(The 'Deep' South)
Basic Geographical References:
- East-West uses the Mississippi River as a dividing
line between Eastern and Western 'halves' of the U.S. While
geographically inexact, it is the only prominent 'divider' in roughly the
right location and is also significant from U.S. colonial history (see map). The East-West division has some
official uses, for example in Federal Communications Commission assignment
letters' for broadcast radio and television stations.
- North-South based on the historic Civil War (1861-65)
between the northern Union States and the southern Confederate States.
The region is essentially that from the Atlantic Ocean westward to the
Mississippi River, divided by the Ohio
River and the 'Mason-Dixon
Line' (see also 'Dixie')
- The middle image at right shows in dark gray an 'exact'
geographical separation of the South as the territory south of the Ohio
River and east of the Mississippi River. However, the area in light gray
west of the Mississippi River (the southern half of Missouri and the
states of Arkansas and Louisiana) had technically been part of the
Confederate States via the 1820 Missouri
Compromise and is often included in definitions of the 'South'. The
red area of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona is generally considered to be
the 'Southwest,' although part of Texas is sometimes included in
definitions of the 'South' (see U.S. Regions and
- The image at bottom right shows in red the classic 'Deep South'
states of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, the
predominately subtropical 'flatland' region of stereotypical Gone With
the Wind-type cotton farming and plantation life. Some have expanded
the Deep South definition to also include the gold-colored states of
Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida.
(Northeast-South-Midwest-West #2 Division)
(The Mountain and Great Plains States)
(The Four Standard U.S. Time Zones)
(U.S. Land Elevation/Relief Map)
(Basic Mountains and Rivers)
(Major Rivers Highlight Map)
Major Mountains and Rivers
- The three maps to the right show the mountain
ranges and rivers used above as boundaries of the major U.S. regions.
- The Land Elevation map at the top shows the
Appalachian and Rocky Mountain ranges. In the middle (southern Missouri
and northern Arkansas) the Ozark Mountains can also be seen.
- Note the distinction between the 'Appalachian Mountain Range' and
the 'Appalachia' Region, one of the
poorest economic regions of the U.S., otherwise known in folk legend for
population and legendary feud between the Hatfield
and McCoy families [Wikipedia]. To a lesser extent the Ozark
Mountains have also been known as the home of hillbillies, in large part
due to a long-running TV series called the Beverly
- The rural population of Appalachia and the Ozarks are also known
more positively in folklore via such Appalachian-based films as
[Wikipedia] (see also audio clip
[YouTube]) and Ozark-based oral history collections as Vance Randolph's
in the Snow.
- Also part of U.S. popular culture are the Catskill Mountains of southeastern New
York State, especially the section of it known as the 'Borscht belt'
(a.k.a. the 'Jewish Alps')
- The bottom map shows the principal rivers of the U.S., the
Missouri, Columbia, Colorado,
St. Lawrence (and St. Lawrence
Seaway) and Rio Grande, in
addition to the Mississippi and Ohio rivers already discussed. In
addition to these, minor rivers of note include the Potomac (which
flows through Washington, D.C.) and Hudson
(one of New York City's two major rivers, along with the East River).
(Original U.S. agricultural 'belts')
and Other Stereotypical 'Locators'
- Geographical regions which have become known for a particular
agricultural, industrial, social or other 'specialty' are referred to as
'belts'. The original belts were agricultural in nature, including the
Wheat, Corn, Cotton, Dairy, Tobacco and Sugar Belts shown at top right.
Note that the 'Wheat belt' is the same as the 'Great Plains states'
described above, and also the distinction between American and British
English of the term 'corn'
- More recent usages include the Sun Belt uses) and
Snow or Frost
Belt, as well as the Industrial Belt (Industrial Crescent), also often
referred to nowadays as the "Rust Belt").
- The 'belt' term also has more abstract uses, including the Bible
Belt (an "informal term for an area (or areas) of the United States in
socially conservative evangelical Protestantism is a dominant part of the
culture and Christian church attendance across the denominations is
extremely high") and Geriatric
Belt, not to mention such uses as the 'Jell-O belt' (or
- Often referred to in computer technology are Silicon Valley
(San Francisco to San Jose), and its spinoff 'Silicon
Alley' (NYC, cf. 'tin pan alley') and
128 ('ring' route around greater Boston)
- Perhaps the most famous 'ring road' is Washington's 'Capital
Beltway' (cf. 'inside/outside the Beltway')
- Other specialized locations similar include Atlantic City (NJ) and
Las Vegas (Nevada) [gambling], as well as Salt Lake City/Provo (Utah
- Finally, the term 'megalopolis' had an American origin and
is frequently used. There are of course countless other 'localization'
references that one will learn via regular reading of newspapers and
periodicals, including such as flyover
country; please ask about these in the student
questions or otherwise as you encounter them.