How Much Do You Know About the Southern United States?


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: Today I Found Out

About This Quiz

“Y’all come back now, ya hear? Next time we’ll fry you up some frog legs and get out the sweet tea for a nice long visit on the veranda.” If you’ve ever traveled the United States, you know there’s no place quite like the South. It’s an area renowned for its hospitality, conflicted history and modern vitality. What do you really know about the Southern region of America?

In the 1600s, the South was a land of plenty, where agricultural pursuits could hardly go wrong. But labor shortages were a real problem, and in the ensuing decades landowners would go to extreme lengths to make a profit. Do you know how their decisions impacted the economy and culture of the South?

What is “the South,” anyway? An economic term? A political ploy? A cultural twist of the tongue? Or some mix of all of the above?

What do you know about the cities and landscape of the South? Is it a place where you’d go to build igloos? Or is it an area you wouldn’t be caught dead in without a working air conditioner?

Let’s meander through the American South, wending our way through the cotton and the sugarcane in search of the truth. How much do you really know about the Southern United States?

The Southern United States, in general, refers to which states?

The South is generally defined as the states that fought with the Confederacy in the Civil War. But the lines between what constitute the South are not perfectly defined.


Which state is NOT considered to be part of the South?

Iowa is not part of the South. As defined by the federal government, there are 16 states in the South, ranging from Alabama to Tennessee to Maryland, plus the District of Columbia.


The South is noted as being part of which cultural "belt"?

The South is often noted as a heavily religious area known as the "Bible Belt." It’s home to many Protestant churches and is famous for its Baptist denominations.


What is the climate like in the Southern part of America?

North Dakotans pray for quick deaths in the South. In the summer, the South is always hot, and particularly in the southeastern areas it’s humid, too.


In the 17th century, farmers were able to grow many tons of crops, thanks to the South’s warm climate. What were the farmers lacking?

In the 1600s, farmers had no shortage of arable land in the South. Their problem was a shortage of labor... and the remedy to that challenge became a dark part of America’s history.


Which crop is often associated with the South?

With its warm, humid climate, the South is a very good place to grow cotton. From old-time plantations to modern farms, cotton is a major Southern product.


The Mason-Dixon Line was a pre-war split between what entities?

In the years before the Civil War, the Mason-Dixon Line was the rough boundary between free and slave states. The iine is still used as shorthand in defining modern mentalities and cultures in America.


Which state is NOT really considered a part of the South?

States in the western part of the country might be "south," but they aren’t a part of the traditional South. So New Mexico wouldn’t be included.


What are "Jim Crow" laws?

The Emancipation Proclamation may have outlawed slavery, but "Jim Crow" laws kept the spirit of segregation alive in the South, separating the lives of blacks and whites in many aspects of life.


True or false, is Texas regarded as part of the South?

Texans don’t like to be associated with the United States at all...but as it stands, the state is definitely part of the South. The U.S. Census defines it as such.


The Southern United States is also known as _____.

The South is often called Dixie or Dixieland. Dixie is often associated with the Confederate years, but historians have never actually pinpointed the source of the term. It definitely has nothing to do with those cute little paper cups.


The Deep South refers to which part of the South?

The Deep South is the very southeast part of America. It’s where the Confederacy (and its lingering mentality) took its strongest hold.


Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama are all part of _____.

The Gulf South refers to those Southern states that border the Gulf of Mexico. If you don’t like humidity, don’t wander through the Gulf south in July.


What is the largest city in the South?

Houston, Texas, is the biggest city in the South. Its metro population is more than 6.3 million people.


At the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, how many blacks were enslaved in the South?

All across the South, slavery was the solution to the plantation labor problem. Before the war, 4 million slaves were held by their masters.


To what does "Reconstruction" refer?

In the horrific wake of the Civil War, many parts of the South were devastated. Reconstruction refers to the era in which the country was rebuilt and lasted until 1877.


The original term "The South" referred to the states that seceded from the Union. How many states seceded?

Eleven states seceded from the Union and ignited the Civil War. Abe Lincoln could only shake his head in dismay as he called upon Union troops to restore the Republic.


What was the South like in the years after the Civil War?

Following the devastation of the war, the South was a poor and sad place. Many people lived in poverty, with no real means to make better lives.


From roughly 1820 to 1860, about how many black slaves were MOVED into servitude in the South?

It’s one of America’s saddest eras. Starting in the 1820s and up until the 1850s, about 1 million blacks were moved to the South for the purpose of slavery. That did not count many others who were already there.


How long does the South’s growing season last?

With its warm climate and good soils, the South is a farmer’s land. The growing season can last as long as six months in some areas.


Which industry helped the South begin to slowly recover from the Civil War?

Cotton and its associated textiles were a way for the South to rebuild from the war. But the process took decades, not really impacting quality of life much until the 1930s.


In the 1930s, which world event gutted the newly-blossoming cotton industry in the South?

In the 1930s, America and the rest of the world spiraled into the Great Depression. The South’s recovery was once again stalled as America grappled with the crisis.


True or false, was George Washington born in the South?

It’s true, America’s legendary George Washington was born in Virginia and learned many of his political and military skills in the region.


What does "y’all" mean?

The Southern United States has a distinct dialect and lingo, including the classic, "y’all," which simply means "you all," or "I packed the Confederate flag away in grandpa’s chest but I’ll hang it again... someday."


True or false, is Missouri regarded as part of the South?

Officially, and by federal definition, Missouri is part of the Midwest. But have you been to southern Missouri? Take a little day trip there and you’ll realize that it is definitely, absolutely part of the South.


Which Southern state is the biggest tobacco producer?

The hills and plains of North Carolina are well-suited to tobacco production. In fact, North Carolina produces twice as much tobacco as any other state.


What in the world is "grits"?

Grits are a staple of Southern cuisine, a type of corn meal that is utterly delicious when properly prepared and inedible when it isn’t.


What do Southern Americans put in their iced tea?

In the South, iced tea is sweet tea, loaded with immense piles of granulated sugar. Use it to wash down all of the fried foods you’ll be eating in Arkansas. Then proceed straight to your dentist's office, because you'll have cavities.


Slavery ended after the Civil War. When did white domination over Southern blacks finally began to soften?

Sure, the Civil War ended slavery... but it didn’t end the era of whites lording over blacks in every possible way. It wasn’t until after WWII (in the 1940s) that cultural shifts in the South began to soften white domination.


If you’re eating "soul food," you’re eating Southern food originating with which group?

Soul food is the hearty cuisine that’s distinctively a part of Southern African-American culture. Collard greens are soul food -- Waffle House is not.


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