A panel considered Coventry's bid for the title alongside those from Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Swansea and Sunderland.
The Culture Minister, John Glen, then announced the news from the 2017 City of Culture, Hull.
The title of UK City of Culture, awarded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), is held by a different city in the UK every four years. It’s designed to showcase the city’s culture and heritage, and to bring social and economic benefits.
Coventry is the third city to be awarded the title, after Hull and Derry~Londonderry.
Coventry is also in line for £3million of National Lottery funding, to put its diverse heritage at the heart of its ambitious programme of events.
The funding will be applied for through HLF which, following a successful similar investment into Hull this year, has committed £3m of National Lottery funding to the holder of the title of UK City of Culture from 2021 onwards.
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive HLF, said: “Congratulations Coventry! From the International Transport Museum to the Herbert Art Gallery, HLF has invested over £36m into the city’s heritage so we know just how special it is and its importance to its identity, economy and communities.
“Whether a famous landmark or an untold family story, the eyes of the UK and beyond are turning to Coventry and we’re delighted that National Lottery funding will be shining a spotlight on its unique culture and heritage.”