South Central United States
Overview
 
The South Central United States or South Central states is a region of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 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. The states of Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, and Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 (which make up the Census Bureau Division called West South Central States
West South Central States
The West South Central States form one of the nine Census Bureau Divisions of the United States that are officially designated by the United States Census Bureau.Four states compose the division: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas...

) are almost always considered the "core" of the region. As part of the East South Central States
East South Central States
The East South Central States constitute one of the nine Census Bureau Divisions of the United States.Four states make up the division: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee...

 sub-group of the Census Bureau classification, Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

 and Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

 are also frequently listed under the heading.
Encyclopedia
The South Central United States or South Central states is a region of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 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. The states of Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, and Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 (which make up the Census Bureau Division called West South Central States
West South Central States
The West South Central States form one of the nine Census Bureau Divisions of the United States that are officially designated by the United States Census Bureau.Four states compose the division: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas...

) are almost always considered the "core" of the region. As part of the East South Central States
East South Central States
The East South Central States constitute one of the nine Census Bureau Divisions of the United States.Four states make up the division: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee...

 sub-group of the Census Bureau classification, Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

 and Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

 are also frequently listed under the heading. At the highest extent, Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

, and New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

 may be included by some sources. With the exception of New Mexico, all or parts these states are in the Central Time Zone (North America). At different and changing points in time, all of the above states were/are considered part of the West
Western United States
.The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West or simply "the West," traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. Because the U.S. expanded westward after its founding, the meaning of the West has evolved over time...

 in the American history
History of the United States
The history of the United States traditionally starts with the Declaration of Independence in the year 1776, although its territory was inhabited by Native Americans since prehistoric times and then by European colonists who followed the voyages of Christopher Columbus starting in 1492. The...

.

Geography

The climate varies from the semi-tropical in the Mississippi Delta
Mississippi Delta
The Mississippi Delta is the distinctive northwest section of the U.S. state of Mississippi that lies between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers. The region has been called "The Most Southern Place on Earth" because of its unique racial, cultural, and economic history...

, South Louisiana, and Southeast Texas
Southeast Texas
Southeast Texas is a subregion of East Texas located in the southeast corner of the U.S. state of Texas. The subregion is geographically centered around the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown and Beaumont–Port Arthur metropolitan areas...

, to the dry Chihuahuan desert
Chihuahuan Desert
The Chihuahuan Desert is a desert, and an ecoregion designation, that straddles the U.S.-Mexico border in the central and northern portions of the Mexican Plateau, bordered on the west by the extensive Sierra Madre Occidental range, and overlaying northern portions of the east range, the Sierra...

 in West Texas
West Texas
West Texas is a vernacular term applied to a region in the southwestern quadrant of the United States that primarily encompasses the arid and semi-arid lands in the western portion of the state of Texas....

 and southern New Mexico. The southeastern portions include the Appalachian mountains in Alabama and Tennessee and the Piney Woods
Piney Woods
The Piney Woods is a temperate coniferous forest terrestrial ecoregion in the Southern United States covering of East Texas, southern Arkansas, western Louisiana, and southeastern Oklahoma. These coniferous forests are dominated by several species of pine as well as hardwoods including hickory and...

 of East Texas
East Texas
East Texas is a distinct geographic and ecological area in the U.S. state of Texas.According to the Handbook of Texas, the East Texas area "may be separated from the rest of Texas roughly by a line extending from the Red River in north central Lamar County southwestward to east central Limestone...

, Louisiana, and southern Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta. Large portion of the northeastern quarter of the region is mountainous, with the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains
Ouachita Mountains
The Ouachita Mountains are a mountain range in west central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. The range's subterranean roots may extend as far as central Texas, or beyond it to the current location of the Marathon Uplift. Along with the Ozark Mountains, the Ouachita Mountains form the U.S...

 of Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. The northwest quarter of the region is dominated by the Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

 which become progressively drier west of 100° W,
forming the North American Llano
Llano
Llano is the Spanish word for plain. It may refer to:* Llano, California* Llano Estacado, a region in northwest Texas and eastern New Mexico* Llano, Texas, a small city in Llano County, Texas* Llano County, Texas* Llano River, a Texan river...

. The southwestern portions border the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

, and are generally drier than other areas of the South Central United States, Central Texas having the most annual precipitation.

Texas is the largest South Central state by both area and population—even when New Mexico is included. Texas is still home to over half the region's population. The largest city in the region—Houston; is located in Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. New Orleans
New Orleans metropolitan area
New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner, or the Greater New Orleans Region is a metropolitan area designated by the United States Census encompassing seven parishes in the state of Louisiana, centering on the city of New Orleans...

 was tied with Oklahoma City but, after Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

, the population of the New Orleans metro area has declined to approximately 900,000 (a survey shows that the population has bounced back to almost 1.2 million as of April 2007).

History

The history of the South Central states is dominated by the conflict and interaction between three cultural-linguistic groups: the Anglosphere
Anglosphere
Anglosphere is a neologism which refers to those nations with English as the most common language. The term can be used more specifically to refer to those nations which share certain characteristics within their cultures based on a linguistic heritage, through being former British colonies...

 (first Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 and then the United States), the Hispanidad
Hispanic
Hispanic is a term that originally denoted a relationship to Hispania, which is to say the Iberian Peninsula: Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal and Spain. During the Modern Era, Hispanic sometimes takes on a more limited meaning, particularly in the United States, where the term means a person of ...

 (first Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 then Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

), and the Francophonie (always France). In the 17th and 18th centuries Spain and France maneuvered for control of Texas, with the Spanish based in Mexico and New Mexico and the French in Louisiana. During the War of the Quadruple Alliance
War of the Quadruple Alliance
The War of the Quadruple Alliance was a result of the ambitions of King Philip V of Spain, his wife, Elisabeth Farnese, and his chief minister Giulio Alberoni to retake territories in Italy and to claim the French throne. It saw the defeat of Spain by an alliance of Britain, France, Austria , and...

 hostilities spread to the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 and the French troops from Natchitoches
Natchitoches, Louisiana
Natchitoches is a city in and the parish seat of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, United States. Established in 1714 by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis as part of French Louisiana, the community was named after the Natchitoches Indian tribe. The City of Natchitoches was first incorporated on February...

 briefly captured the capital of Spanish Texas
Spanish Texas
Spanish Texas was one of the interior provinces of New Spain from 1690 until 1821. Although Spain claimed ownership of the territory, which comprised part of modern-day Texas, including the land north of the Medina and Nueces Rivers, the Spanish did not attempt to colonize the area until after...

, Los Adaes
Los Adaes
Los Adaes was the capital of Tejas on the northeastern frontier of New Spain from 1729 to 1770. It included a mission, San Miguel de Linares de los Adaes, and a presidio, Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Los Adaes . The site is located in the present-day Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. The Los Adaes...

 in what is now western Louisiana. The French were not able to wrest control of Texas from Spain, and by the early 19th century sold their North American holdings to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase
Louisiana Purchase
The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of America of of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S...

, which comprised slightly less than half of what is today the South Central United States.

The official West and East South Central states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee were members 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...

 during the Civil War. Kentucky was often considered a "non-official" Confederate state. Oklahoma, although Indian Territory
Indian Territory
The Indian Territory, also known as the Indian Territories and the Indian Country, was land set aside within the United States for the settlement of American Indians...

 at the time, was home to 5 Native-American tribes, of which a majority allied themselves with the Confederacy. Thus, all these states are usually considered to make up a large part of the American South both historically and culturally, as well as classified by the U.S. Census Bureau.
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