Piedmont Region

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PIEDMONT REGION. A "foothill" region, 500 to 1500 feet in elevation, that extends from New Jersey to Alabama. It is composed of deeply weathered, mostly metamorphic rocks, the soils are acidic, and the original forest was deciduous hardwoods. The contact with the Coastal Plain on the eastern side is marked by a fall zone with navigable streams to the coast and entrepôt cities, such as Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Virginia, Columbia, South Carolina, and Columbus, Georgia. The northern portion was marked by diversified agriculture and manufacturing. From Virginia south, the area nearest the fall zone, the lower Piedmont, was a slave plantation economy with tobacco grown to the north and cotton to the south. The area nearest the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west, or upper Piedmont, featured cotton and tobacco yeomanry. Soil erosion was rampant from early times, but was curtailed starting in the 1930s, and most old agricultural fields are now in pine forests. Manufacturing became important in the late nineteenth century and has continued.


Aiken, Charles S. The Cotton Plantation South since the Civil War. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.

Coggeshall, John M. Carolina Piedmont Country. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996.

Gray, L. C. History of Agriculture in the Southern United States to 1860. 2 vols. Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1958.

Trimble, Stanley W. Man-Induced Soil Erosion on the Southern Piedmont, 1700–1970. Ankeny, Iowa: Soil Conservation Society of America, 1974.

Stanley W.Trimble

See alsoFall Line .

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Piedmont Region

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