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Tuscaloosa (/tʌskəˈluːsə/ TUSK-ə-LOO-sə) is a city in and the seat of Tuscaloosa County in west central Alabama (in the southeastern United States). Located on the Black Warrior River, it is the fifth-largest city in Alabama, with an estimated population of 95,334 in 2013. Founded in 1819, the city was named after Tuskaloosa, the chieftain of a Muskogean-speaking people who battled and was defeated by Hernando de Soto in 1540 in the Battle of Mabila, and served as Alabama’s capital city from 1826 to 1846.
Tuscaloosa is the regional center of industry, commerce, healthcare, and education for the area of west-central Alabama known as West Alabama. It is the principal city of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Tuscaloosa, Hale and Pickens counties and has an estimated metro population in 2013 of 235,628. Tuscaloosa is also the home of the University of Alabama, Stillman College and Shelton State Community College. While the city attracted international attention when Mercedes-Benz announced it would build its first automotive assembly plant in North America in Tuscaloosa County, the University of Alabama remains the dominant economic and cultural engine in the city.
Tuscaloosa has been traditionally known as the “Druid City” because of the numerous water oaks planted in its downtown streets since the 1840s. The city has also become well known nationally for the University of Alabama’s success in sports, and particularly in football. City leaders adopted the moniker “The City of Champions” after the Alabama Crimson Tide football team won the BCS National Championship game in 2010, 2012, and again in 2013. In 2008, the City of Tuscaloosa hosted the USA Olympic Triathlon trials for the Beijing Games.