What Is A Southerner?

Dixie Daily has raised the question:

“What is a Southerner really?

Are (white) Cubans Southerners?

Are Cajuns Southerners?

Are Yankees Southerners?

Suppose John E Reb is Anglo-Celtic descent from Virginia and Carolina colonies.

If Marco Rubio, a white Cuban of Iberian descent can be a Southerner just like John E Reb, then can John be a Cuban just like Marco? Do Cubans not already have their own ethnic identity anyway?

If Jubert Villefontaineroux, a Cajun, can be a Southerner just like John, then can John be a Cajun like Jubert? Do Cajuns not already have their own ethnic identity anyway? …”

Culturally speaking, my answer is that the South looks a lot like this:

Genetically speaking, the South looks a lot like this:

Religiously, the South looks like this:

As a bioregion, the South looks like this:

Geologically speaking, the South looks like this:

A few years ago, I took a deeper dive into the question in “Blood and Soil: How Southerners Became a Separate and Distinct People.”

My conclusion was that the South grew out of three cultural hearths: Jamestown and the Tidewater region in eastern Virginia, the Scots-Irish migration from Pennsylvania down the Great Valley into the Southern backcountry, and Charleston and the South Carolina Low Country, which was a product of the Barbadian led expansion of the plantation complex across the British West Indies. There were also a few minor cultural hearths like the Acadian migration to Southern Louisiana.

The “South” is the confluence of these cultures. They collided and mixed within our region. They were heavily influenced by the climate and geography of the South which is a major source of both our unity and most prominent divisions. The conflicts with the Indians and African slavery made race much more salient here than it was elsewhere. Southern identity was gradually built on a perception of difference with Indians, African slaves, the Yankee, Mexicans and the British.

As has been explained to death on this website, Southerners ARE NOT merely Anglos or Celts. On the contrary, our ancestors were not drawn randomly from the British Isles. The Deep South, Tidewater and the British West Indies drew lots of immigrants from Western England and Metropolitan London. Appalachia drew more Scots-Irish immigrants from the Borderlands. At the same time, the Scots-Irish also settled in the Lower South and English from coastal areas also migrated into Appalachia where they mixed. It is more of a difference of degree and predominance than anything else.

There have always been non-British minorities within the South: Germans and Swiss settled all over Appalachia and the Piedmont, they settled large parts of Missouri and Texas, and they were present in Kentucky. The Gulf Coast was once under the administration of Spain. Texas and Louisiana were part of New Spain. Florida was founded as a Spanish colony. The French settled in Louisiana and along the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coast. Cubans have been present in Florida in large numbers since the 19th century. French refugees from Saint-Domingue settled in New Orleans and Charleston which was founded in part by Huguenots. The Irish settled in Savannah, Charleston and New Orleans. Highland Scots settled in North Carolina. There were Italians who settled in New Orleans. There were Greeks who settled in Birmingham and Tampa. Yankees and Jews have always been present in our cities.

Ethnically speaking, the “South” has an Anglo-Protestant base. As far as I can tell, we’re probably about 3/4th British and 1/4 non-British European. The South is overwhelmingly Protestant, but there has always been a Catholic element in Maryland and along the Gulf Coast. Since men and women tend to breed with people in their immediate area, the result of generations of mixing on the genetic level are the clusters on display above. Whiteness is the category that traditionally mattered in law and there were never any legal impediments to mixing between Europeans.

The “South” is a product of our ancestry, but it is also a product of our culture, our politics and economy, our climate and geography, our religion, and our shared history and traditions. We branched off from the British centuries ago and have been evolving into our own unique ethnic group ever since. The War Between the States and the poverty of the Jim Crow era nurtured a common Southern White folk culture. The sheer passage of time and generations of intermarriage has made us more homogeneous than we were in the past. The same process created the nations of Europe over the course of several centuries.

Can Yankees become Southerners? Can Cubans become Southerners? Can Cajuns become Southerners? I will just note that the 19th century South was full of such people. They were absorbed along with Irish and Italian immigrants because they were present here in small numbers.

Purity spiraling is ridiculous on so many levels. Should we rename Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas for being Indian place names? Was P.G.T. Beauregard a Southerner? Should we rename Louisiana and Texas (Tejas) for not being properly Anglo? What should we do about our neoclassical architecture inspired by Greece and Rome? Should we stop growing corn or tobacco because these were Indian crops? The log cabins built by Scots-Irish frontiersmen were borrowed from the Swedes and Finns in Pennsylvania. Germans introduced Conestoga wagons. And so on.

The Lower South was the spawn of the West Indies:

“Given the way history is taught, few educated Americans realize that when the English were beginning to grow tobacco in Jamestown and Pilgrims were imposing order at Plymouth by cutting down a Maypole, other Englishmen were beginning to settle in St. Christopher (St. Kitts) (1624), Barbados (1627), Nevis (1628), and Montserrat and Antigua (1630s). They were closely followed by the French, who actually joined the English on St. Christopher in a surprise night attack on native Indians. The French proved more willing than the English to combat and push back the fierce Carib Indians on Guadeloupe and Martinique, though they took somewhat longer to turn to sugar. By 1655 England was ruled by Oliver Cromwell, who sent a large army to join pirates in seizing Jamaica from the Spaniards. A few years later the French occupied the western third of Santo Domingo, now named Saint-Domingue (later Haiti) Cromwell’s expedition had tried but failed to capture any part of Santo Domingo.”

From Walter Edgar’s South Carolina: A History:

“English adventurers established colonies on the Lesser Antilles islands of St. Christopher, Barbados, and Nevis during the 1620s. While St. Christopher, which England shared with France, was settled first, (1624), Barbados (1627) would become the cultural hearth, the model for the rest of the English West Indies – and South Carolina.

On Barbados between 1640 and 1670 there evolved a powerful local culture whose institutions, with some slight alteration, would be re-created throughout the English-speaking Caribbean and along the South Carolina coast. “South Carolina and the Lower South culture that developed out of those small beginnings,” writes a modern historian, “was as much the offspring of Barbados as was Jamaica or the other English Caribbean colonies.” South Carolina, then, arose from a different cultural tradition than the colonies of New England and the Chesapeake …”

I’ve spent countless hours on this website explaining our kinship with the British West Indies. The American Revolution artificially sundered the Deep South from the British West Indies. In 1776, there were 26 British colonies in the Americas, and we had far more in common with the ones which remained loyal to the Crown. We shared a common civilization with Barbados, the Leeward and Windward Islands, and Jamaica. Louisiana shared a common civilization with Saint-Domingue, Guadeloupe and Martinique. Florida shared a common civilization with Cuba.

Are we Anglo-Saxons or Normans as our ancestors thought? The answer is probably a bit of both. We’ve been heavily influenced by both the Caribbean and the North. The “South” is best properly seen as a transition zone between the pure slave societies of the Caribbean and the pure settler societies of North America. We managed to be both a slave society and a settler society. As it happens, the one country in the world with which we have this in common is Cuba.

Anyway, the point is that purity spiraling is based on a false image of our past and is a distraction from what we need to focus on in the present. European immigration only grazed the South in the 20th century. In the 21st century of low birthrates and dying populations, it is a moot issue and the small differences that do exist between us will be erased by time. We have much more important things to do like defending our monuments which are under assault, repulsing the Third World invasion and nurturing a discourse online that will stimulate and revive Southern national consciousness.

A serious movement doesn’t have time to debate inane questions like “should slavery be restored in the 21st century” or “should non-Anglos be sterilized” or “should all the non-Whites be exterminated” or “should abortion be legalized to cull the black population,” etc., etc. Every single one of these red herrings drives a wedge and would contribute to our stigmatization and marginalization.

At its core, the South is White and Anglo-Protestant. It can and should remain that way. At the same time, we should acknowledge that we have always had Christian and non-British minorities, as well as ties to the rest of the wider world. There is no such thing as a “pure” culture. It is a mistake to base our identity on the idealization of a “pure” culture that never has or ever will exist.

  • Jerry Kleinfeld

    I was born and raised in the Northeast and am of Eastern European / Eastern Orthodox heritage. So I guess when it comes to being considered for citizenship in Dixie I’m shit out of luck. No matter, I shall continue to fly the Stars and Bars over my garage and wear my Wallace for President in ’68 campaign buttons.

  • MisatoKatsuragi

    nice graphics. gonna steal them

  • Laguna Beach Fogey

    I wonder how it makes certain Southerners feel to learn much of the South was derived from the Caribbean?

  • Mark Saint

    Very informative article.

  • TheLulzWarrior

    Hello fellow Southerners,
    Purity spiralling is the only way to go forward, anyone who disagree is an alt-right or TRS shill.
    https://i.warosu.org/data/tg/img/0371/90/1420566887757.png

  • Krafty Wurker

    The classic definition of an American i.e. a Southerner was anyone from north western Europe.

  • I loved this piece Mr. Wallace, and am sharing it on my Google profile. I live in southern Indiana, which your map indicates is part of “greater Appalachia”. That is a pretty accurate assessment of the people and culture of the foothills of rural Orange County. I have some southern (Virginia) ancestors,a s well as some Germans who spent time in Kentucky before moving to southern Indiana about 175-0200 years ago. I am about an hour north of the Falls of the Ohio, where noted Virginian militia warrior George Rogers Clark spent his final days.
    I loved your final paragraph which stated: “At its core, the South is White and Anglo-Protestant. It can and should remain that way. At the same time, we should acknowledge that we have always had Christian and non-British minorities, as well as ties to the rest of the wider world.” At its core, that is who southern Indiana is also.
    https://putnamlibertynotes.wordpress.com/

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  • Brad Griffin

    Few are even aware of it. America was created in 1776. We arose out of the Declaration of Independence. So the legend goes.

  • Brad Griffin

    Indiana is the South’s middle finger in the Midwest.

  • H.D. Wayne

    In my case, fascinated. Awesome to see some history on OD again, Hunter.

  • It’s always refreshing to see people explain culture and identity in detail without having to tear other White people down in the process.

  • sunshine ?????? ?????????

    Wow “the Nine Nations of North America”! One of the most interesting books I have ever read. It seems very accurate as well.

    I don’t know how to define southern-ness. My family is descended from Virginia planters on one side and from English and Germans in southern West Virginia (we aren’t really Scots Irish unless Shropshire is considered such. Not sure though). I have thirty confirmed confederate soldier ancestors and a few others that we are pretty sure were, but can’t make the proof required by the UDC.

    My family is culturally and behaviorally southern as well. But there are many that don’t consider southern WV to be “southern”. We are different than my husband’s family, from southeastern NC but they are similar to my mother’s Virginia southern ancestors ethnically. Our food is completely different. Northern Virginia back when it was truly culturally southern, was very different than even Culpeper or Fredericksburg which are about an hour or so away. Even the foliage is different and the weather too.

    I guess my point is, the south is a massive place with lots of different people and culture. I wouldn’t consider Rubio southern, his Cuban people turned south Florida into the de facto capital of “the islands” like the book says. I think there are remnants of the old south there, just like there are in northern Virginia, but I wouldn’t claim it as southern any longer. It is a mix of the blood and race of the inhabitants because race creates culture and no outsider can appropriate our culture as it is a part of us…it IS us. The geographic location is tangential…to some extent. If this makes any sense. Probably just tl; dr.

  • sunshine ?????? ?????????

    I would welcome you. I would love to convert to orthodoxy actually. But there are none close by (of course). I’m a big russophile and an eastern europhile. Oddly enough I see so many similarities to eastern Europe and my hometown in Appalachia. My tiny town even did missions to Ukraine and Russia. I think we could make an exception for you!

  • Junius Daniel

    No, you are a little left out by Mr. Griffin’s fabulous article, Mr. Kleinfeld.

    Obviously he cannot write a book here, to cover all categorical exceptions, so let me tell you this –

    I am a Southerner and a congregant of an Eastern Orthodox Church. In the original colonial capital of North Carolina, Edenton, there is an Eastern Orthodox church – and growing; it filling with all Ango-saxe Southerners Protestants who want their Christian elixir uncut with Luther, Voltaire, and Marx.

    Furthermore, any Yankee who likes George Wallace is already an honourary Copperhead; and, once you make it to Copperhead status, you would be welcome down here; some years after which move, if you were still here and happy, you could qualify for ‘Southerner’.

    Flying a Confederate battleflag is tatamount to receiving an exemption from most normal assimilation processes, and would also qualify you.

    Lord knows – there are a lot of Southerners with better qualifications than you would have, even at that point, but, millions of them, if not tens of such, think nothing of The South, and or actively hate it, as the New England Government usurpt university system and proxy media has taught them to do.

    Your kind is automatically welcome in North Carolina, by the vast majority of our state.

  • Junius Daniel

    Ditto!

  • Junius Daniel

    ‘My family is culturally and behaviorally southern as well. But there
    are many that don’t consider southern WV to be “southern”.’

    I consider Southeastern West Virginia to be automatically Southern, Miss Sunshine, but, even all the way up into Southern Ohio and Indiana it is possible to find Southerners.

    Geography can be an indicator of being Southron, but, it is not nearly so good as the soul of the individual.

    You feel Southron to me.

    Welcome.

  • Junius Daniel

    I loved your final paragraph which stated: “At its core, the South is White and Anglo-Protestant.’

    Unfortunately, Mr. Putnam – The White South cannot remain Protestant for much longer, because the denominations have fallen under New England Government control, which means that they are anti-White anti Southron, and, ultimately, anti-Christian.

    I agree with Mr. Griffin, however, that Southern Indiana is Southron, as is much of Southern Ohio.

  • BBWonderdogs FL

    Fascinating article. So glad to have found it. My Royalist ancestors fled to West Indies from Low Country of SC during Revolutionary War, returning to US via FL Keys. My branch moved up FL Peninsula during Indian Wars, eventually winding up in New Orleans and finally MS Gulf Coast, picking up Creole and Cajun branches along the way. Southern to the core and so saddened to see my heritage being impugned and destroyed. Thanks for your efforts to keep it alive.

  • Isaac Shelby Baker

    My people are E. Kentucky Appalachian folk. We claim Southron status here near the northern frontier of the Southland. We try our best to keep the folkways of the old founding stock of our region, the Scots-Irish borderers who were such a thorn in the side of the Crown that they were eventually and with no small difficulty, suppressed and transported to the Ulster Plantation, from which they made their way here. Entering via the great Southern port of Wilmington, NC. I enjoyed the article and found it both thought-provoking and informative.

  • sunshine ?????? ?????????

    Why thank you! I feel it as well. I have a southern accent, we are just southern and always have been. The whole “joining the Union” thing…well, my county voted overwhelmingly against joining the Union, we were forced into it.

    Now, northern WV is a totally different entity. The people are ethnically not like us. Mostly Lithuanian, Italian, and eastern European. Their culture is Yankee. Even the type of coal they have is different! And it’s not a big state. So anyone thinking a large area like the south could be uniform is nuts!

  • My director ancestors came through Wilmington, NC as well.

  • I hate the dominant Narrative which completely lops off the West Indies and pretends we always shared a common civilization with Massachusetts. It is ridiculous. I only discovered the truth well into adulthood.

  • South Florida has always been a transition zone.

  • As for West Virginia, I understand there is a “Mountaineer” and Appalachian identity there as well.

  • Junius Daniel

    You’re welcome, Miss Sunshine.

    Nothing better than a lady with a Southron accent.

    It’s one thing I love about being married to my wife – as she’s got it good and southeast Alabama thick!

    Very good point on uniformity.

    I, too, am wary of reductionism and universalism.

  • sunshine ?????? ?????????

    I knew a lady from Miami and she was a very obvious and proud Florida cracker. Which is a southern subtype, I would say. The stories she told me were very southern, but that is my only real knowledge of it from an older time (she was a baby boomer). And If I remember correctly, rt 1 down there is called Dixie Hwy. But of course that doesn’t make it southern.

  • sunshine ?????? ?????????

    Very much so. I just grabbed “The Nine Nations” off the shelf and I think the description of WV (especially southeastern WV which is where I’m from) is very accurate.

    It’s also pretty spot on about northern Virginia. Time to re read it!

    Our history (of the entire south) is endlessly fascinating.

  • sunshine ?????? ?????????

    I love the Peanut Fest in Dothan. The Wiregrass is lovely country. Very peaceful. Eufaula has one of the most beautiful streets lined with old, stunningly gorgeous homes that I’ve ever seen. Southeast Alabama is full of great people too.

  • Yes Mr. Daniels, you are correct that most of the Protestant denominations have betrayed their white church members. The mainline Reformed movement has openly distanced itself from the Kinists (I happen to like the overall Kinist concept). The Baptists I know are sometimes privately against miscegenation, but not from the pulpit. The Pentecostals I know are often open advocates of multiculturalism.
    Glad that you consider me a Southron.
    Joe

  • Yes indeed, there are quite a few Dixie flags flying around here, and people like my family who go South to the Smoky Mountains for vacation -not North to some East Coast City.
    Actually, the WBTS era “Knights of the Golden Circle” was active in my area (Orange County). KGC general officer Dr. William Bolwes of the KGC once lived about five miles from my house.

  • Rebekah O’Lawlor

    So where do homosexuals, liberals, somalians, muslims, chinese, hindus, paki’s, saudi’s, duel citizens, and all these many, many strangers flooding into our cities, counties, and states fit in?
    Since America’s birth and until 1965, and thats only 52 years ago! America was 80 some percent European descent, white and Christian as were our ancestors, fathers, truly our builders and founders and our laws were written to keep us this way.
    Anyone with eyes in their head can see what the current changes have done to our communities, our governance and more. Instead of preaching geographies that make America or once did….we need to have a HUGE discussion on how we can TAKE BACK America and have what we once were AND WERE intended to be. Political correctness thrown out and hurting invaders feelings cast aside.
    I too am proud of my ancestors and what they achieved but seems all the squawking is ignoring how far we have strayed from OUR heritage.
    Our ancestors are reeling in our graves because we are allowing America to become unrecognizable and just plain different than what it once was and MUST BE….to ensure any future for our children.
    Heres a his story lesson for all. Undeniably our demise is set in place.
    WHAT to do brethren? What to do…..
    WHO ARE THE Posterity?
    http://www.beholdonline.info/essays/preamble.html

  • Todd

    That’s interesting, Junius. I was driving the backroads near Savannah a few years back and noticed an Orthodox church going up in the woods. I thought it odd to see the onion dome going up in the woods in the middle of nowhere, but the area was first settled by German Salzburgers and now has many Mennonites nearby. Why not EO? Anything but a synagogue!

  • Gabriel Gill

    My family is an extended family deeply rooted in northern florida whose ancestors came from lowcountry south carolina and virginia… i believe we are huguenots in part… despite that idea… we are of french norman origin .. rivers surname comes from la riviere our ancestors came from bermuda and settled in south carolina..