Montgomery is the capital of the state of Alabama, and is the county seat of Montgomery County. It is located on the Alabama River, in the Gulf Coastal Plain. As of the 2010 Census, Montgomery had a population of 205,764. It is the second-largest city in Alabama, after Birmingham, and the 103rd largest in the United States. The Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area had a 2010 estimated population of 374,536. It is the fourth-largest in the state and 136th among United States metropolitan areas.
The city was incorporated in 1819, as a merger of two towns situated along the Alabama River. It became the state capital in 1846, representing the shift of power to the south-central area with the growth of cotton as a commodity crop of the Black Belt and Mobile’s rise as a mercantile port. In February 1861, Montgomery was selected as the first capital of the Confederate States of America, until the seat of government moved to Richmond, Virginia, in May of that year. During the mid-20th century, Montgomery was a major site of events in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Selma to Montgomery marches.
In addition to housing many Alabama government agencies, Montgomery has a large military presence due to Maxwell Air Force Base; public universities Alabama State University, Troy University (Montgomery campus), and Auburn University at Montgomery; private colleges/universities Faulkner University and Huntingdon College; high-tech manufacturing, including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama; and cultural attractions such as the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
Two ships of the United States Navy have been named after the city, including USS Montgomery (LCS-8).