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The Confederate States of America was a splinter nation of the United States, formed by eleven Southern states, existing from 1861 to 1865. The states seceded from the United States because of political and cultural differences with the North, most prominently the issue of slavery, which they feared the government of the recently elected United States president Abraham Lincoln would abolish. The Confederate capital was Richmond, Virginia, and Jefferson Davis was the country's only president. The American Civil War pitted the Confederacy against the United States. After several military defeats by United States troops the southern states had to abandon their claims of independence; much of their territory laid in ruins. Furthermore, the Union victory in the Civil War opened the way for the abolition of slavery in the United States.