- The United States has many regions, and author Colin Woodard argues that it can be divided into 11 sub-nations.
- Woodard's defined nations range from the "Deep South" to the "Midlands" and "El Norte."
- The cultural differences between them contribute to the political tensions between states and how they fit into the US overall, he said.
The United States comprises several different regions, each with its own rich history and cultural identity.
Exactly where those regions start and end has been a long-running debate, but according to author Colin Woodard, the United States can be divided into 11 distinct sub-nations.
Woodard mapped out the regions in his 2012 book "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America." Some of his regions might sound familiar, like the "Deep South"; others might surprise American readers, like his "Midlands" region that stretches from New Jersey to northeastern New Mexico.
Recognizing the distinct values of each region is critical to understanding the United States, Woodard said.
"The country has been arguing about a lot of fundamental things lately, including state roles and individual liberty," Woodard, a Maine native, told Business Insider in 2015.
"In order to have any productive conversation on these issues, you need to know where you come from," he said. "Once you know where you are coming from, it will help move the conversation forward."
Here is how Woodard described each region of the US: