Define the South? Well...

The U.S. Southern states or The South, also known as Dixie, is perhaps the most distinctive region of the United States, with its own unique historical perspective, customs and cuisine.

(According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the origins of the nickname "Dixie" remain obscure.)

The word "Dixie" refers to a privately issued currency from banks in Louisiana. These banks issued ten-dollar notes, labeled "Dix" (French for "ten") on the reverse side. The notes were known as "Dixies" by English-speaking Southerners, and the area around New Orleans and the Cajun-speaking parts of Louisiana came to be known as "Dixieland". Eventually, usage of the term broadened to refer to most of the Southern States. Another theory: "Dixie" derives somehow from Jeremiah Dixon of the Mason-Dixon line defining the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania (the northern boundary of Dixie).
The Mason-Dixon theory is the most popularly known, but few lexicographers give it much weight.

Eleven Southern states left the Union and formed a separate nation, the Confederate States of America. Secession process Dec 1860-May 1861

Seven states seceded by March 1861:
South Carolina (December 20, 1860),
Mississippi (January 9, 1861),
Florida (January 10, 1861),
Alabama (January 11, 1861),
Georgia (January 19, 1861),
Louisiana (January 26, 1861),
Texas (February 1, 1861).
After Lincoln called for troops four more states seceded:
Virginia (April 17, 1861),[2]
Arkansas (May 6, 1861),
Tennessee (May 7, 1861).[3]
North Carolina (May 20, 1861)

Pro-Secession Factions in two states formed Confederate governments and seceded, though these states were also claimed by Union governments: Missouri (October 31, 1861 by the Neosho Legislature) Kentucky (November 20, 1861 by the Russellville Convention) Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware and West Virginia were contested territory but the Union won control by 1862.

As defined by the Census Bureau, the Southern region of the United States includes 16 states, and is split into three smaller units, or divisions: The South Atlantic States, which are Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia (plus the District of Columbia); the East South Central States of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee; and the West South Central States of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. There is some overlap with The Southwest and the Mid-Atlantic States.

Exceptions and Variations:
Southern Louisiana, having been colonized by France and Spain rather than Great Britain, has a different culture and traditions, especially with the Cajun culture of southwest Louisiana, and the Creole French, Latin American and Caribbean influenced culture of the New Orleans area.

During the American Civil War, Texas seceded from the United States on February 1, 1861, and joined the Confederate States of America March 2, 1861. Texas was most useful for supplying hardy soldiers for Confederate forces (veterans of the Mexican War), and in cavalry. As a whole, Texas was mainly a "supply state" for the Confederate forces until mid 1863, when the Union capture of the Mississippi River made large movements of men or cattle impossible. Texas regiments fought in every major battle throughout the war.

Texas was a dependency of New Spain, but was originally claimed for France, became its own "Kingdom of Texas" under the Spanish, then part of Mexico, and lastly the independent Republic of Texas. After being annexed by the United States, it sided with the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War. Thus, the claim to "six flags" over Texas. In many ways Texas has one foot in the South, and one in the Southwest. The major cities, especially Houston, see a very diverse population, especially that of Hispanic- and Asian-Americans.

Texas is a state in both the West and South regions of the United States of America. It is also considered part of the Southwest and the Great Plains.

(In my humble opinion, WEST Texas and Oklahoma are more Western than Southern in culture.)

Texas boasts that "Six Flags" have flown over its soil: the Fleur-de-lis of France, and the national flags of Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America and the Confederate States of America.

Florida has had rapid population growth due to retirees from the North and immigrants from Latin America. Miami, Florida has become more a part of the culture of the Caribbean, with a large influx of immigrants from Cuba, and also Puerto Rico, Haiti and other parts of Latin America, as non-Hispanic whites and native-born African Americans have fled north to find higher wages, lower costs of living, and cultures where they feel more comfortable. While southern and central Florida is seen by many as not truly part of the U.S. South in terms of culture, the areas of northeast Florida and the Panhandle still, for the most part, hold Southern traditions and ways-of-life dear.

The border states of the Civil War constitute a major definitional problem for the South.

Kentucky was a border state during the American Civil War and, for a time, had two state governments, one supporting the Confederacy and one supporting the Union. The original government of Kentucky remained in the Union after a short-lived attempt at neutrality, but a rival faction from that state (Russellville Convention, November 20, 1861) was accepted as a member of the Confederate States of America.

Kentucky did not secede. The state was officially neutral until a new legislature took office on August 5, 1861, with strong Union sympathies. The majority of the Commonwealth's citizens also had strong Union sympathies.

A more complex situation surrounds the Missouri Secession, but, in any event, Missouri was also considered a member of the Confederate States of America. With Kentucky and Missouri, the number of Confederate states is thus sometimes considered to be 13.

During the war, Missouri was claimed by both the Union and the (Confederacy -- October 31, 1861 by the Neosho Legislature), had two competing state governments, and sent representatives to the governments of both sides.

Missouri and Kentucky both formed rump secessionist governments that applied for admission to the Confederacy, and both remain partly or mostly Southern in culture to this day; the culture of Northern Kentucky is more Midwestern than Southern; the region is culturally and economically attached to Cincinnati. Although Missouri is often considered a Midwestern state, the Ozarks are typically lumped in with the Highland South, while Little Dixie in north-central Missouri is an outlier of Lowland Southern culture.

Conversely, Southern Indiana is more Southern than it is Midwestern, as it is culturally and economically attached to Louisville, Kentucky. Similarly, Southern Illinois (Little Egypt) is more Southern than it is Midwestern; it forms a coherent cultural region with the Missouri Bootheel, northeast Arkansas, Kentucky's Purchase, and West Tennessee.

Many do not consider Maryland and Delaware to be culturally Southern states, but the designation is disputed due to their proximity to both North and South. Today, they are sometimes grouped with Southern states for corporate and governmental administrative regions.

Northern Virginia has been largely settled by Northerners attracted to job opportunities resulting from expansion of the federal government since World War II. Still more expansion resulted from the Internet boom around the turn of the 21st century. Economically it is linked to Washington, D.C.. Residents of the region tend to consider it part of the North.

Prior to its statehood in 1907, Oklahoma was "Indian Territory." The majority of the Native American tribes sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War. Oklahoma is similar to Texas in that it has a southwestern influence. Still it has a strong southern cultural feel as evidenced by dialect, religion, politics, cuisine, etc.

However, not all definitions of the South are based on geographic divisions, with culture and history also playing a large role in defining what is the South. For example, the Deep South is a cultural and geographic subregion of the American South which consists of South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana (six of the seven original states of the Confederate States of America, the seventh state being Texas.

Who (and where) is Southern?
I say some are, and some ...not so much.
Discuss amongst yourselves.

FLORIDA (Panhandle)
TEXAS (specifically SOUTHEAST)

Everybody who is any body has heard: "Don't mess with Texas!"
Well folks, I messed with a Texan!
texasreb had me to understand his Texas is not Hollywood's Texas!
A MUST READ: Texas and the Deep South

HEAR! HEAR! I agree. But I must qualify WEST Texas is more Western in culture.

I grew up in West Texas and Arizona; lem'me tell ya' folks, El Paso, Lubbock 'n San Angelo ain't South'un !!

Headed West on I-20, when you see I-35 in your rearview mirror, you're outta "Dixieland"., civil war, war map

MY South is within the red-bordered states.
Virginia is more Yankee in culture: It's just a bit too close to D. C. I 'spose we have to count 'em Semi-Southern; being one of the original Confederate states. (The Union capital -- Washington D.C. -- and the Confederate capital -- Richmond were located a mere 100 miles apart.)

Florida...begs the question: Is there a "Southern bred, cornbread fed" citizen south of the panhandle?

Dylan said it best back in '64 -- "The times, they are a'changin' "...

I do NOT even want to get into the MASON-DIXON whys 'n wherefores! See: for a lengthy explanation.

Visit:, A great Southern Site.

Also see: Southern United States for additional confusion.