Historic Regions of the United States
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Historic Regions of the United States
Map showing North American Territorial Boundaries leading up to the American Revolution and the founding of the United States: British claims are indicated in red and pink, while Spanish claims are in orange and yellow.

This is a list of historic regions of the United States that existed at some time during the territorial evolution of the United States and its overseas possessions, from the colonial era to the present day. It includes formally organized territories, proposed and failed states, unrecognized breakaway states, international and interstate purchases, cessions, and land grants, and historical military departments and administrative districts. The last section lists informal regions from American vernacular geography known by popular nicknames and linked by geographical, cultural, or economic similarities, some of which are still in use today.

For a more complete list of regions and subdivisions of the United States used in modern times, see List of regions of the United States.

Colonial era (before 1776)

Early map showing claims and grant boundaries. Some colonies seen here are: Nova Scotia (NSc), Territory of Sagadahock (TS), First Province of Maine (Me), New Hampshire (NH), Plymouth (PC), Massachusetts Bay (MBC), New Netherland (NN), New Sweden (NSw), and Lord Baltimore's Land (Md; Maryland)
New World settlements of The Netherlands, collectively called New Netherland
The Massachusetts Bay Colony
French settlements and forts in the so-called Illinois Country, 1763, which encompassed parts of the modern day states of Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and Kentucky)
A 1775 map of the German Coast, a historical region of present-day Louisiana located above New Orleans on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River
Vandalia was the name of a proposed British colony located south of the Ohio River, primarily in what is now the U.S. states of West Virginia and eastern Kentucky
A proposal for the creation of Westsylvania was largely deterred by the Revolutionary War

Thirteen Colonies

Pre-Revolutionary War regions

+ - indicates failed legal entities

New England

Mid-Atlantic

Southern

Interior

Far West

Unlike the land to the east, most of the land west of the Mississippi River was under French or Spanish rule until the first years of the 19th century.

Colonies settled but unrecognized

National Atlas map of United States territorial acquisitions

Colonies proposed but unrealized

Seward's Folly. The controversial purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 turned out to be a great deal for the U.S. when the area proved to contain a treasure trove of natural resources.

Independent entities later wholly admitted to the Union

Regions purchased from foreign powers

The Oregon Country. The dispute over Oregon, between Britain and the U.S., led to an uneasy, "parallel" governing of the territory for almost 30 years.

Regions annexed from or ceded by foreign powers

The Baton Rouge and Mobile Districts of Spanish West Florida, claimed by the United States, spanned parts of three later states. The Spanish province also included part of the present-day state of Florida.

Ceded or purchased Native American regions

Progression of the Indian Territory separation from the Arkansaw Territory, 1819-1836
Indiana lands acquired through treaties

Interstate, territorial, and federal cessions

The first State Cessions. The 13 original states ceded their western claims to the federal government, allowing for the creation of the country's first western territories and states.

The following are state cessions made during the building of the U.S.

Former organized territories

The Northwest Territory was a large and (at times) ill-defined territory ceded by Great Britain to the U.S. at the end of the Revolutionary War. British troops still occupied parts of the area well past 1800.
United States territorial expansion since 1803, by William R. Shepherd (1923)
Census Bureau map depicting territorial acquisitions and effective dates of statehood

The following is a list of the 31 organized U.S. territories that have become states, in the order of the date organized.

Internal land grants, cessions, districts, departments, claims and settlements

The Ohio Country indicating battle sites between settlers and Native American Tribes, 1775-1794

The following are land grants, cessions, defined districts (official or otherwise) or named settlements made within an area that was already part of a U.S. state or territory that did not involve international treaties or Native American cessions or land purchases.

Alaska

Colorado

Iowa

Nebraska

New York

Selected tract purchases of western New York State

Ohio

Map of the Ohio Lands

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory, along with No Man's Land (also known as the Oklahoma Panhandle). The division of the two territories is shown with a heavy purple line. Together, these three areas would become the State of Oklahoma in 1907.

Indian Reserves

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania land purchases from Native Americans

Federal military districts and departments

These entities were sometimes the only governmental authority in the listed areas, although they often co-existed with civil governments in scarcely populated states and territories. Civilian administered "military" tracts, districts, departments, etc., will be listed elsewhere.

Central United States

  • Department of the Northwest (1862-1865) Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska[2]
    • District of Minnesota (1862-1865)
    • District of Wisconsin (1862-1865)
    • District of Iowa (1862-1865)
    • District of Dakota (1862-1866)
    • District of Montana (1864-1866)
  • Department of the Missouri (1861-1865) Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, part of Kentucky, and later Kansas; re-configured in 1865 as part of the Division of the Missouri.
  • Division of the Missouri (1865-1891).
    • Department of Dakota (1866-1911) Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and parts of Idaho, South Dakota and the Yellowstone portion of Wyoming.
    • Department of the Missouri (1865-1891) Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Indian Territory, and Territory of Oklahoma.
    • Department of the Platte (1866-1898) Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Dakota Territory, Utah Territory, Wyoming (except Yellowstone), and a portion of Idaho.
    • Department of Texas (1871-1880) (originally part of the Department of the Gulf) Texas after 1865.
  • Department of New Mexico (1854-65) New Mexico Territory; previously part of the District of California and the Department of the West.

Pacific area

  • Pacific Division (1848-1853) lands won in the Mexican-American War; became the original Department of the Pacific in 1853.
    • Military Department 10 (1848-1851) California.
    • Military Department 11 (1848-1851) Oregon Territory.
  • Department of the Pacific (1853-1858; and 1861-1865); separated into the Department of California and the Department of Oregon in 1858.

During the American Civil War, the Department of the Pacific had six subordinate military districts:

The Department of California (1858-1861) comprised the southern part of the Department of the Pacific: California, Nevada, and southern part of Oregon Territory; merged into the Department of the Pacific as the District of California.

The Department of Oregon (1858-1861) comprised the northern part of the Department of the Pacific: Washington Territory and Oregon Territory.

  • Military Division of the Pacific (1865-1891).
    • Department of Alaska (1868-1884) became the civilian-ruled District of Alaska.
    • Department of Arizona (1865-1891) Arizona Territory; included New Mexico Territory after 1885.
    • Department of the Columbia (1865-1891) Oregon, Washington Territory, part of Idaho Territory, and Alaska after 1870.
      • District of Oregon (1865-1867) Washington Territory, Oregon Territory and Idaho Territory.
    • New Department of California (1865-1891) California, Nevada Territory, Arizona Territory, and part of New Mexico Territory.

The south

Post-Civil War Military Districts were set up to aid in the repatriation process of the southern states during "Reconstruction".
  • Department of the Gulf (1862-1865; created by the U.S. for the Civil War) Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas.
  • Trans-Mississippi (or Trans-Mississippi Department; CSA) (1862-1865) Formerly "Military Dept. 2"; Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), Kansas, and Louisiana west of the Mississippi River.

The west

Retroceded possessions and overseas territories

The Panama Canal Zone was once a territory of the United States

U.S. military overseas regions

Functioning but non-sanctioned territories

The boundaries of the State of Deseret, as proposed in 1849

These "territories" had actual, functioning governments (recognized or not):

Civil War-related

Animated Map of Secession and Repatriation of the Confederacy, 1860-1870 (click on map to begin animation)

These are functioning governments created as a result of the attempted secession of the Confederacy during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Some were enclaves within enemy-held territories:

These were regions disassociated from neighboring areas due to opposing views:

Non-extant entities

Proclaimed

These entities have been proclaimed (or have existed de facto) in the past, but have never had an elected, recognized, or functioning government:

Proposed

The proposed State of Superior. The red areas show the counties of the Upper Peninsula that are generally accepted as being part of the proposed state. The pink areas show the counties of the "expanded" proposal.
The failed State of Lincoln, with its proposed 1868 boundaries

These are state or territorial proposals actually brought to either a congressional, legislative or popular vote, but which never became a functioning entity:

Proposals never voted on

These are failed state or territorial proposals whose establishment proposals never were voted on, or never made it out of committee:

Native American-related proposed regions

Regional nicknames

The four United States Census Bureau Regions separated by color, with the Nine Census Divisions further delineated by shading

Belts

Belts are loosely defined sub-regions found throughout the United States that are named for a perceived commonality among the included areas, which is often related to the region's economy or climate.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Luisiana". Artifacts.org. Retrieved . 
  2. ^ Heidler, David Stephen; Heidler, Jeanne T.; Coles, David J.; Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History; W. W. Norton & Company; New York; 2000; p. 590.
  3. ^ http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llsb&fileName=026/llsb026.db&recNum=1680
  4. ^ http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llsb&fileName=026/llsb026.db&recNum=1680

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


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