The South has long been a region apart, even though it is not isolated by any formidable natural barriers and is itself subdivided into many distinctive areas: the coastal plains along the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico; the Piedmont; the ridges, valleys, and high mountains bordering the Piedmont, especially the Great Smoky Mts. in North Carolina and Tennessee; areas of bluegrass, black-soil prairies, and clay hills west of the mountains; bluffs, floodplains, bayous, and delta lands along the Mississippi River; and W of the Mississippi, the interior plains and the Ozark Plateau.
The humid subtropical climate, however, is one unifying factor. Winters are neither long nor very cold, and no month averages below freezing. The long, hot growing season (nine months at its peak along the Gulf) and the fertile soil (much of it overworked or ruined by erosion) have traditionally made the South an agricultural region where such staples as tobacco, rice, and sugarcane have long flourished; citrus fruits, livestock, soybeans, and timber have gained in importance. Cotton, once the region's dominant crop, is now mostly grown in Texas, the Southwest, and California.
Since World War II, the South has become increasingly industrialized. High-technology (such as aerospace and petrochemical) industries have boomed, and there has been impressive growth in the service, trade, and finance sectors. The chief cities of the South are Atlanta, New Orleans, Charlotte, Miami, Memphis, and Jacksonville.
From William Byrd (1674-1744) to William Faulkner and Toni Morrison, the South has always had a strong regional literature. Its principal subject has been the Civil War, reflected in song and poetry from Paul Hamilton Hayne to Allen Tate and in novels from Thomas Nelson Page to Margaret Mitchell.
The basic agricultural economy of the Old South, which was abetted by the climate and the soil, led to the introduction (1617) of Africans as a source of cheap labor under the twin institutions of the plantation and slavery. Slavery might well have expired had not the invention of the cotton gin (1793) given it a firmer hold, but even so there would have remained the problem of racial tension. Issues of race have been central to the history of the South. Slavery was known as the "peculiar institution" of the South and was protected by the Constitution of the United States.
The Missouri Compromise (1820-21) marked the rise of Southern sectionalism, rooted in the political doctrine of states' rights, with John C. Calhoun as its greatest advocate. When differences with the North, especially over the issue of the extension of slavery into the federal territories, ultimately appeared insoluble, the South turned (1860-61) the doctrine of states' rights into secession (or independence), which in turn led inevitably to the Civil War. Most of the major battles and campaigns of the war were fought in the South, and by the end of the war, with slavery abolished and most of the area in ruins, the Old South had died.Reconstruction to World War II
The period of Reconstruction following the war set the South's political and social attitude for years to come. During this difficult time radical Republicans, African Americans, and so-called carpetbaggers and scalawags ruled the South with the support of federal troops. White Southerners, objecting to this rule, resorted to terrorism and violence and, with the aid of such organizations as the Ku Klux Klan, drove the Reconstruction governments from power. The breakdown of the plantation system during the Civil War gave rise to sharecropping, the tenant-farming system of agriculture that still exists in areas of the South. The last half of the 19th cent. saw the beginning of industrialization in the South, with the introduction of textile mills and various industries.
The troubled economic and political life of the region in the years between 1880 and World War II was marked by the rise of the Farmers' Alliance, Populism, and Jim Crow laws and by the careers of such Southerners as Tom Watson, Theodore Bilbo, Benjamin Tillman, and Huey Long. During the 1930s and 40s, thousands of blacks migrated from the South to Northern industrial cities.The Contemporary South
Since World War II the South has experienced profound political, economic, and social change. Southern reaction to the policies of the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier, and the Great Society caused the emergence of a genuine two-party system in the South. Many conservative Southern Democrats (such as Strom Thurmond) became Republicans because of disagreements over civil rights, the Vietnam War, and other issues. During the 1990s, Republican strength in the South increased substantially. After the 1994 elections, Republicans held a majority of the U.S. Senate and House seats from Southern states; Newt Gingrich, a Georgia Republican, became Speaker of the House.
During the 1950s and 60s the civil-rights movement, several key Supreme Court decisions, and federal legislation ended the legal segregation of public schools, universities, transportation, businesses, and other establishments in the South, and helped blacks achieve more adequate political representation. The process of integration was often met with bitter protest and violence. Patterns of residential segregation still exist in much of the South, as they do throughout the United States. The influx of new industries into the region after World War II made the economic life of the South more diversified and more similar to that of other regions of the United States.
The portions of the South included in the Sun Belt have experienced dramatic growth since the 1970s. Florida's population almost doubled between 1970 and 1990 and Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina have also grown considerably. Economically, the leading metropolitan areas of the South have become popular destinations for corporations seeking favorable tax rates, and the region's relatively low union membership has attracted both foreign and U.S. manufacturing companies. In the rural South, however, poverty, illiteracy, and poor health conditions often still predominate.
See works by C. Eaton, H. W. Odum, and U. B. Phillips; W. H. Stephenson and E. M. Coulter, ed., A History of the South (10 vol., 1947-73); F. B. Simkins and C. P. Roland, A History of the South (4th ed. 1972); C. V. Woodward, Origins of the New South (1971) and The Strange Career of Jim Crow (3d rev. ed. 1974); D. R. Goldfield, Cotton Fields and Skyscrapers (1982); E. and M. Black, Politics and Society in the South (1987); C. R. Wilson and W. Ferris, ed., The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (1989); D. R. Goldfield, The South for New Southerners (1991).
See history by A. B. Chitty (1954).
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Metropolitan county (pop., 2001: 1,266,337), north-central England. It lost its administrative functions in 1986 and is now only a geographic and ceremonial county; its administrative seat was Barnsley. South Yorkshire extends from the Pennine moorlands in the west to lowland marshes in the east. The Romans built roads and forts in the area, and Anglian and later Scandinavian settlers cleared woodlands. In the 19th century the region grew as a major industrial area, and the River Don valley became the focus of iron- and steelworks extending east from Sheffield. Today South Yorkshire includes most of England's coalfields; its industries produce iron, steel, and cutlery.
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(1955–75) Protracted effort by South Vietnam and the U.S. to prevent North and South Vietnam from being united under communist leadership. After the First Indochina War, Vietnam was partitioned to separate the warring parties until free elections could be held in 1956. Ho Chi Minh's popular Viet Minh party from the north was expected to win the elections, which the leader in the south, Ngo Dinh Diem, refused to hold. In the war that ensued, fighters trained in the north (the Viet Cong) fought a guerrilla war against U.S.-supported South Vietnamese forces; North Vietnamese forces later joined the fighting. At the height of U.S. involvement, there were more than half a million U.S. military personnel in Vietnam. The Tet Offensive of 1968, in which the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese attacked 36 major South Vietnamese cities and towns, marked a turning point in the war. Many in the U.S. had come to oppose the war on moral and practical grounds, and Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson decided to shift to a policy of “de-escalation.” Peace talks were begun in Paris. Between 1969 and 1973 U.S. troops were withdrawn from Vietnam, but the war was expanded to Cambodia and Laos in 1970. Peace talks, which had reached a stalemate in 1971, started again in 1973, producing a cease-fire agreement. Fighting continued, and there were numerous truce violations. In 1975 the North Vietnamese launched a full-scale invasion of the south. The south surrendered later that year, and in 1976 the country was reunited as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. More than 2,000,000 people (including 58,000 Americans) died over the course of the war, about half of them civilians.
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A distinct Vietnamese group began to emerge circa 200 BC in the independent kingdom of Nam Viet, which was later annexed to China in the 1st century BC. The Vietnamese were under continuous Chinese control until the 10th century AD. The southern region was gradually overrun by Vietnamese from the north in the late 15th century. The area was divided into northern and southern dynasties in the early 17th century, and in 1802 these two parts were unified under a single dynasty. Following several years of attempted French colonial expansion in the region, the French captured Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in 1859 and later the rest of the area, controlling it until World War II (see French Indochina). The Japanese occupied Vietnam in 1940–45 and allowed the Vietnamese to declare independence at the end of the war, a move the French opposed. The First Indochina War ensued and lasted until French forces with U.S. financial backing were defeated by the Vietnamese at Dien Bien Phu in 1954; evacuation of French troops followed. After an international conference at Geneva (April–July 1954), Vietnam was partitioned along latitude 17° N, with the northern part under the communist leadership of Ho Chi Minh and the southern part under the U.S.-supported former emperor Bao Dai; the partition was to be temporary, but the reunification elections scheduled for 1956 were never held. An independent South Vietnam (Republic of Vietnam) was declared, while the communists established North Vietnam (Democratic Republic of Vietnam). The activities of North Vietnamese guerrillas and procommunist rebels in South Vietnam led to U.S. intervention and the Vietnam War. A cease-fire agreement was signed in 1973 and U.S. troops withdrawn, but the civil war soon resumed; in 1975 North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam, and the South Vietnamese government collapsed. In 1976 the two Vietnams were united as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. From the mid-1980s the government enacted a series of economic reforms and began to open up to Asian and Western nations. In 1995 the U.S. officially normalized relations with Vietnam.
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(1720) Speculation mania that caused financial ruin for many British investors. Parliament's acceptance of a proposal by the South Sea Co. to take over the British national debt resulted in an immediate rise in its stock. After soaring from 128
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Southern extremity of the Earth's axis, located at latitude 90° S. It is the southern point from which all meridians of longitude start. The area around it is a lofty plateau in west-central Antarctica, with ice as much as 8,850 ft (2,700 m) thick. It has six months of complete daylight and six months of total darkness each year. It was first reached by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen in 1911, one month before the expedition led by British explorer Robert Falcon Scott; U.S. explorer Richard E. Byrd flew to the pole in 1929. The geographic pole does not coincide with the magnetic South Pole, which in the early 21st century was located on the Adélie Coast about 64°30' S, 137°50' E; it moves about 8 mi (13 km) to the northwest each year. The geomagnetic South Pole also moves; during the early 1990s it was located about 79°13' S, 108°44' E, in 2000 it was 65°39' S, 140° 01' E, and by 2005 it was back to about 79°45' S, 108°13' E.
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Island group, southern Atlantic Ocean. Located southeast of South America, the South Orkneys are composed of two large islands (Coronation and Laurie) and many smaller islands; they form part of the British Antarctic Territory. Barren and uninhabited, the islands have a total area of 240 sq mi (620 sq km). They were part of the Falkland Islands Dependencies until 1962. Signy Island is used as a base for Antarctic exploration.
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Island (pop., 2006: 1,022,316), larger and southernmost of the two principal islands of New Zealand. Separated from the North Island by Cook Strait, it has an area of 58,384 sq mi (151,215 sq km). Mountains, including the Southern Alps, occupy almost three-quarters of the island. Its main cities are Christchurch and Dunedin. Fiordland National Park in the southwest contains numerous coastal fjords and high lakes.
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Mountainous, barren island, southern Atlantic Ocean. It is located about 800 mi (1,300 km) east-southeast of the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands. Together with the South Sandwich Islands, some 500 mi (800 km) to the southeast, it constitutes a British overseas territory. With an Antarctic climate, it has perpetual snow covering three-fourths of the island. It is home to reindeer, several penguin and seal species, and abundant marine life. Capt. James Cook claimed it for Britain in 1775, and Ernest Shackleton first crossed it in 1916 while in search of aid for his ill-fated expedition; Shackleton died on the island on a later expedition and was buried there. Formerly a whaling base, it is now the site of an Antarctic research station.
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State (pop., 2008 est.: 804,194), north-central U.S. It covers 77,117 sq mi (199,732 sq km); its capital is Pierre. South Dakota is bordered on the north by North Dakota, on the east by Minnesota and Iowa, on the south by Nebraska, and on the west by Wyoming and Montana. The state has three main regions—the eastern prairie; the central Great Plains, which contain the Badlands; and the Black Hills to the west. The Missouri River bisects it from north to south. The French explored the area in the 18th century and sold it to the U.S. as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The Lewis and Clark Expedition spent about seven weeks there in 1804. The Dakota Territory was created in 1861, but settlement was sparse until the Black Hills gold rush of 1875–76 swelled the population. Intermittent wars between the Sioux and settlers occurred until the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890. South Dakota became the 40th U.S. state in 1889. Farming and related industries form the state's economic base. It is a leader in cattle and hog production, and its main crops are grains. Tourism is a major industry; attractions include Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave National Park, Badlands National Park, and Jewel Cave National Monument.
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State (pop., 2000: 4,012,012), southeastern U.S. It covers 31,113 sq mi (80,583 sq km) and is an original state of the Union; its capital is Columbia. South Carolina is bounded on the north by North Carolina and on the southwest by Georgia; the Atlantic Ocean is to the southeast. The state comprises a broad coastal plain with a rolling piedmont farther inland. At the time of European contact the area was inhabited by Sioux, Iroquois, and Muskogean Indians. Spanish and French settlements were established and abandoned in the 16th century; the first permanent European settlement was made by the English in 1670 at Charles Town, moved to the present site of Charleston in 1680. Several military campaigns were fought in South Carolina during the American Revolution. In 1788 South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, and in 1860 it became the first state to secede from the Union. The initial action of the American Civil War occurred there at Fort Sumter. It was readmitted to the Union in 1868. Constitutional revisions in 1895 disenfranchised almost all of the state's blacks, and a rigid policy of racial segregation persisted until the mid-1960s, when the national civil rights movement began to have some effect in ameliorating racist policies. South Carolina is a leader in U.S. textile manufacturing and has a large industrial base. Tourism is its second largest industry. Agriculture also contributes to the economy; major crops include tobacco, soybeans, and cotton.
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City (pop., 2000: 107,789), northern Indiana, U.S. It is situated on the St. Joseph River. A fur-trading post was established at the site in 1820. The city's highly industrialized economy has roots in the pioneering companies founded there in the 19th century, including Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Co. (later an auto plant) and Singer Co., a sewing machine manufacturer. The city serves as the trade and financial focus of southern Michigan as well as northern Indiana, a region known as Michiana. Nearby is the University of Notre Dame.
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State (pop., 2006: 1,514,337), south-central Australia. It covers an area of 379,725 sq mi (983,482 sq km), and its capital is Adelaide. The Dutch visited the coast in 1627. British explorers arrived in the early 1800s, and it was colonized as a British province in 1836. Its vast interior, a large part of which is barren, includes Lake Eyre and the Flinders Ranges. A major world source of opals, it also produces most of the wine and brandy consumed in Australia. It has the country's largest shipyards. It became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. Its southeastern part has become industrialized since World War II.
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War fought between Great Britain and the two Boer (see Afrikaner) republics—the South African Republic (Transvaal) and the Orange Free State—from 1899 to 1902. It was precipitated by the refusal of the Boer leader Paul Kruger to grant political rights to Uitlanders (“foreigners,” mostly English) in the interior mining districts and by the aggressiveness of the British high commissioner, Alfred Milner. Initially the Boers defeated the British in major engagements and besieged the key towns of Ladysmith, Mafikeng, and Kimberley; but British reinforcements under H.H. Kitchener and F.S. Roberts relieved the besieged towns, dispersed the Boer armies, and occupied Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, and Pretoria (1900). When Boer commando attacks continued, Kitchener implemented a scorched-earth policy: Boer farms were destroyed and Boer civilians were herded into concentration camps. More than 20,000 men, women, and children (including black Africans) died as a result, causing international outrage. The Boers finally accepted defeat at the Peace of Vereeniging.
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State (pop., 2006: 6,549,177), southeastern Australia. Bounded by Queensland, the Pacific Ocean, Victoria, and South Australia, it has an area of 309,130 sq mi (800,640 sq km); the capital is Sydney. The dominant geographic feature is the Great Dividing Range. Inhabited from prehistoric times, New South Wales was claimed for Britain by Capt. James Cook in 1770. The colony included the entire continent except for Western Australia. The interior was explored throughout the 19th century, and colonies were set up there, separate from New South Wales. In 1901 it became part of the Commonwealth of Australia. The state ceded the area of the Australian Capital Territory in 1911. New South Wales is the centre of commercial farming, industry, and culture in Australia.
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True south is the direction towards the southern end of the axis about which the earth rotates, called the South Pole and located in Antarctica. Magnetic south is the direction towards the south magnetic pole, some distance away from the south geographic pole.
The etymology of "south" comes the Old English word suth, related to the Old High German word sund, and perhaps sunne in Old English, with the sense of "the region of the sun" (sun culminates in the south in the northern hemisphere).
"The South" usually refers to "regions or countries lying to the south of a specified or implied point of orientation, especially the southeastern part of the United States", i. e. the Southern United States and mainly the Deep South, in a general historical context. The South is also used for "the developing nations of the world", i. e. the third world: see North-South divide.
Other languages have sometimes more interesting derivations. For example, in Rutul jennet can mean both 'paradise' and 'south', because of the tribe's belief that paradise is located in the south of the Rutuls' lands. In many languages of Mesoamerica, 'south' means also 'down'.