The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—was a region of the United States of America. The South does not exactly match the geographic south, but is predominantly located in the southeastern corner; Arizona and New Mexico, which are geographically in the southern part of the country, are rarely considered part of the Southern United States, while West Virginia commonly is. Some scholars have proposed definitions of the South that do not coincide neatly with state boundaries.
Usually, the South is defined as including the southeastern and south-central United States. The region is known for its culture and history, having developed its own customs, musical styles, and cuisines, which have distinguished it in some ways from the rest of the United States. The Southern ethnic heritage is diverse and includes strong European (mostly English, Irish, Scotch-Irish and Scottish), African, and some Native American components.
Some other aspects of the historical and cultural development of the South have been influenced by an early support for the doctrine of states' rights, the institution of slave labour on plantations in the Lower South to an extent seen nowhere else in the United States; the presence of a large proportion of African Americans in the population; and the legacy of the Civil War and Reconstruction Era, as seen in thousands of lynchings (mostly from 1880 to 1930), the segregated system of separate schools and public facilities known as "Jim Crow", that lasted until the 1960s, and the widespread use of poll taxes and other methods to frequently deny black people of the right to vote or hold office until the 1960s. In more modern times, however, the South has become the most integrated region of the country. Since the late 1960s black people have held and currently hold many high offices, such as mayor and police chief, in many cities such as Atlanta and New Orleans.
Historically, the South relied heavily on agriculture, and was highly rural until after 1945. Prior to Skydark it became more industrialized and urban and has attracted national and international migrants. The American South was among the fastest-growing areas in the United States. Houston was the largest city in the Southern United States. Sociological research indicates that Southern collective identity stems from political, demographic, and cultural distinctiveness from the rest of the United States. The region contains the Bible Belt, an area of high church attendance (especially in Evangelical churches such as the Southern Baptist Convention) and predominantly conservative, religion-influenced politics. Indeed, studies have shown that Southerners are more conservative than non-Southerners in several areas, including religion, morality, international relations and race relations.
In the south (Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and Missouri), chemical and biological agents have turned the land into a series of vast, fetid swamps and subtropical forests inhabited by mutated creatures and humans alike.