The Confederate States of America (also called the Confederacy, the Confederate States, and CSA) was the name of the former government formed by eleven southern states of the United States of America between 1861 and 1865. However, since the CSA was never recognised by other countries, by international law and custom, it was never properly an independant country.
Seven states declared their independence from the United States before Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President; four more did so after the American Civil War began at the Battle of Fort Sumter. The United States of America ("The Union") held secession illegal and refused recognition of the Confederacy. Although British and French commercial interests sold it warships and materials, no European nation officially recognised the CSA.
The CSA effectively collapsed when Robert E. Lee and Joseph Johnston surrendered their armies in April of 1865. The last meeting of its Cabinet took place in Georgia in May. Nearly all remaining Confederate forces surrendered by the end of June. A decade-long process known as Reconstruction temporarily gave civil rights and the right to vote to the freedmen, expelled ex-Confederate leaders from office, and re-admitted the states to representation in Congress.