South Central United States

From Academic Kids

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Red shows states most commonly part of the South Central region. Pink shows states sometimes included. Because Kansas and Missouri are so rarely included they are white.
The South Central United States or South Central states is a region of the United States located in the south central part of the country. It evolved out of the arhaic southwest, which originally was literally the western U.S. South. The states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas are always included in the region; sometimes either or both Mississippi and New Mexico are included; Kansas and Missouri are included in some rare models. Alternately, portions, not the entire states, of: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, and Utah have been included with part or all of the states more commonly thought of the South Central United States. All of the region is in the Central United States, though all of the South Central states were considered part of the West, at different points in American history.


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Caddo Lake, on the Texas/Louisiana border is home to the largest Cypress forest in the world.

The climate varies from the semi-tropical Mississippi Delta in South Louisiana to the dry Chihuahuan desert in West Texas, and southern New Mexico. The southeastern portions of is comprised of the Piney Woods of East Texas, Louisiana, and southern Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta. Large portion of the northeastern quarter of the region is mountainous, with the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. The northwest quarter of the region is dominated by the Great Plains which become progressively drier west of 100 W, forming the North American Llano. The southwestern portions border the Rio Grande, and is genreally drier that other areas of the South Central United States, with Central Texas, having the most annual percipitation.

Texas is the largest South Central state by both area and population, even when New Mexico and Mississippi are included, Texas' population is still home to over half of the region's populaton. The five largest cities in the region: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso and Austin, are all located in Texas. Outside of Texas the largest metropolitan area is New Orleans with a population of 1,337,726, but Oklahoma City with a population of 523,303 is the largest city proper outside of Texas.


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Hanging in a market near Santa Fe, New Mexico— symbols of the Southwest chile peppers and a cow's skull. Southwestern culture is one of several cultures found in the South Central states.

The South Central United States, unlike New England or several other regions, does not have an endemic culture, but rather is divided between the cultures of the South and Southwest. Arkansas, East Texas, Little Dixie in western Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi are Southern; while New Mexico and West Texas are Southwestern; Central Texas, North Texas and the remainder of Oklahoma are hevaily influenced by both. Midwestern culture is an influence in the northern portions of the regions, while Latino influences, especially Mexican and strong in the southwestern and western areas. Tejano culture evolved in and plays a dominate role in South Texas, while Cajun culture, with its French influences, is still a strong component in Acadiana.


The history of the South Cenral state is dominated by, the conflict and interaction between three cultural-linguistic groups: the Anglosphere (first Great Britain and then the United States), the Hispanidad (first Spain then Mexico), and the Francophonie (always France). In the 17th and 18th centuries Spain and France maneuvered for control of Texas, with the Spanish based in Mexico and New Mexico and the French in Louisiana. During the War of the Quadruple Alliance hostilities spread to the New World and the French troops from Natchitoches briefly captured the capital of Spanish Texas, Los Adaes in what is now western Louisiana. The French were not able to wrest control of Texas from Spain, and by the early 19th century sold their North American holdings to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase, which comprised, slightly less than half of what is today the South Central United States.



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