South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union on Dec. 20, 1860. It was also the site where the Civil War actually began with the attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861.
The 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency left the South feeling it had no recourse. Six states quickly followed South Carolina's lead and seceded as well. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana left the nation the following month, and Texas seceded on Feb. 1, 1861. The final four to secede did not do so until after the attack on Fort Sumter, but Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee all seceded by June 8.