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West Virginia Quick Facts
- On June 20th of 1863 West Virginia was admitted to the Union making it the 35th state in the United States.
- The population of West Virginia is 1,850,326 (2014 U.S. Census Bureau estimate) making it the 38th most populated state.
- Charleston is both the Capital of West Virginia and its largest (most populous) city.
- With a total area of 24,230 square miles (62,755 square kilometers) this Southeast state ranks 41st among U.S. states in total area.
- This state is bordered by Maryland to the northeast, Pennsylvania to the north (and east), Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, and Ohio to the northwest.
- At 4,863 feet (1482 meters) Spruce Knob is the highest point in the state.
- The state flower is the Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum).
- West Virginia's state motto is "Montani semper liberi" which is Latin for "Mountaineers are Always Free".
- The official state song is "The West Virginia Hills".
Interesting West Virginia Facts
- Tourist attractions and landmarks within this state include Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, New River Gorge Bridge, and the Greenbrier hotel and resort.
- West Virginia is known for its landscape that consists mostly of hills and mountains. This mountainous landscape is the reason for its nickname "The Mountain State".
- Coal mining and logging have historically been key industries for this state.
- In 1863 West Virginia separated from Virginia making it the second state to be formed by separating from another state; Maine separated from Massachusetts in 1820.
- West Virginia was one of two states, the other being Nevada, that was formed during the American Civil War.
- Besides the state's capital of Charleston other large cities in this state include Huntington, Parkersburg, and Wheeling.
- The state capital, currently Charleston, has been moved back and forth between Wheeling and Charleston three times.
- An interesting fact is that during the American Civil War West Virginia, which fought for the Union, actually had about an equal number of soldiers in the Confederate army as in the Union army.
West Virginia History
- In the mid-1600s a series of conflicts took place in the region called the Beaver Wars or Iroquois Wars. This conflict pitted the nations of the Iroquois Confederation, supported by the Dutch and English, up against several tribes from the Great Lakes region supported by the French. This conflict was one of the bloodiest in North American history and resulted in the Iroquois expanding their territory and forcing numerous tribes to relocate.
- From 1607 up until 1776 West Virginia was part of the British Virginia Colony.
- There was a lot of tension between the Native Americans and the early settlers of West Virginia. An example of this was Dunmore's War in 1774 where as a result of Indian attacks on settlers a militia force fought with several Indian nations.
- From 1776 up until 1863 West Virginia was part of the state of Virginia.
- On October 16th of 1859 abolitionist John Brown led a raid on a military arsenal located in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The objective of the raid was to steal weapons that could be used to initiate a slave uprising. The raid was unsuccessful and Brown was captured and executed.
- Several counties in the North West of Virginia, sympathetic to the Union cause, voted to break away from Virginia during the American Civil War; Virginia had joined the Confederacy. West Virginia was admitted to the Union as the 35th state on June 20th of 1863. This state was the only state formed by separating from a Confederate state.
- West Virginia was greatly affected by the American Civil War with a lot of fighting occurring in the state. The Battle of Rich Mountain fought on July 11th of 1861 was one of the earlier battles in this state; the Union victory resulted in General George B. McClellan taking command of the Army of the Potomac.
- Numerous American Civil War battles took place in this state including the Battle of Philippi, Battle of Carnifex Ferry, Battle of the Henry Clark House, and the Battle of Moorefield.