Tuscaloosa is located in Tuscaloosa County (Central Region), laying 43 miles southwest of Birmingham along Interstate 20/59, on the banks of the Warrior River near Lake Lurleen State Park placing it as part of the Tuscaloosa, Alabama metro area.
Tuscaloosa is characterized by broad streets and tree-lined avenues. As of the year 2000, the city was estimated to have 77,906 inhabitants.
The word Tuscaloosa comes from two Choctaw Indian words, tushka (warrior) and lusa (black). It is believed that the city received its name from the Indian chief Tuskalusa, who was defeated by Hernando de Soto in 1540.
The cities industrial base includes the Mercedes Benz M-Class SUV assembly plant, which began production in 1997. In addition, the manufacturing plants of such international firms as Michelin Tires and JVC America have positioned the city in the world economy.
Tuscaloosa is the home of the University of Alabama, Stillman College, and the Shelton State Community College.