Tuscaloosa ( TUS-kə-LOO-sə) is a city in and the seat of Tuscaloosa County in west-central Alabama, United States, on the Black Warrior River where the Gulf Coastal and Piedmont plains meet. Alabama’s fifth-largest city, it had an estimated population of 101,129 in 2019. It was known as Tuskaloosa until the early 20th century. It is also known as the Druid City because of the numerous water oaks planted in its downtown streets since the 1840s.
Incorporated on December 13, 1819, it was named after Tuskaloosa, the chief of a band of Muskogean-speaking people defeated by the forces of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1540 in the Battle of Mabila, in what is now central Alabama. It 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; and the principal city of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Tuscaloosa, Hale and Pickens counties.
It is the home of the University of Alabama, Stillman College and Shelton State Community College. While it attracted international attention when Mercedes-Benz announced on September 30, 1993 that it would build its first North American automotive assembly plant in Tuscaloosa County, the University of Alabama remains the city’s dominant economic and cultural engine, making it a college town. City leaders adopted the moniker “The City of Champions” after the Alabama Crimson Tide football team won the BCS National Championship in their 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2020 seasons.
In 2008, Tuscaloosa hosted the USA Olympic Triathlon trials for the Beijing Games. Through the 2000s and 2010s, it has been declared the “Most Livable City in America”, one of America’s “100 Best Communities for Young People”, one of the “50 Best College Towns”, and one of the “Best Places to Launch a Small Business”.