Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie
Dixie is a nickname for the Southern United States.- Origin of the name :According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the origins of this nickname remain obscure. According to A Dictionary of Americanisms on Historical Principles , by Mitford M...

, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area
Area is a quantity that expresses the extent of a two-dimensional surface or shape in the plane. Area can be understood as the amount of material with a given thickness that would be necessary to fashion a model of the shape, or the amount of paint necessary to cover the surface with a single coat...

 in the southeastern
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

 and south-central
South Central United States
The South Central United States or South Central states is a region of the United States located in the south central part of the country. It evolved out of the archaic southwest, which originally was literally the western U.S. South...

 United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The region is known for its distinct culture and history, having developed its own customs, literature, musical styles, and varied cuisines
Cuisine of the Southern United States
The cuisine of the Southern United States is defined as the historical regional culinary form of states generally south of the Mason Dixon Line dividing Pennsylvania from Maryland and Delaware as well as along the Ohio River, and extending west to Southern Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.The most...

 that have helped distinguish itself from the rest of the United States. The South owes its unique heritage to a variety of sources, including Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

, early European settlements of Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

, English
English American
English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

, French
French American
French Americans or Franco-Americans are Americans of French or French Canadian descent. About 11.8 million U.S. residents are of this descent, and about 1.6 million speak French at home.An additional 450,000 U.S...

, Scots-Irish, Scottish
Scottish American
Scottish Americans or Scots Americans are citizens of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in Scotland. Scottish Americans are closely related to Scots-Irish Americans, descendants of Ulster Scots, and communities emphasize and celebrate a common heritage...

, and German, importation of hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans, historic dependence on slave labor, presence of a large proportion of African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

s in the population, and the aftermath of the Confederacy
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 after the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...


Historically, the South has relied heavily on agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...