Birmingham is known as the Black Planet because it receives almost no visible light from its system's sun. As a result, the world receives few visitors from the wider Imperium, and its inhabitants have become linguistically and culturally isolated. Its technology is primitive and pre-industrial compared to the rest of the Imperium. For instance, the favoured weapon among the natives is still the black powder musket.
In 849.M41, a Drukhari raiding force attacked several outposts on Birmingham, causing the Imperium to lose all contact with the planet. Subsequent investigations discovered that almost the entire planetary population had been slughtered or carried off as slaves by the xenos raiders.
In 888.M41, the desolate world was again the site of conflict. This time the daemonic horde of Skulltaker, a Bloodletter Herald of Khorne, attempted to transform the planet into a Daemon World through dark rituals.
Warned of the attempt, a force of Grey Knights managed to land on the planet, and the Purifier Garran Crowe challenged the mighty daemon to single combat. Crowe managed to weaken the Daemon with a vial of the Emperor's tears, battling the Daemon to a standstill and buying enough time to win the day.
By 998.M41, Birmingham's population had recovered enough to once more serve as a source of recruitment for the Imperial Guard. Birmingham also now served as the Chapter planet for the Harbingers, a Chapter of Space Marines known to specialise in voidship boarding operations and planetary drop assaults.
- Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1st Edition), pg. 73
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition), pp. 127, 138
- Codex: Grey Knights (5th Edition), pg. 15