It came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, formed from parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.
The county itself is a NUTS 2 region within the wider NUTS 1 region of the same name.
Coventry was slower to develop, but by the early 20th century, it had become an important centre of bicycle and car manufacture.
Birmingham was known for its manufacture of small arms, whereas Wolverhampton became a centre of lock manufacture and brass working.
The coal and iron ore deposits of the Black Country area provided a ready source of raw materials.
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