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Historical regions of the United States

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Title: Historical regions of the United States  
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Subject: Yazoo lands, Howell Cobb
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Historical regions of the United States

This is a list of historic regions of the United States.

Colonial era (before 1776)

The Thirteen Colonies

Main article: Thirteen Colonies

Pre-Revolutionary War regions

{* -indicates failed legal entities}

New England region

Mid-Atlantic region

Southern region

Southwestern region


Colonies settled but unrecognized

Colonies proposed but unrealized

Independent entities later wholly admitted to the union

Regions purchased from foreign powers

Regions annexed from or ceded by foreign powers

Native regions ceded to, ceded or purchased

Interstate, territory, or the federal cessions

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

Former organized territories

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 of the United States

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

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

  • Cumberland District, North Carolina (also called the District of Miro); Tennessee.
  • District of Louisiana; Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Montana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming; renamed Missouri Territory in 1812.
  • Military Tract of 1812; Illinois, Michigan, Arkansas, Missouri.
  • Ohio Country; parts of Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia.





New York


Main article: Ohio Lands


Indian Reserves


U.S. mainland military districts/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.

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

  • Department of California (1858–1861) 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.
  • Department of Oregon (1858–1861) 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

  • 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

U.S. military overseas regions

Functioning but non-sanctioned territories

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

Civil War related

Functioning governments created as a result of the attempted secession of the Confederacy. Some were enclaves within opposing territories:

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

Proclaimed but non-extant entities

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

Proposed but non-existent entities

Failed proposals

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

  • State of Delmarva or, "Eastern Shore"; 1998
  • The State of Shasta (1852); State of Klamath (1853); followed by the State of Jefferson (1854) for virtually the same Pacific northwest areas
  • State of Jefferson
    • Proposed State of Jefferson (Rocky Mountains), 1859, was an attempt to legitimize the Jefferson Territory, stalled by the Civil War; failed proposal.
    • Proposed State of Jefferson (Texas), 1870 and 1915 statehood proposals both died in committee.
  • Territory of Colorado (California) 1860, stalled in Congress by the Civil War; a proposal to form a territory from Southern California following a successful popular referendum.
  • State of Kanawha a proposed name for the state that became West Virginia, 1861
  • State of Lincoln
    • Northwestern State of Lincoln, several proposals after 1865
    • Southern State of Lincoln, 1869
  • State of Sequoyah, 1905
  • State of West New York, several proposals brought into the New York Legislature since the 1990s, all of which have been defeated

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 regions

  • Aztlán (a future reincarnation of a defunct, mythical Aztec Empire to be "re"-established in lands now found in the Southwestern U.S., a central theme in Chicano political activism.)
  • Comancheria, area inhabited and intermittently controlled by the Comanche and their allies.
  • Dinétah, the original Navajo homeland
  • Republic of Lakotah, the proposed upper midwestern U.S. Sioux mega-state.
  • Lenapehoking, named for the Delaware or Lenilenape Indians.

Regional nicknames


Belts are loosely defined sub-regions found throughout the United States:

See also


External links

  • Official Name and Status History of the several States and U.S. Territories
  • Indian Land Cessions in the United States, 1784–1894; United States Serial Set, Number 4015
  • United States Territorial Maps 1775-1920
  • Spanish Luisiana
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