New England clambakes, the desserts of the southwest, and corn on the cob from the Midwest are all common things that come to mind about different regions of the county. While there are numerous ways to divide the United States, many people think of the country as having six regions. The regions are all geographically connected, but the formation of the six regions has as much to do with politics and culture as it does with geography. As you move from region to region, you will notice physical changes like climate and topography, as well as cultural changes like dialect and folklore.
New England (Northeast)
New England, which is often referred to as the Northeast, is made up of the states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The first settlers landed in this region, on Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. Since the soil and seasons in New England weren’t conducive to farming, the region became a hub for manufacturing, timber and trade. New England has made considerable cultural and educational contributions to the country, as the Northeastern cities were among the largest in the country for many years.
The Mid-Atlantic region includes New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C. This region has been known for its industry, especially New York and Pennsylvania, where iron and steel mills produced the materials that built the rest of the country. Despite this reputation, once you depart from the eastern seaboard, the region is mainly rural.
The South is made up of the following states: Virgina, West Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas and Alabama. The region has plenty of rainfall and a temperate climate, so once it was settled, it quickly became the agricultural center of early America. The states' attempt to secede from the United States in the mid-1800s led to the Civil War. The South lost the war and its place as the agricultural center of the country. However, after a few decades, the South began to rebuild itself as a manufacturing powerhouse.
The Midwest is made up of the following states: Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. The region's extremely flat terrain and rich soil make it the center of American agriculture. Urban areas, like Chicago and Detroit often come to mind but, most of the area is dominated by farmland and small towns.
The Southwest includes parts of Texas and Oklahoma along with New Mexico and Arizona. This region received very little influence from European settlers, instead drawing its roots from Spanish and Native-American peoples. This region has many deserts, and even the parts that aren't desert don't get much rain. The region is also home to one of the most iconic American landscapes, the Grand Canyon, which is located in northern Arizona.
The West is made up of the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, and California. Alaska and Hawaii are often included in the West, even though they are not connected to the rest of the country. This area was considered America’s last frontier, but the discovery of gold in some of the western states, along with tolerant mining laws, led to a population boom in which many people moved West to find their fortune. The West has grown to be a mix of undeveloped, government-controlled land and huge urban centers.
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images