Black Country

Black Country, highly industrialized region, historically mostly in Staffordshire but partly in Worcestershire and Warwickshire, W central England. It includes Dudley, Rowley Regis (see Warley), Tipton, Walsall, Wednesbury, West Bromwich, and Wolverhampton. From the mid-18th to the mid-19th cent. the area's resources—coal, iron, clay, and limestone—made iron smelting and the manufacture of iron products the main industries. The black smoke from the factories is said to have given the region its name, but name most likely arose because in the region coal was at or near the surface. Since the iron and coal mines have been depleted, regional industries use iron, steel, brass, and copper from other localities to manufacture metal products. These include hardware, tubes, boilers, machinery and machine tools, home appliances, and road and rail vehicles. There are also chemical and constructional-engineering industries. The region was included (1974–86) in the metropolitan county of West Midlands.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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