It has been more than 150 years since the end of the four-year American Civil War (1861-1865) that claimed more than 600,000 lives.
The Confederate States of America, also known as the Confederacy, was a group of 11 Southern states that seceded from the Union in 1860. The states, in order of their secession, were South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee.
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These states wanted to preserve the institution of slavery which they largely depended on to build their economies.
In the end, the Confederacy was defeated and slavery was abolished.
Monument debate and removal
Across the United States, there are an estimated 1,741 public symbols of the Confederacy, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
These symbols include schools, parks, bridges, roads, statues and more.
Although many Americans recognise the immorality of historic colonialists, slave owners and anti-abolitionists, some say these symbols should be preserved as a reminder of the country’s past.
In 2017, during a protest against the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee, a self-described neo-Nazi killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer after he rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Since then, at least 44 monuments have been removed across the country.
The map below shows where the 771 statues and monuments are in the US:
The number of statues and monuments in each state:
North Carolina 96;
South Carolina 58;
District of Columbia 10;
West Virginia 9;
New Mexico 4;
(Figures last updated July 2019 by Southern Poverty Law Center)
George Floyd protests
Protests across the US broke out – leading to widespread unrest – after the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis.
Protesters and public officials have made demands that include the removal of any public statues or monuments perceived to be symbols of racism in the US, including Confederate monuments, of which several have been removed forcibly by protesters or ordered so by city councils.
Here is a list of some of the Confederate monuments and statues that have been removed over the past two weeks:
Robert E Lee statue, Montgomery, Alabama
The statue of Robert E Lee, one of the most renowned Confederate generals who fought in the US Civil War, was toppled on June 1 outside of a high school bearing his name.
Four people have been charged in the incident.
Appomattox statue, Alexandria, Virginia
The monument of Confederate soldier called “Appomattox”, erected in 1889, was removed on June 3. The statue has courted controversy for years, with many asking for its removal.
Justin Wilson, the mayor of Alexandria, posted images of the statue’s removal, adding the city, “like all great cities, is constantly changing and evolving”.
John B Castleman statue, Louisville, Kentucky
The 107 year-old statue was a well-known local landmark which was removed on June 8.
The mayor of Louisville, democract Greg Fisher, said John B Castleman’s statue was likely to be moved to the Confederate icon’s graveyard.
Fischer had been vying for years to have the 15-foot statue taken down and has previously said the city should not “maintain statues that serve as validating symbols for racist or bigoted ideology”.
Confederate monument, Indianapolis, Indiana
The 10-metre (35-foot) monument, built in 1912 and moved to Garfield Park in 1928, was dedicated to Confederate soldiers.
The monument was removed on June 8.
Confederate monument, Jacksonville, Florida
The monument, located in Hemming Park, was built in honour of the Jacksonville Light Infantry that was part of the Confederacy.
The bronze statue had been in the park since 1898.
Zebulon Baird Vance monument, Asheville, North Carolina
The 15-metre (50-foot) monument of Confederate military officer and former North Carolina Governor Zebulon Baird Vance was ordered to be removed, after Asheville City Council voted unanimously on June 9 to remove Confederate monuments in the city.