20 September 2010
A culture is characterized by customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a group or region. The southern United States differs from any other region because of its geography, people, religions, cuisine, literature, and music. Just as any other culture, “southern culture” has changed and evolved since the southern states were first settled. Not only has it changed, but it is also slowly fading away.
Geography has played the largest role in setting the stage for the culture of the southeast. The Native Americans, who first inhabited the land, took advantage of the climate. The South has acres of fertile land, a mild climate, a long growing season, and an abundance of rainfall (Melosi). In direct result of the South’s many natural resources, the Native Americans who first inhabited the South were farmers. They adapted and used materials goods to hunt, fish, and farm for food (Wilson).
In 1607, when the first English colony was established, it was the Native Americans who taught the English settlers how to use the land. The new English settlers based their economy on the climate. Many took advantage of the long growing seasons, and planted cash crops like tobacco, corn, and rice; others learned how to fish and hunt. For the majority of the year there was abundance of food, and by 1790, 90% of the Americans were farmers. They ate things like pork, poultry, corn and bread (Melosi).
By the 1800s, the south was thriving. Immigrants from the British Isles of Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall, and Wales were coming to America to claim land (Wilson). These people brought new religions, languages, and customs that eventually mixed with the ones that were pre-existing. The first English settlers based their colony’s ideals on their religion, and still today the South is highly religious. The main religions in the 1600s were Presbyterian and Episcopalian, but with the influx of immigrants hundreds of churches...