The Confederate States of America (CSA or C.S.), commonly referred to as the Confederacy, was a self-proclaimed nation of 11 secessionist slave-holding states of the United States, existing from 1861 to 1865. The Confederacy was originally formed by seven states – South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas – in the Lower South region of the United States whose regional economy was mostly dependent upon agriculture, particularly cotton, and a plantation system that relied upon the labor of African-American slaves.
Each state declared its secession from the United States following the November 1860 election of Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln to the U.S. presidency on a platform which opposed the expansion of slavery into the western territories. Before Lincoln took office in March, a new Confederate government was established in February 1861, which was considered illegal by the government of the United States. After the Civil War began in April, four slave states of the Upper South – Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina – also declared their secession and joined the Confederacy. The Confederacy later accepted Missouri and Kentucky as members, although neither officially declared secession nor were they ever largely controlled by Confederate forces; Confederate shadow governments attempted to control the two states but were later exiled from them.
The government of the United States (the Union) rejected the claims of secession and considered the Confederacy illegitimate. The Civil War began with the Confederate attack upon Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, a Union fort in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. No foreign government officially recognized the Confederacy as an independent country,