Because the USA started in the east of North America and then spread west, ‘the South’ does not refer to the entire south of the modern USA but to the south of the country as it stood immediately after the 1803 Louisiana purchase. Later westward expansion meant what was once the south of the USA actually became the south east, but the old name stuck. There is no fixed definition of which states comprise ‘the South’. For most people it conjures up images of the Civil War and Gone with the Wind, but to define the South as the states that joined the Confederacy would be putting too much emphasis on one tragic episode in history. Texas may have been part of the Confederacy, but its Mexican heritage means that historically it has much more in common with New Mexico and Arizona so we have grouped them together in the Southwest. In addition to the other states that seceded we have included Kentucky which was a slave state that did not join the Confederacy and West Virginia which broke away from Virginia during the Civil War to rejoin the Union.
Click on Map above to explore the South