Memphis, Tennessee. Birmingham's economy diversified during the later half of the twentieth century. Though the manufacturing industry maintains a strong presence in Birmingham, other businesses and industries such as banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have risen in stature. Mining in the Birmingham area is practically a dead industry, except for coal mining, which remains a large business. Major banks and insurance companies have long been strong in Birmingham, and as mentioned above, Birmingham is a nexus of railroading, especially railroad freight. With the advent of the truck and the automobile, the great growth of the U.S. Highways, and then the Interstate Highways, Birmingham also became a powerful center of the trucking industry, and also car and intercity bus transportation. Just west of Birmingham, at "Port Birmingham", there is a riverport on the Black Warrior River, which now serves mostly for the shipping of barges of coal to the seaport of Mobile, Alabama, but in past decades, long removed, Port Birmingham has served as a port both for the import of iron ore from various countries, and for the export of iron and steel products to other parts of the United States and to foreign countries. In the field of college and university education, Birmingham has been the location of the UAB School of Medicine and the University of Alabama School of Dentistry since 1947, and since that time, it has also become provided with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (founded circa 1969), one of three main campuses of the University of Alabama, and also with the private Birmingham-Southern College. Between these two universities and Samford University, the Birmingham area has major colleges of medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, law, engineering, and nursing. Birmingham is home to three of the state's five law schools: Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham School of Law, and Miles Law School. Today, Birmingham ranks as one of the most important business centers in the Southeastern United States and is also one of the largest banking centers in the United States. In addition, the Birmingham area serves as headquarters to one Fortune 500 company: Regions Financial. Five Fortune 1000 companies are headquartered in Birmingham.