West Virginia

West Virginia

Overview
West Virginia is a state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 in the Appalachia
Appalachia
Appalachia is a term used to describe a cultural region in the eastern United States that stretches from the Southern Tier of New York state to northern Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. While the Appalachian Mountains stretch from Belle Isle in Canada to Cheaha Mountain in the U.S...

n and Southeastern
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

 regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 to the southeast, Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

 to the southwest, Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 to the northwest, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 to the northeast and Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 to the east. The capital and largest city is Charleston
Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers in Kanawha County. As of the 2010 census, it has a population of 51,400, and its metropolitan area 304,214. It is the county seat of Kanawha County.Early...

.

West Virginia became a state following the Wheeling Convention
Wheeling Convention
The 1861 Wheeling Convention was a series of two meetings that ultimately repealed the Ordinance of Secession passed by Virginia, thus establishing the Restored government of Virginia, which ultimately authorized the counties that organized the convention to become West Virginia. The convention was...

s, breaking away from Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. The new state was admitted to the Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 on June 20, 1863, and was a key Civil War border state
Border states (Civil War)
In the context of the American Civil War, the border states were slave states that did not declare their secession from the United States before April 1861...

.
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Encyclopedia
West Virginia is a state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 in the Appalachia
Appalachia
Appalachia is a term used to describe a cultural region in the eastern United States that stretches from the Southern Tier of New York state to northern Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. While the Appalachian Mountains stretch from Belle Isle in Canada to Cheaha Mountain in the U.S...

n and Southeastern
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

 regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 to the southeast, Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

 to the southwest, Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 to the northwest, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 to the northeast and Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 to the east. The capital and largest city is Charleston
Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers in Kanawha County. As of the 2010 census, it has a population of 51,400, and its metropolitan area 304,214. It is the county seat of Kanawha County.Early...

.

West Virginia became a state following the Wheeling Convention
Wheeling Convention
The 1861 Wheeling Convention was a series of two meetings that ultimately repealed the Ordinance of Secession passed by Virginia, thus establishing the Restored government of Virginia, which ultimately authorized the counties that organized the convention to become West Virginia. The convention was...

s, breaking away from Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. The new state was admitted to the Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 on June 20, 1863, and was a key Civil War border state
Border states (Civil War)
In the context of the American Civil War, the border states were slave states that did not declare their secession from the United States before April 1861...

. West Virginia was the only state to form by seceding from a Confederate
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 state, and was one of only two states formed during the American Civil War (the other one being Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

, which separated from Utah Territory
Utah Territory
The Territory of Utah was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 4, 1896, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Utah....

).

The Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

 and the Association of American Geographers
Association of American Geographers
The Association of American Geographers is a non-profit scientific and educational society founded in 1904 and aimed at advancing the understanding, study, and importance of geography and related fields...

 consider West Virginia part of the South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

. The northern panhandle extends adjacent to Pennsylvania and Ohio with the West Virginia cities of Wheeling
Wheeling, West Virginia
Wheeling is a city in Ohio and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia; it is the county seat of Ohio County. Wheeling is the principal city of the Wheeling Metropolitan Statistical Area...

 and Weirton
Weirton, West Virginia
Weirton is a city located in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, United States. Most of the city is in Hancock County, with the remainder in Brooke County. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 20,411...

 being just across the border from the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, while Bluefield
Bluefield, West Virginia
Bluefield is a city in Mercer County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 10,447 at the 2010 census. It is also the core city of the Bluefield WV-VA micropolitan area which has a population of 107,342.-Geography & Climate:...

 is less than 70 miles (112.7 km) from North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

. Huntington
Huntington
- People :* Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon* Huntington Hartford, A&P supermarket heir* Anna Hyatt Huntington, American sculptor* Arabella Huntington, wife of Collis Potter Huntington* Archer M. Huntington, scholar of Hispanic Studies...

 in the southwest is close to the states of Ohio and Kentucky, while Martinsburg
Martinsburg
-Places:In the United States:*Martinsburg, Indiana*Martinsburg, Iowa*Martinsburg, Missouri*Martinsburg, Nebraska*Martinsburg, New York*Martinsburg, Ohio*Martinsburg, Pennsylvania*Martinsburg, West VirginiaIn Germany:...

 and Harper's Ferry in the Eastern Panhandle region are considered to be a part of the Washington
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 metropolitan area, in between the states of Maryland and Virginia. The unique position of West Virginia means that it is often included in several geographical regions, including the Mid-Atlantic
Mid-Atlantic States
The Mid-Atlantic states, also called middle Atlantic states or simply the mid Atlantic, form a region of the United States generally located between New England and the South...

, the Upland South
Upland South
The terms Upper South and Upland South refer to the northern part of the Southern United States, in contrast to the Lower South or Deep South.-Geography:There is a slight difference in usage between the two terms...

, and the Southeastern United States
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

. Notably, it is the only state which entirely lies within the area served by the Appalachian Regional Commission
Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission is a United States federal-state partnership that works with the people of Appalachia to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life...

, which is a common definition of "Appalachia".

The state is noted for its mountains and diverse topography, its historically significant logging
Logging
Logging is the cutting, skidding, on-site processing, and loading of trees or logs onto trucks.In forestry, the term logging is sometimes used in a narrow sense concerning the logistics of moving wood from the stump to somewhere outside the forest, usually a sawmill or a lumber yard...

 and coal mining
Coal mining
The goal of coal mining is to obtain coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content, and since the 1880s has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production. In the United States,...

 industries, and its political and labor history
Labor history (discipline)
Labor history is a broad field of study concerned with the development of the labor movement and the working class. The central concerns of labor historians include the development of labor unions, strikes, lockouts and protest movements, industrial relations, and the progress of working class and...

. It is one of the most densely karst
KARST
Kilometer-square Area Radio Synthesis Telescope is a Chinese telescope project to which FAST is a forerunner. KARST is a set of large spherical reflectors on karst landforms, which are bowlshaped limestone sinkholes named after the Kras region in Slovenia and Northern Italy. It will consist of...

ic areas in the world, making it a choice area for recreational caving and scientific research. The karst lands contribute to much of the state's cool trout waters. It is also known for a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, including skiing
Skiing
Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

, whitewater rafting, fishing
Fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

, hiking
Hiking
Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People often hike on hiking trails. It is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. The health benefits of different types of hiking...

, mountain biking
Mountain biking
Mountain biking is a sport which consists of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially adapted mountain bikes. Mountain bikes share similarities with other bikes, but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain.Mountain biking can...

 and hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

.

Geography





Located in the Appalachian Mountain range
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

, West Virginia covers an area of 24229.76 square miles (62,754.8 km²), with 24077.73 square miles (62,361 km²) of land and 152.03 square miles (393.8 km²) of water, making it the 41st-largest state in the United States. West Virginia borders Pennsylvania and Maryland in the northeast , Virginia in the southeast, Ohio in the northwest, and Kentucky in the southwest.

Geology and terrain



West Virginia is located entirely within the Appalachian Mountain range
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

, and the state is entirely mountainous, giving reason to the nickname The Mountain State and the motto Montani Semper Liberi ("Mountaineers are always free.") About 75% of the state is within the Cumberland Plateau
Cumberland Plateau
The Cumberland Plateau is the southern part of the Appalachian Plateau. It includes much of eastern Kentucky and western West Virginia, part of Tennessee, and a small portion of northern Alabama and northwest Georgia . The terms "Allegheny Plateau" and the "Cumberland Plateau" both refer to the...

 and Allegheny Plateau
Allegheny Plateau
The Allegheny Plateau is a large dissected plateau area in western and central New York, northern and western Pennsylvania, northern and western West Virginia, and eastern Ohio...

 regions. Though the relief is not high, the plateau region is extremely rugged in most areas. The average elevation of West Virginia is approximately 1500 feet (457.2 m) above sea level, which is the highest of any US state east of the Mississippi River.

On the eastern state line with Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, high peaks in the Monongahela National Forest
Monongahela National Forest
The Monongahela National Forest is a national forest located in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia, USA. It protects over of federally-owned land within a proclamation boundary that includes much of the Potomac Highlands Region and portions of 10 counties.The MNF includes some...

 region give rise to an island of colder climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

 and ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

s similar to those of northern New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 and eastern Canada. The highest point in the state is atop Spruce Knob
Spruce Knob
Spruce Knob, at , is the highest point in the state of West Virginia and the summit of Spruce Mountain, the tallest mountain in the Alleghenies.-Overview:...

, at 4863 ft (1,482.2 m), and is covered in a boreal forest of dense spruce
Spruce
A spruce is a tree of the genus Picea , a genus of about 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees in the Family Pinaceae, found in the northern temperate and boreal regions of the earth. Spruces are large trees, from tall when mature, and can be distinguished by their whorled branches and conical...

 trees at altitudes above 4000 feet (1,219.2 m). Spruce Knob lies within the Monongahela National Forest
Monongahela National Forest
The Monongahela National Forest is a national forest located in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia, USA. It protects over of federally-owned land within a proclamation boundary that includes much of the Potomac Highlands Region and portions of 10 counties.The MNF includes some...

 and is a part of the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area
Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area
Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area is a U.S. National Recreation Area located within the Monongahela National Forest of eastern West Virginia, USA.The National Recreation Area protects three prominent West Virginia landmarks:...

. A total of six wilderness
Wilderness
Wilderness or wildland is a natural environment on Earth that has not been significantly modified by human activity. It may also be defined as: "The most intact, undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet—those last truly wild places that humans do not control and have not developed with...

 areas can also be found within the forest. Outside the forest to the south, the New River Gorge is a 1000 feet (304.8 m) deep canyon carved by the New River. The National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

 manages a portion of the gorge and river that has been designated as the New River Gorge National River
New River Gorge National River
The New River Gorge National River is a unit of the United States National Park Service designed to protect and maintain the New River Gorge in southern West Virginia. Established in 1978, the NPS-protected area stretches for from just downstream of Hinton to Hawks Nest State Park near Ansted.New...

, one of only 15 rivers in the U.S. with this level of protection.

Other areas under protection and management include:
  • Appalachian National Scenic Trail
  • Bluestone National Scenic River
    Bluestone National Scenic River
    The Bluestone National Scenic River protects a section of the Bluestone River in Summers and Mercer counties of southern West Virginia. It was created in 1988 under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and is protected by the National Park Service....

  • Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
    Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
    The Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Tucker County, West Virginia is the 500th National Wildlife Refuge to be established in the USA. The refuge preserves a moist valley with unique wetlands and uplands at a relatively high elevation in the Allegheny Mountains. It is administered by the...

  • Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
    Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
    The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park located in the District of Columbia and the states of Maryland and West Virginia. The park was established as a National Monument in 1961 by President Dwight D...

  • Gauley River National Recreation Area
    Gauley River National Recreation Area
    The Gauley River National Recreation Area, located near Summersville, West Virginia, protects a portion of the Gauley River and a segment of the Meadow River in southern West Virginia. Little of the park is accessible via roads; one must travel via the river...

  • George Washington National Forest
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
    Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
    Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers in and around Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The park includes land in Jefferson County, West Virginia; Washington County, Maryland and Loudoun County, Virginia. The park is managed by the...

  • Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge
    Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge
    The Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge is a National Wildlife Refuge in non-contiguous sites consisting of islands along of the Ohio River, primarily in the U.S. state of West Virginia. There are also a couple of islands upstream in Beaver County, Pennsylvania and a couple downstream...




  • Most of West Virginia lies within the Appalachian mixed mesophytic forests
    Appalachian mixed mesophytic forests
    The Appalachian mixed mesophytic forests are an ecoregion of mesophytic plants west of the Appalachian Mountains in the southeastern United States.-Setting:...

     ecoregion
    Ecoregion
    An ecoregion , sometimes called a bioregion, is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than an ecozone and larger than an ecosystem. Ecoregions cover relatively large areas of land or water, and contain characteristic, geographically distinct assemblages of natural...

    , while the higher elevations along the eastern border and in the panhandle lie within the Appalachian-Blue Ridge forests
    Appalachian-Blue Ridge forests
    The Appalachian-Blue Ridge Forests is a temperate broadleaf and mixed forests ecoregion of the Eastern United States, delineated by the World Wide Fund for Nature.-Setting:...

    . The native vegetation
    Vegetation
    Vegetation is a general term for the plant life of a region; it refers to the ground cover provided by plants. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular taxa, life forms, structure, spatial extent, or any other specific botanical or geographic characteristics. It is broader...

     for most of the state was originally mixed hardwood
    Hardwood
    Hardwood is wood from angiosperm trees . It may also be used for those trees themselves: these are usually broad-leaved; in temperate and boreal latitudes they are mostly deciduous, but in tropics and subtropics mostly evergreen.Hardwood contrasts with softwood...

     forest
    Forest
    A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

     of oak, chestnut
    Chestnut
    Chestnut , some species called chinkapin or chinquapin, is a genus of eight or nine species of deciduous trees and shrubs in the beech family Fagaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The name also refers to the edible nuts they produce.-Species:The chestnut belongs to the...

    , maple
    Maple
    Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

    , beech
    Beech
    Beech is a genus of ten species of deciduous trees in the family Fagaceae, native to temperate Europe, Asia and North America.-Habit:...

    , and white pine
    Eastern White Pine
    Pinus strobus, commonly known as the eastern white pine, is a large pine native to eastern North America, occurring from Newfoundland west to Minnesota and southeastern Manitoba, and south along the Appalachian Mountains to the northern edge of Georgia.It is occasionally known as simply white pine,...

    , with willow
    Willow
    Willows, sallows, and osiers form the genus Salix, around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere...

     and American sycamore
    American sycamore
    Platanus occidentalis, also known as American Sycamore, American plane, Occidental plane, and Buttonwood, is one of the species of Platanus native to North America...

     along the state's waterways. Many of the areas are rich in biodiversity
    Biodiversity
    Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

     and scenic beauty, a fact that is appreciated by native West Virginians, who refer to their home as Almost Heaven (from the song, "Take Me Home, Country Roads
    Take Me Home, Country Roads
    "Take Me Home, Country Roads" is a song written by John Denver, Taffy Nivert, and Bill Danoff and initially recorded by John Denver. It was included on his 1971 breakout album Poems, Prayers and Promises; the single went to #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100...

    ") by John Denver
    John Denver
    Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. , known professionally as John Denver, was an American singer/songwriter, activist, and humanitarian. After growing up in numerous locations with his military family, Denver began his music career in folk music groups in the late 1960s. His greatest commercial success...

    . Before the song, it was known as "The Cog State" (Coal, Oil, and Gas) or "The Mountain State."

    The underlying rock strata are sandstone
    Sandstone
    Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

    , shale
    Shale
    Shale is a fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock composed of mud that is a mix of flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments of other minerals, especially quartz and calcite. The ratio of clay to other minerals is variable. Shale is characterized by breaks along thin laminae or parallel layering...

    , bituminous coal
    Bituminous coal
    Bituminous coal or black coal is a relatively soft coal containing a tarlike substance called bitumen. It is of higher quality than lignite coal but of poorer quality than Anthracite...

     beds, and limestone
    Limestone
    Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

     laid down in a near shore environment from sediment
    Sediment
    Sediment is naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently transported by the action of fluids such as wind, water, or ice, and/or by the force of gravity acting on the particle itself....

    s derived from mountains to the east, in a shallow inland sea on the west. Some beds illustrate a coastal swamp environment, some river delta, some shallow water. Sea level rose and fell many times during the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian
    Pennsylvanian
    The Pennsylvanian is, in the ICS geologic timescale, the younger of two subperiods of the Carboniferous Period. It lasted from roughly . As with most other geochronologic units, the rock beds that define the Pennsylvanian are well identified, but the exact date of the start and end are uncertain...

     eras, giving a variety of rock strata
    Stratum
    In geology and related fields, a stratum is a layer of sedimentary rock or soil with internally consistent characteristics that distinguish it from other layers...

    . The Appalachian Mountains are some of the oldest on earth, having formed over 300 million years ago.

    Climate


    The climate of West Virginia is a humid subtropical climate
    Humid subtropical climate
    A humid subtropical climate is a climate zone characterized by hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters...

     (Koppen climate classification
    Köppen climate classification
    The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

     Cfa) in some of the lower elevations, primarily in the southwestern portion of the state (including Huntington
    Huntington, West Virginia
    Huntington is a city in Cabell and Wayne counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia, along the Ohio River. Most of the city is in Cabell County, for which it is the county seat. A small portion of the city, mainly the neighborhood of Westmoreland, is in Wayne County. Its population was 49,138 at...

     and Charleston
    Charleston, West Virginia
    Charleston is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers in Kanawha County. As of the 2010 census, it has a population of 51,400, and its metropolitan area 304,214. It is the county seat of Kanawha County.Early...

    ), along with parts of the Eastern Panhandle east of the Appalachians with hot, humid summers and milder winters. The rest of the state generally has a humid continental climate
    Humid continental climate
    A humid continental climate is a climatic region typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot summers and cold winters....

     (Koppen climate classification
    Köppen climate classification
    The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

     Dfa, except Dfb at the higher elevations) with warm to hot, humid summers and cool to cold winters, increasing in severity with elevation. Some southern highland areas also have a mountain temperate climate (Koppen Cfb) where winter temperatures are more moderate and summer temperatures are somewhat cooler. However, the weather is subject in all parts of the state to change. The hardiness zone
    Hardiness zone
    A hardiness zone is a geographically defined area in which a specific category of plant life is capable of growing, as defined by climatic conditions, including its ability to withstand the minimum temperatures of the zone...

    s range from zone 5b in the central Appalachian mountains to zone 7a in the warmest parts of the lowest elevations.
    In the Eastern Panhandle and the Ohio River
    Ohio River
    The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

     Valley, temperatures are warm enough to see and grow subtropical plants such as Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), Crepe Myrtle, Albizia julibrissin
    Albizia julibrissin
    Albizia julibrissin is a species of legume in the genus Albizia, native to southwestern and eastern Asia, from Persia east to China and Korea...

    , American Sweetgum
    American Sweetgum
    Liquidambar styraciflua, commonly called the American sweetgum, sweet-gum, alligator-wood, American-storax, bilsted, red-gum, satin-walnut, or star-leaved gum, is a deciduous tree in the genus Liquidambar native to warm temperate areas of eastern North America and tropical montane regions of Mexico...

     and even the occasional needle palm
    Needle Palm
    Rhapidophyllum hystrix is a palm, the sole member of the genus Rhapidophyllum. It is native to the southeastern United States, from central Florida to Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Alabama...

     and sabal minor. These plants do not thrive as well in other parts of the state. The Eastern prickly pear
    Eastern prickly pear
    Opuntia humifusa, commonly known as the Eastern Prickly Pear or Indian Fig, is a native cactus found in most of eastern North America. It ranges from Montana eastward to southern Ontario and then on to Massachusetts, south to Florida and westward to New Mexico.The green stems of this low-growing...

     grows well in many portions of the state.

    Average January temperatures range from around 26 °F (−4 °C) near the Cheat River
    Cheat River
    The Cheat River is a tributary of the Monongahela River in eastern West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania in the United States. Via the Monongahela and Ohio rivers, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed, ultimately draining into the Gulf of Mexico.-Geography:The Cheat is formed at...

     to 41 °F (5 °C) along sections of the border with Kentucky. July averages range from 67 °F (19 °C) along the North Branch Potomac River to 76 °F (24 °C) in the western part of the state. It is cooler in the mountains than in the lower sections of the state. The highest recorded temperature in the state is 112 °F (44.4 °C) at Martinsburg
    Martinsburg, West Virginia
    Martinsburg is a city in the Eastern Panhandle region of West Virginia, United States. The city's population was 14,972 at the 2000 census; according to a 2009 Census Bureau estimate, Martinsburg's population was 17,117, making it the largest city in the Eastern Panhandle and the eighth largest...

     on July 10, 1936 and the lowest recorded temperature in the state is -37 F at Lewisburg
    Lewisburg, West Virginia
    Lewisburg is a city in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 3,830 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Greenbrier County.-Geography:Lewisburg is located at ....

     on December 30, 1917.

    Annual precipitation ranges from less than 32 inches (81.3 cm) in the lower eastern section to more than 56 inches (142.2 cm) in higher parts of the Allegheny Front. Slightly more than half the rainfall occurs from April to September. Dense fogs are common in many valleys of the Kanawha
    Kanawha County, West Virginia
    As of the census of 2000, there were 200,073 people, 86,226 households, and 55,960 families residing in the county. The population density was 222 people per square mile . There were 93,788 housing units at an average density of 104 per square mile...

     section, especially the Tygart Valley. West Virginia is also one of the cloudiest states in the nation, with the cities of Elkins
    Elkins, West Virginia
    Elkins is a city in Randolph County, West Virginia, United States. The community was incorporated in 1890 and named in honor of Stephen Benton Elkins , a U.S. Senator from West Virginia. The population was 7,032 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Randolph County...

     and Beckley
    Beckley, West Virginia
    Beckley is a city in Raleigh County, West Virginia, United States, which was founded on April 4, 1838. The 2008 population was estimated to be 16,832 by the U.S. Census Bureau. Early in its history, the town was known as Beckleyville and Raleigh Court House...

     ranking 9th and 10th in the U.S. respectively for the number of cloudy days per year (over 210). In addition to persistent cloudy skies caused by the damming of moisture by the Alleghenies, West Virginia also experiences some of the most frequent precipitation in the nation, with Snowshoe averaging nearly 200 days a year with either rain or snow. Snow usually lasts only a few days in the lower sections but may persist for weeks in the higher mountain areas. An average of 34 inches (86.4 cm) of snow falls annually in Charleston, although during the winter of 1995–1996 more than three times that amount fell as several cities in the state established new records for snowfall. Average snowfall in the Allegheny Highlands can range up to 180 inches (457.2 cm) per year. Severe weather is somewhat less prevalent in West Virginia than in most other eastern states, and it ranks among the least tornado-prone states east of the Rockies.

    History


    The area was a favorite hunting ground of numerous Native American
    Indigenous peoples of the Americas
    The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

     peoples before the arrival of European settlers. Many ancient man-made earthen mounds from various mound builder cultures survive, especially in the areas of Moundsville
    Moundsville, West Virginia
    Moundsville is a city in Marshall County, West Virginia, along the Ohio River. It is part of the Wheeling Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 9,998 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Marshall County. The city was named for the Grave Creek Mound. Moundsville was settled in...

    , South Charleston
    South Charleston, West Virginia
    South Charleston is a city in Kanawha County, West Virginia, U.S. The population was 13,450 at the 2010 census. South Charleston was established in 1906, but not incorporated until 1919 by special charter enacted by the West Virginia Legislature...

    , and Romney
    Romney, West Virginia
    Romney is a city in and the county seat of Hampshire County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 1,940 at the 2000 census, while the area covered by the city's ZIP code had a population of 5,873. It is a city with a very historic background dating back to the 18th century...

    . The artifacts uncovered in these give evidence of a village society having a tribal trade system culture that practiced limited cold worked
    Work hardening
    Work hardening, also known as strain hardening or cold working, is the strengthening of a metal by plastic deformation. This strengthening occurs because of dislocation movements within the crystal structure of the material. Any material with a reasonably high melting point such as metals and...

     copper
    Copper
    Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

    .

    In more recent history the area now occupied by West Virginia was contested territory, mainly by Pennsylvania
    Pennsylvania
    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

     and Virginia
    Virginia
    The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

    . Some speculative land companies, such as the Vandalia Company, and later the Ohio Company
    Ohio Company
    The Ohio Company, formally known as the Ohio Company of Virginia, was a land speculation company organized for the settlement by Virginians of the Ohio Country and to trade with the Indians there...

     and Indiana Company, tried to legitimize their claims to land in parts of West Virginia and Kentucky, but failed. With the settlement of the Pennsylvania and Virginia border dispute which resulted in the creation of Kentucky
    Kentucky
    The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

    , Kentuckians "were satisfied [...], and the inhabitants of a large part of West Virginia were grateful."

    West Virginia was originally part of the British Virginia Colony (from 1607 to 1776) and the western part of the state of Virginia
    Virginia
    The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

     (from 1776 to 1863), whose population became sharply divided over the issue of secession from the Union
    Union (American Civil War)
    During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

     and in the separation from Virginia, formalized by admittance to the Union as a new state in 1863.

    West Virginia's history has been profoundly affected by its mountainous terrain, numerous and vast river valleys, and rich natural resources. These were all factors driving its economy and the lifestyles of residents, and remain so today.

    Prehistory


    A 2010 analysis of a local stalagmite
    Stalagmite
    A stalagmite is a type of speleothem that rises from the floor of a limestone cave due to the dripping of mineralized solutions and the deposition of calcium carbonate. This stalagmite formation occurs only under certain pH conditions within the underground cavern. The corresponding formation on...

     revealed that native Americans were burning forests to clear land as early as 100 BC. Some regional late prehistoric Eastern Woodland tribes were more to hunter or fishery phases practicing slash and burn Eastern Agricultural Complex
    Eastern Agricultural Complex
    The Eastern Agricultural Complex describes the agricultural practices of the pre-historic Eastern Woodland Native Americans in the eastern United States and Canada. Native Americans domesticated and cultivated many indigenous crops as far west as the Great Plains.-Term:The term Eastern Agricultural...

     gardening method. Another group progressed to the more time consuming advanced companion crop fields method of gardening. Also continuing from ancient indigenous people of the state, field space and time was given to tobacco
    Tobacco
    Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

     growing through to early historic. "Maize (corn
    Corn
    Corn is the name used in the United States, Canada, and Australia for the grain maize.In much of the English-speaking world, the term "corn" is a generic term for cereal crops, such as* Barley* Oats* Wheat* Rye- Places :...

    ) did not make a substantial contribution to the diet until after 1150 B.P.", to quote Mills (OSU 2003). Eventually, tribal villages began relying heavily on corn to also feed their turkey flocks as Kanawha Fort Ancients practiced bird husbandry. The local Indians were not only making corn bread, but, also flat rye bread called "banick" emerging from the protohistoric. A horizon extending from a little before the early 18th century is sometimes called the acculturating Fireside Cabin culture as Potomac and James rivers outpost trade spreads across the state.

    In a summary to quote Dr. Robert F. Maslowski, "The Adena Indians
    Adena culture
    The Adena culture was a Pre-Columbian Native American culture that existed from 1000 to 200 BC, in a time known as the early Woodland Period. The Adena culture refers to what were probably a number of related Native American societies sharing a burial complex and ceremonial system...

     used pipes for ceremonies. They were carved of stone and they were exceptional works of art. Pipes and the smoking of tobacco
    Tobacco
    Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

     became more common during the Late Prehistoric period. They were often made of clay
    Clay
    Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

     and rather plain." "Nothing is known about Paleo-Indian and Archaic houses in the Kanawha Valley, but archeologists have found evidence of Woodland and Fort Ancient houses." "Woodland Indians
    Woodland period
    The Woodland period of North American pre-Columbian cultures was from roughly 1000 BCE to 1000 CE in the eastern part of North America. The term "Woodland Period" was introduced in the 1930s as a generic header for prehistoric sites falling between the Archaic hunter-gatherers and the...

     lived in wigwams ... The Woodland Indians grew sunflowers, gourds, squash and several seeds such as lambsquarter
    Chenopodium berlandieri
    Chenopodium berlandieri, also known by the common names pitseed goosefoot, huauzontle, and lambsquarters, is an annual herbaceous plant in the goosefoot family....

    , may grass
    Cereal
    Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

    , sumpweed, smartweed and little barley
    Barley
    Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

    ." "Fort Ancient Indians lived in much larger square or rectangular houses ... The Fort Ancient Indians can be considered true farmers. They cultivated large agricultural fields around their villages. They no longer grew such a variety of seeds but concentrated on growing corn
    Maize
    Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

    , beans, sunflowers, gourds, and many types of squash including the pumpkin
    Pumpkin
    A pumpkin is a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae . It commonly refers to cultivars of any one of the species Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita mixta, Cucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata, and is native to North America...

    . They also grew domestic turkeys and kept dogs as pets." As of 2009, over 12,500 archaeological sites have been documented in West Virginia (Bryan Ward 2009:10).

    European exploration and settlement




    In 1671, General Abraham Wood
    Abraham Wood
    Abraham Wood , sometimes referred to as "General" or "Colonel" Wood, was an English fur trader and explorer of 17th century colonial Virginia...

    , at the direction of Royal Governor William Berkeley of the Virginia Colony, sent a party which discovered Kanawha Falls
    Glen Ferris, West Virginia
    Glen Ferris is an unincorporated census-designated place on the western bank of the Kanawha River in Fayette County, West Virginia. It is situated approximately one mile south of the town of Gauley Bridge. The sole highway linking Glen Ferris to the area is U.S. Route 60, known also as the Midland...

    . In 1716, Governor Alexander Spotswood
    Alexander Spotswood
    Alexander Spotswood was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the British Army and a noted Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. He is noted in Virginia and American history for a number of his projects as Governor, including his exploring beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains, his establishing what was perhaps the first...

     with about thirty horsemen made an excursion into what is now Pendleton County
    Pendleton County, West Virginia
    As of the census of 2000, there were 8,196 people, 3,350 households, and 2,355 families residing in the county. The population density was 12 people per square mile . There were 5,102 housing units at an average density of 7 per square mile...

    . John Van Metre, an Indian trader, penetrated into the northern portion in 1725. The same year, German
    Germans
    The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

     settlers from Pennsylvania
    Pennsylvania
    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

     founded New Mecklenburg, the present Shepherdstown
    Shepherdstown, West Virginia
    Shepherdstown is a town in Jefferson County, West Virginia, United States, located along the Potomac River. It is the oldest town in the state, having been chartered in 1762 by Colonial Virginia's General Assembly. Since 1863, Shepherdstown has been in West Virginia, and is the oldest town in...

    , on the Potomac River
    Potomac River
    The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river is approximately long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles...

    , and others followed.

    King Charles II of England
    Charles II of England
    Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

    , in 1661, granted to a company of gentlemen the land between the Potomac and Rappahannock
    Rappahannock River
    The Rappahannock River is a river in eastern Virginia, in the United States, approximately in length. It traverses the entire northern part of the state, from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west, across the Piedmont, to the Chesapeake Bay, south of the Potomac River.An important river in American...

     rivers, known as the Northern Neck
    Northern Neck
    The Northern Neck is the northernmost of three peninsulas on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This peninsula is bounded by the Potomac River on the north and the Rappahannock River on the south. It encompasses the following Virginia counties: Lancaster,...

    . The grant finally came into the possession of Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron
    Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron
    Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron was the son of Thomas Fairfax, 5th Lord Fairfax of Cameron and of Catherine, daughter of Thomas Culpeper, 2nd Baron Culpeper of Thoresway....

    , and in 1746, a stone
    Fairfax Stone
    Fairfax Stone Historical Monument State Park is a West Virginia state park commemorating the Fairfax Stone, a surveyor's marker and boundary stone at the source of the North Branch of the Potomac River in West Virginia...

     was erected at the source of the North Branch Potomac River to mark the western limit of the grant. A considerable part of this land was surveyed by George Washington
    George Washington
    George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

     between 1748 and 1751. The diary kept by the surveyor indicates that there were already many squatters, largely of German origin, along the South Branch Potomac River. Christopher Gist
    Christopher Gist
    Christopher Gist was an accomplished American explorer, surveyor and frontiersman. He was one of the first white explorers of the Ohio Country . He is credited with providing the first detailed description of the Ohio Country to Great Britain and her colonists...

    , a surveyor in the employ of the first Ohio Company
    Ohio Company
    The Ohio Company, formally known as the Ohio Company of Virginia, was a land speculation company organized for the settlement by Virginians of the Ohio Country and to trade with the Indians there...

    , which was composed chiefly of Virginians, explored the country along the Ohio River
    Ohio River
    The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

     north of the mouth of the Kanawha River
    Kanawha River
    The Kanawha River is a tributary of the Ohio River, approximately 97 mi long, in the U.S. state of West Virginia. The largest inland waterway in West Virginia, it has formed a significant industrial region of the state since the middle of the 19th century.It is formed at the town of Gauley...

     between 1751 and 1752. The company sought to have a fourteenth colony established with the name "Vandalia
    Vandalia (colony)
    Vandalia was the name of a proposed British colony in North America . The colony was located south of the Ohio River, primarily in what is now the U.S...

    ". Many settlers crossed the mountains after 1750, though they were hindered by Native American resistance. Few Native Americans lived permanently within the present limits of the state, but the region was a common hunting ground, crossed by many trails. During the French and Indian War
    French and Indian War
    The French and Indian War is the common American name for the war between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. In 1756, the war erupted into the world-wide conflict known as the Seven Years' War and thus came to be regarded as the North American theater of that war...

     the scattered British settlements were almost destroyed.

    In 1774, the Crown Governor of Virginia John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore
    John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore
    John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore was a British peer and colonial governor. He was the son of William Murray, 3rd Earl of Dunmore, and his wife Catherine . He is best remembered as the last royal governor of the Colony of Virginia.John was the eldest son of William and Catherine Murray, and nephew...

    , led a force over the mountains, and a body of militia under then-Colonel Andrew Lewis
    Andrew Lewis (soldier)
    Andrew Lewis was an American pioneer, surveyor, and soldier from Virginia. He served as a colonel of militia during the French and Indian War, and as a brigadier general in the American Revolutionary War...

     dealt the Shawnee Indians, under Hokoleskwa
    Cornstalk
    Cornstalk was a prominent leader of the Shawnee nation just prior to the American Revolution. His name, Hokoleskwa, translates loosely into "stalk of corn" in English, and is spelled Colesqua in some accounts...

     (or "Cornstalk"), a crushing blow during the Battle of Point Pleasant
    Battle of Point Pleasant
    The Battle of Point Pleasant, known as the Battle of Kanawha in some older accounts, was the only major battle of Dunmore's War. It was fought on October 10, 1774, primarily between Virginia militia and American Indians from the Shawnee and Mingo tribes...

     at the junction of the Kanawha and the Ohio rivers. Native American attacks continued until after the American Revolutionary War
    American Revolutionary War
    The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

    . During the war, the settlers in western Virginia were generally active Whigs and many served in the Continental Army
    Continental Army
    The Continental Army was formed after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in...

    , however Claypool's Rebellion of 1780–1781 where a group of men refused to pay Colonial taxes showed war-weariness in West Virginia.

    Trans-Allegheny Virginia



    Social conditions in western Virginia were entirely unlike those in the eastern portion of the state. The population was not homogeneous, as a considerable part of the immigration came by way of Pennsylvania and included Germans, Protestant Ulster-Scots
    Ulster-Scots
    The Ulster Scots are an ethnic group in Ireland, descended from Lowland Scots and English from the border of those two countries, many from the "Border Reivers" culture...

    , and settlers from the states farther north. Counties in the east and south were settled mostly by east Virginians. During the American Revolution
    American Revolution
    The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

    , the movement to create a state beyond the Alleghenies was revived and a petition for the establishment of "Westsylvania
    Westsylvania
    Westsylvania was a proposed state of the United States located primarily in what is now western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. First proposed early in the American Revolution, Westsylvania would have been the fourteenth state in the newly formed United States had it been recognized.-Background:In...

    " was presented to Congress
    United States Congress
    The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

    , on the grounds that the mountains made an almost impassable barrier on the east. The rugged nature of the country made slavery unprofitable, and time only increased the social, political, economic and cultural differences (see Tuckahoe-Cohee
    Tuckahoe-Cohee
    Tuckahoe and cohee were terms used during the 18th and 19th centuries to describe two contrasting cultural groups in the Virginia and Carolina areas of the United States. These slang terms are now considered obscure and obsolete...

    ) between the two sections of Virginia.

    The convention that met in 1829 to form a new constitution for Virginia, against the protest of the counties beyond the mountains, required a property qualification for suffrage
    Suffrage
    Suffrage, political franchise, or simply the franchise, distinct from mere voting rights, is the civil right to vote gained through the democratic process...

     and gave the slave-holding counties the benefit of three-fifths of their slave population in apportioning the state's representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. As a result, every county beyond the Alleghenies except one voted to reject the constitution, which nevertheless passed because of eastern support.

    The Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1850–51, the Reform Convention, addressed a number of issues important to western Virginians. The vote was extended to all white males of 21 years of age plus. The governor, lieutenant-governor, the judiciary, sheriffs and other county officers were to be elected by public vote. The composition of the General Assembly was changed, representation in the house of delegates was apportioned on the white basis of the census of 1850, but the Senate was fixed arbitrarily, the west receiving twenty, and the east thirty, senators. This was made acceptable to the west by a provision that required the General Assembly to reapportion representation on the white basis in 1865, or else put the matter to a public referendum. But the east also gave itself a tax advantage in requiring a property tax at true and actual value, except for slaves. Slaves under the age of 12 years were not taxed, and slaves over that age were taxed at only $300, a fraction of their true value. Small farmers, however, had all their assets, animals and land, taxed at full value. Despite this tax and the lack of internal improvements in the west, the vote was 75,748 for and 11,063 against the new Constitution, most of the latter being from eastern counties, which did not like the compromises made for the west.

    Separation from Virginia




    West Virginia was the only state in the Union to secede from a Confederate state (Virginia
    Virginia
    The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

    ) during the American Civil War. In Richmond on April 17, 1861, the 49 delegates from the future state of West Virginia voted 17 in favor of the Ordinance of Secession (of Virginia from the United States), 30 against and 2 abstentions. Almost immediately after the vote to proceed with secession
    Secession
    Secession is the act of withdrawing from an organization, union, or especially a political entity. Threats of secession also can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals.-Secession theory:...

     from the Union prevailed in the Virginia General Assembly, a mass meeting at Clarksburg
    Clarksburg, West Virginia
    Clarksburg is a city in and the county seat of Harrison County, West Virginia, United States, in the north-central region of the state. It is the principal city of the Clarksburg, WV Micropolitan Statistical Area...

     recommended that each county in northwestern Virginia send delegates to a convention to meet in Wheeling
    Wheeling, West Virginia
    Wheeling is a city in Ohio and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia; it is the county seat of Ohio County. Wheeling is the principal city of the Wheeling Metropolitan Statistical Area...

     on May 13, 1861. When this First Wheeling Convention
    Wheeling Convention
    The 1861 Wheeling Convention was a series of two meetings that ultimately repealed the Ordinance of Secession passed by Virginia, thus establishing the Restored government of Virginia, which ultimately authorized the counties that organized the convention to become West Virginia. The convention was...

     met, 425 delegates from 25 counties were present, though more than one-third of the delegates were from the northern panhandle area, but soon there was a division of sentiment.

    Some delegates favored the immediate formation of a new state, while others argued that, as Virginia's secession had not yet been passed by the required referendum, such action would constitute revolution against the United States. It was decided that if the ordinance were adopted (of which there was little doubt), another convention including the members-elect of the legislature should meet at Wheeling in June. At the election on May 23, 1861, secession was ratified by a large majority in the state as a whole, but in the western counties 34,677 voted against and 19,121 voted for the Ordinance.

    The Second Wheeling Convention met as agreed on June 11 and declared that, since the Secession Convention had been called without the consent of the people, all its acts were void, and that all who adhered to it had vacated their offices. The Wheeling Conventions, and the delegates themselves, were never actually elected by public ballot to act on behalf of western Virginia. An act for the reorganization of the government was passed on June 19. The next day Francis H. Pierpont was chosen by other delegates at the convention to be governor of Virginia, other officers were elected and the convention adjourned. The legislature was composed of 103 members, 33 of whom had been elected to the Virginia General Assembly on May 23.

    This number included some hold-over Senators from 1859, and as such had vacated their offices to convene in Wheeling. The other members "were chosen even more irregularly –some in mass meetings, others by county committee, and still others were seemingly self-appointed" This irregular assembly met on June 20 and appointed Unionists to hold the remainder of the state offices, organized a rival state government and elected two United States senators who were promptly recognized by the federal government in Washington, D.C. Thus, there were two state governments in Virginia, one pledging allegiance to the United States and one to the Confederacy
    Confederate States of America
    The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

    .

    The Wheeling Convention, which had taken a recess until August 6, reassembled on August 20, and called for a popular vote on the formation of a new state and for a convention to frame a constitution if the vote should be favorable. At the October 24, 1861 election, 18,408 votes were cast for the new state and only 781 against. The honesty of these election results has been questioned, since the Union army then occupied the area and Union troops were stationed at many of the polls to prevent Confederate sympathizers from voting. Most of the affirmative votes came from 16 counties around the Northern panhandle. Over 50,000 votes had been cast on the Ordinance of Secession, yet the vote on statehood gathered little more than 19,000. In Ohio County, home to Wheeling, only about one-quarter of the registered voters cast votes. At the Constitutional Convention in November 1861, Mr. Lamb of Ohio County and Mr. Carskadon said that in Hampshire County, out of 195 votes only 39 were cast by citizens of the state; the rest were cast illegally by Union soldiers. In most of what would become West Virginia, there was no vote at all as two-thirds of the territory of West Virginia had voted for secession and county officers were still loyal to Richmond. Votes recorded from pro-secession counties were mostly cast elsewhere by Unionist refugees from these counties. The convention began on November 26, 1861, and finished its work on February 18, 1862; the instrument was ratified (18,162 for and 514 against) on April 11, 1862.
    On May 13 the state legislature of the reorganized government approved the formation of the new state. An application for admission to the Union was made to Congress, and on December 31, 1862, an enabling act was approved by Pres. Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

     admitting West Virginia, on the condition that a provision for the gradual abolition of slavery be inserted in its constitution. While many felt that West Virginia's admission as a state was both illegal and unconstitutional, Lincoln issued his Opinion on the Admission of West Virginia finding that "the body which consents to the admission of West Virginia, is the Legislature of Virginia," and that its admission was therefore both constitutional and expedient.

    The convention was reconvened on February 12, 1863, and the demand was met. The revised constitution was adopted on March 26, 1863, and on April 20, 1863, Pres. Lincoln issued a proclamation admitting the state at the end of 60 days (June 20, 1863). Meanwhile, officers for the new state were chosen and Gov. Pierpont moved his capital to Union-occupied Alexandria
    Alexandria, Virginia
    Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2009, the city had a total population of 139,966. Located along the Western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately six miles south of downtown Washington, D.C.Like the rest of northern Virginia, as well as...

    , where he asserted jurisdiction over all of the Virginia counties within the federal lines.
    The question of the constitutionality of the formation of the new state was brought before the Supreme Court of the United States
    Supreme Court of the United States
    The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

     in the following manner: Berkeley
    Berkeley County, West Virginia
    Berkeley County is a county located in the Eastern Panhandle region of the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of 2010, the population is 104,169, making it the second-most populous county in West Virginia, behind Kanawha...

     and Jefferson
    Jefferson County, West Virginia
    Jefferson County is a county located in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of 2010, the population was 53,498. Its county seat is Charles Town...

     counties lying on the Potomac east of the mountains, in 1863, with the consent of the reorganized government of Virginia voted in favor of annexation to West Virginia. Many voters of the strongly pro-secessionist counties were absent in the Confederate Army when the vote was taken and refused to acknowledge the transfer upon their return. The Virginia General Assembly
    Virginia General Assembly
    The Virginia General Assembly is the legislative body of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere, established on July 30, 1619. The General Assembly is a bicameral body consisting of a lower house, the Virginia House of Delegates, with 100 members,...

     repealed the act of secession and in 1866 brought suit against West Virginia, asking the court to declare the counties a part of Virginia which would have declared West Virginia's admission as a state unconstitutional. Meanwhile, on March 10, 1866, Congress passed a joint resolution recognizing the transfer. The Supreme Court, in 1870, decided in favor of West Virginia.

    During the American Civil War
    American Civil War
    The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

    , West Virginia suffered comparatively little. Union General George B. McClellan
    George B. McClellan
    George Brinton McClellan was a major general during the American Civil War. He organized the famous Army of the Potomac and served briefly as the general-in-chief of the Union Army. Early in the war, McClellan played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army for the Union...

    's forces gained possession of the greater part of the territory in the summer of 1861, culminating at the Battle of Rich Mountain
    Battle of Rich Mountain
    The Battle of Rich Mountain took place on July 11, 1861, in Randolph County, Virginia as part of the Operations in Western Virginia Campaign during the American Civil War.-Background:...

    , and Union control was never again seriously threatened, despite an attempt by Robert E. Lee
    Robert E. Lee
    Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

     in the same year. In 1863, General John D. Imboden
    John D. Imboden
    John Daniel Imboden was a lawyer, teacher, Virginia state legislator. During the American Civil War, he was a Confederate cavalry general and partisan fighter...

    , with 5,000 Confederates, overran a considerable portion of the state. Bands of guerrillas burned and plundered in some sections, and were not entirely suppressed until after the war ended. The Eastern Panhandle counties were more affected by the war, with military control of the area repeatedly changing hands.

    The area which became West Virginia actually furnished about an equal number of soldiers to the federal and Confederate armies, approximately 22,000–25,000 each. The Wheeling government found it necessary in 1865 to strip voting rights from returning Confederates in order to retain control. James Ferguson, who proposed the law, said that if it was not enacted he would lose election by 500 votes. The property of Confederates might also be confiscated, and in 1866 a constitutional amendment disfranchising all who had given aid and comfort to the Confederacy was adopted. The addition of the Fourteenth
    Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
    The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.Its Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Dred Scott v...

     and Fifteenth Amendments
    Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
    The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits each government in the United States from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude"...

     to the United States Constitution caused a reaction. The Democratic party secured control in 1870, and in 1871, the constitutional amendment of 1866 was abrogated. The first steps toward this change had been taken, however, by the Republicans in 1870. On August 22, 1872, an entirely new constitution was adopted.

    Beginning in Reconstruction, and for several decades thereafter, the two states disputed the new state's share of the pre-war Virginia government's debts, which had mostly been incurred to finance public infrastructure improvements, such as canals, roads, and railroads under the Virginia Board of Public Works
    Virginia Board of Public Works
    The Virginia Board of Public Works was a governmental agency which oversaw and helped finance the development of Virginia's internal transportation improvements during the 19th century. In that era, it was customary to invest public funds in private companies, which were the forerunners of the...

    . Virginians, led by former Confederate General William Mahone
    William Mahone
    William Mahone was a civil engineer, teacher, soldier, railroad executive, and a member of the Virginia General Assembly and U.S. Congress. Small of stature, he was nicknamed "Little Billy"....

    , formed a political coalition which was based upon this, the Readjuster Party
    Readjuster Party
    The Readjuster Party was a political coalition formed in Virginia in the late 1870s during the turbulent period following the American Civil War. Readjusters aspired "to break the power of wealth and established privilege" and to promote public education, a program which attracted biracial support....

    . Although West Virginia's first constitution provided for the assumption of a part of the Virginia debt, negotiations opened by Virginia in 1870 were fruitless, and in 1871, Virginia funded two-thirds of the debt and arbitrarily assigned the remainder to West Virginia. The issue was finally settled in 1915, when the Supreme Court of the United States
    Supreme Court of the United States
    The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

     ruled that West Virginia owed Virginia $12,393,929.50. The final installment of this sum was paid in 1939.

    Natural Resources



    After Reconstruction, the new 35th state benefited from the development of its mineral resources more than any other single economic activity.

    Saltpeter
    Potassium nitrate
    Potassium nitrate is a chemical compound with the formula KNO3. It is an ionic salt of potassium ions K+ and nitrate ions NO3−.It occurs as a mineral niter and is a natural solid source of nitrogen. Its common names include saltpetre , from medieval Latin sal petræ: "stone salt" or possibly "Salt...

     caves had been employed throughout Appalachia for munitions; the border between West Virginia and Virginia
    Virginia
    The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

     includes the "Saltpeter Trail," a string of limestone
    Limestone
    Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

     cave
    Cave
    A cave or cavern is a natural underground space large enough for a human to enter. The term applies to natural cavities some part of which is in total darkness. The word cave also includes smaller spaces like rock shelters, sea caves, and grottos.Speleology is the science of exploration and study...

    rns containing rich deposits of calcium nitrate
    Calcium nitrate
    Calcium nitrate, also called Norgessalpeter , is the inorganic compound with the formula Ca2. This colourless salt absorbs moisture from the air and is commonly found as a tetrahydrate. It is mainly used as a component in fertilizers but is found other applications...

     that were rendered and sold to the government. The trail stretched from Pendleton County
    Pendleton County, West Virginia
    As of the census of 2000, there were 8,196 people, 3,350 households, and 2,355 families residing in the county. The population density was 12 people per square mile . There were 5,102 housing units at an average density of 7 per square mile...

     to the western terminus of the route in the town of Union
    Union, West Virginia
    Union is a town in Monroe County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 548 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Monroe County.-History:...

    , Monroe County
    Monroe County, West Virginia
    As of the census of 2000, there were 14,583 people, 5,447 households, and 3,883 families residing in the county. The population density was 31 people per square mile . There were 7,267 housing units at an average density of 15 per square mile...

    . Nearly half of these caves are on the West Virginia side, including Organ Cave
    Organ Cave
    Organ Cave is a large and historic cave in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, USA. The surrounding community takes its name from the cave.In November 1973, the Organ Cave System — also known as the Organ-Hendricks Cave System — was registered as a National Natural Landmark for being "the largest...

     and Haynes Cave
    Haynes Cave
    Haynes Cave is a cave within the Greenbrier River watershed in West Virginia. It sits within the complex hydrology of the historic Second Creek watershed in Monroe County....

    . In the late 18th-century, saltpeter miners in Haynes Cave
    Haynes Cave
    Haynes Cave is a cave within the Greenbrier River watershed in West Virginia. It sits within the complex hydrology of the historic Second Creek watershed in Monroe County....

     found large animal bones in the deposits. These were sent by a local historian and frontier soldier Colonel John Stuart to Thomas Jefferson
    Thomas Jefferson
    Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

    . The bones were named Megalonyx jeffersonii
    Megalonyx jeffersonii
    Megalonyx jeffersonii, or Jefferson's ground sloth, is an extinct species of giant ground sloth that lived from the Illinoian Stage during the Middle Pleistocene through to the Rancholabrean of the Late Pleistocene . Its closest living relatives are the two-toed tree sloths of the genus...

     or great-claw and became known as Jefferson's Three-toed Sloth. It was declared the official state fossil
    State fossil
    Most American states have made a state fossil designation, in many cases during the 1980s. It is common to designate one species in which fossilization has occurred, rather than a single specimen, or a category of fossils not limited to a single species....

     of West Virginia in 2008. The West Virginia official state rock is bituminous coal
    Bituminous coal
    Bituminous coal or black coal is a relatively soft coal containing a tarlike substance called bitumen. It is of higher quality than lignite coal but of poorer quality than Anthracite...

    , and the official state gemstone is silicified Mississippian fossil Lithostrotionella coral.

    The limestone also produced a useful quarry
    Quarry
    A quarry is a type of open-pit mine from which rock or minerals are extracted. Quarries are generally used for extracting building materials, such as dimension stone, construction aggregate, riprap, sand, and gravel. They are often collocated with concrete and asphalt plants due to the requirement...

     industry, usually small, and softer, high-calcium seams were burned to produce industrial lime. This lime was used for agricultural and construction purposes; for many years a specific portion of the C & O Railroad carried limestone rock to Clifton Forge, Virginia
    Clifton Forge, Virginia
    Clifton Forge is a town in Alleghany County, Virginia, United States which is part of the Roanoke Region. The population was 3,884 at the 2010 census. The Jackson River flows through the town, which as a result was once known as Jackson's River Station....

     as an industrial flux.

    Salt
    Salt
    In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

     mining had been underway since the 18th century, though it had largely played out by the time of the American Civil War, when the red salt of Kanawha County
    Kanawha County, West Virginia
    As of the census of 2000, there were 200,073 people, 86,226 households, and 55,960 families residing in the county. The population density was 222 people per square mile . There were 93,788 housing units at an average density of 104 per square mile...

     was a valued commodity of first Confederate, and later Union forces. Later, more sophisticated mining methods would restore West Virginia's role as a major producer of salt.

    However, in the second half of the 19th century, there was an even greater treasure not yet developed, bituminous coal
    Bituminous coal
    Bituminous coal or black coal is a relatively soft coal containing a tarlike substance called bitumen. It is of higher quality than lignite coal but of poorer quality than Anthracite...

    . It would fuel much of the Industrial Revolution
    Industrial Revolution
    The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

     in the U.S. and the steamships of many of the world's navies.

    The residents (both Native Americans and early European settlers) had long known of the underlying coal, and that it could be used for heating and fuel. However, for a long time, very small "personal" mines were the only practical development. After the War, with the new railroads came a practical method to transport large quantities of coal to expanding U.S. and export markets. As the anthracite mines of northwestern New Jersey and Pennsylvania began to play out during this same time period, investors and industrialists focused new interest in West Virginia. Geologist
    Geologist
    A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid and liquid matter that constitutes the Earth as well as the processes and history that has shaped it. Geologists usually engage in studying geology. Geologists, studying more of an applied science than a theoretical one, must approach Geology using...

    s such as Dr. David T. Ansted
    David T. Ansted
    David Thomas Ansted was an English geologist and author.- Youth, education :Ansted was born in London on 5 February 1814. He was educated at Jesus College, Cambridge, and after taking his degree of M.A...

     surveyed potential coal fields and invested in land and early mining projects.

    The completion of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway
    Chesapeake and Ohio Railway
    The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway was a Class I railroad formed in 1869 in Virginia from several smaller Virginia railroads begun in the 19th century. Led by industrialist Collis P...

     (C&O) across the state to the new city of Huntington
    Huntington, West Virginia
    Huntington is a city in Cabell and Wayne counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia, along the Ohio River. Most of the city is in Cabell County, for which it is the county seat. A small portion of the city, mainly the neighborhood of Westmoreland, is in Wayne County. Its population was 49,138 at...

     on the Ohio River
    Ohio River
    The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

     in 1872 opened access to the New River
    New River (West Virginia)
    The New River, part of the Ohio River watershed, is a tributary of the Kanawha River about 320 mi long. The river flows through the U.S. states of North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia...

     Coal Field. Soon, the C&O was building its huge coal pier
    Coal pier
    A coal pier is a transloading facility designed for the transfer of coal between rail and ship.The typical facility for loading ships consists of a holding area and a system of conveyors for transferring the coal to dockside and loading it into the ship's cargo holds...

     at Newport News, Virginia
    Newport News, Virginia
    Newport News is an independent city located in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia. It is at the southeastern end of the Virginia Peninsula, on the north shore of the James River extending southeast from Skiffe's Creek along many miles of waterfront to the river's mouth at Newport News...

     on the large harbor of Hampton Roads
    Hampton Roads
    Hampton Roads is the name for both a body of water and the Norfolk–Virginia Beach metropolitan area which surrounds it in southeastern Virginia, United States...

    . In 1881, the new Philadelphia-based owners of the former Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio Railroad
    Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio Railroad
    Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio Railroad was formed in 1870 in Virginia from 3 east-west railroads which traversed across the southern portion of the state. Organized and led by former Confederate general William Mahone , the 428-mile line linked Norfolk with Bristol, Virginia by way of Suffolk,...

     (AM&O), which stretched across Virginia's southern tier from Norfolk
    Norfolk, Virginia
    Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....

    , had sights clearly set on the Mountain State, where the owners had large land holdings. Their railroad was renamed Norfolk and Western (N&W), and a new railroad city was developed at Roanoke
    Roanoke, Virginia
    Roanoke is an independent city in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. state of Virginia and is the tenth-largest city in the Commonwealth. It is located in the Roanoke Valley of the Roanoke Region of Virginia. The population within the city limits was 97,032 as of 2010...

     to handle planned expansion. After its new president Frederick J. Kimball
    Frederick J. Kimball
    Frederick James Kimball was a civil engineer. He was an early president of the Norfolk and Western Railway and helped develop the Pocahontas coalfields in Virginia and West Virginia....

     and a small party journeyed by horseback and saw firsthand the rich bituminous coal seam which his wife named "Pocahontas", the N&W redirected its planned westward expansion to reach it. Soon, the N&W was also shipping from new coal piers at Hampton Roads.

    In 1889, in the southern part of the state, along the Norfolk and Western rail lines, the important coal center of Bluefield, West Virginia
    Bluefield, West Virginia
    Bluefield is a city in Mercer County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 10,447 at the 2010 census. It is also the core city of the Bluefield WV-VA micropolitan area which has a population of 107,342.-Geography & Climate:...

     was founded. The "capital" of the Pocahontas coalfield
    Pocahontas coalfield
    Pocahontas Coalfield, which is also known as the Flat Top-Pocahontas Coalfield, is located in Mercer County/McDowell County, West Virginia and Tazewell County, Virginia. The coal seams—Pocahontas No. 3, No. 4, No. 6, and No...

    , this city would remain the largest city in the southern portion of the state for several decades. It shares a sister city with the same name, Bluefield, in Virginia.

    In the northern portion of the state and elsewhere, the older Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
    Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
    The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was one of the oldest railroads in the United States and the first common carrier railroad. It came into being mostly because the city of Baltimore wanted to compete with the newly constructed Erie Canal and another canal being proposed by Pennsylvania, which...

     (B&O) and other lines also expanded to take advantage of coal opportunities. The B&O developed coal piers in Baltimore and at several points on the Great Lakes
    Great Lakes
    The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

    . Other significant rail carriers of coal were the Western Maryland Railway
    Western Maryland Railway
    The Western Maryland Railway was an American Class I railroad which operated in Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. It was primarily a coal hauling and freight railroad, with a small passenger train operation. The WM became part of the Chessie System in 1973 and ceased operating its lines...

     (WM), Southern Railway
    Southern Railway (US)
    The Southern Railway is a former United States railroad. It was the product of nearly 150 predecessor lines that were combined, reorganized and recombined beginning in the 1830s, formally becoming the Southern Railway in 1894...

     (SOU), and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad
    Louisville and Nashville Railroad
    The Louisville and Nashville Railroad was a Class I railroad that operated freight and passenger services in the southeast United States.Chartered by the state of Kentucky in 1850, the L&N, as it was generally known, grew into one of the great success stories of American business...

     (L&N).

    Particularly notable was a latecomer, the Virginian Railway
    Virginian Railway
    The Virginian Railway was a Class I railroad located in Virginia and West Virginia in the United States. The VGN was created to transport high quality "smokeless" bituminous coal from southern West Virginia to port at Hampton Roads....

     (VGN). By 1900, only a large area of the most rugged terrain of southern West Virginia was any distance from the existing railroads and mining activity. Within this area west of the New River Coalfield in Raleigh and Wyoming counties lay the Winding Gulf Coalfield
    Winding Gulf Coalfield
    The Winding Gulf Coalfield is located in western Raleigh County and eastern Wyoming County, in southern West Virginia. The Winding Gulf coalfield is named after Winding Gulf Creek, a tributary of the Guyandotte River...

    , later promoted as the "Billion Dollar Coalfield."

    A protege of Dr. Ansted was William Nelson Page
    William N. Page
    William Nelson Page was an American civil engineer, entrepreneur, industrialist and capitalist. He was active in the Virginias following the U.S. Civil War...

     (1854–1932), a civil engineer
    Civil engineer
    A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering; the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting the public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.Originally, a...

     and mining manager in Fayette County
    Fayette County, West Virginia
    As of the census of 2000, there were 47,579 people, 18,945 households, and 13,128 families residing in the county. The population density was 72 people per square mile . There were 21,616 housing units at an average density of 33 per square mile...

    . Former West Virginia Governor William A. MacCorkle
    William A. MacCorkle
    William Alexander MacCorkle , was a United States teacher, lawyer, prosecutor, the ninth Governor of West Virginia and state legislator of West Virginia, and financier.-Biography:...

     described him as a man who knew the land "as a farmer knows a field." Beginning in 1898, Page teamed with northern and European-based investors to take advantage of the undeveloped area. They acquired large tracts of land in the area, and Page began the Deepwater Railway
    Deepwater Railway
    The Deepwater Railway was an intrastate short line railroad located in West Virginia in the United States which operated from 1898 to 1907.William N. Page, a civil engineer and entrepreneur, had begun a small logging railroad in Fayette County in 1896, sometimes called the Loup Creek and Deepwater...

    , a short-line railroad which was chartered to stretch between the C&O at its line along the Kanawha River
    Kanawha River
    The Kanawha River is a tributary of the Ohio River, approximately 97 mi long, in the U.S. state of West Virginia. The largest inland waterway in West Virginia, it has formed a significant industrial region of the state since the middle of the 19th century.It is formed at the town of Gauley...

     and the N&W at Matoaka
    Matoaka, West Virginia
    Matoaka is a small town in Mercer County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 317 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Bluefield, WV-VA micropolitan area which has a population of 107,578...

    , a distance of about 80 miles (128.7 km).

    Although the Deepwater plan should have provided a competitive shipping market via either railroad, leaders of the two large railroads did not appreciate the scheme. In secret collusion, each declined to negotiate favorable rates with Page, nor did they offer to purchase his railroad, as they had many other short-lines. However, if the C&O and N&W presidents thought they could thus kill the Page project, they were to be proved mistaken. One of the silent partner
    Partnership
    A partnership is an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests.Since humans are social beings, partnerships between individuals, businesses, interest-based organizations, schools, governments, and varied combinations thereof, have always been and remain commonplace...

     investors Page had enlisted was millionaire industrialist Henry Huttleston Rogers
    Henry H. Rogers
    Henry Huttleston Rogers was a United States capitalist, businessman, industrialist, financier, and philanthropist. He made his fortune in the oil refinery business, becoming a leader at Standard Oil....

    , a principal in John D. Rockefeller
    John D. Rockefeller
    John Davison Rockefeller was an American oil industrialist, investor, and philanthropist. He was the founder of the Standard Oil Company, which dominated the oil industry and was the first great U.S. business trust. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry and defined the structure of...

    's Standard Oil Trust and an old hand at developing natural resources, transportation. A master at competitive "warfare", Henry Rogers did not like to lose in his endeavors and also had "deep pockets"
    Deep pocket
    Deep pocket is an American slang term; it usually means "extensive financial wealth or resources". It is usually used in reference to big companies or organizations , although it can be used in reference to individuals .In the context of a lawsuit, the deep pocket is often the target defendant,...

    .

    Instead of giving up, Page (and Rogers) quietly planned and then built their tracks all the way east across Virginia, using Rogers' private fortune to finance the $40-million cost. When the renamed Virginian Railway
    Virginian Railway
    The Virginian Railway was a Class I railroad located in Virginia and West Virginia in the United States. The VGN was created to transport high quality "smokeless" bituminous coal from southern West Virginia to port at Hampton Roads....

     (VGN) was completed in 1909, no fewer than three railroads were shipping ever-increasing volumes of coal to export from Hampton Roads. West Virginia coal was also under high demand at Great Lakes
    Great Lakes
    The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

     ports. The VGN and the N&W ultimately became parts of the modern Norfolk Southern system, and the VGN's well-engineered 21st-century tracks continue to offer a favorable gradient to Hampton Roads.

    As coal mining and related work became major employment activities in the state, there was considerable labor strife as working conditions, safety issues and economic concerns arose. Even in the 21st century, mining safety and ecological concerns is still challenging to the state whose coal continues to power electrical generating plants in many other states.

    Coal is not the only valuable mineral found in West Virginia, as the state was the site of the 1928 discovery of the 34.48 carat (6.896 g) Jones Diamond
    Jones Diamond
    The “Jones Diamond,” also known as the “Punch Jones Diamond,” "The Grover Jones Diamond," or "The Horseshoe Diamond," was an 34.48 carat alluvial diamond found in Peterstown, West Virginia by members of the Jones family...

    .

    Demographics



    The center of population
    Center of population
    In demographics, the center of population of a region is a geographical point that describes a centerpoint of the region's population...

     of West Virginia is located in Braxton County, in the town of Gassaway
    Gassaway, West Virginia
    Gassaway is a town in Braxton County, West Virginia, in the United States. The population was 901 at the 2000 census. Gassaway was incorporated in 1905 and named for Henry Gassaway Davis...

    .

    At the 2010 Census, there were 1,852,994 people residing in West Virginia, an increase of 2.5% since 2000.

    At the 2010 Census, 93.2% of the population was non-Hispanic White, 3.4% non-Hispanic Black or African American, 0.2% non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.7% non-Hispanic Asian, 0.1% from some other race (non-Hispanic) and 1.3% of two or more races (non-Hispanic). 1.2% of West Virginia's population was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (they may be of any race).

    As of 2005, West Virginia has an estimated population of 1,816,856, which is an increase of 4,308, or 0.2%, from the prior year and an increase of 8,506, or 0.5%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural decrease since the last census of 3,296 people (that is 108,292 births minus 111,588 deaths) and an increase from net migration
    Human migration
    Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

     of 14,209 people into the state. West Virginia is the least populous southeastern state
    Southeastern United States
    The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

    . Immigration
    Immigration to the United States
    Immigration to the United States has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout much of the history of the United States. The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants,...

     from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 3,691 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 10,518 people.

    Only 1.1% of the state's residents were foreign-born, placing West Virginia last among the 50 states in that statistic. It also has the lowest percentage of residents that speak a language other than English in the home (2.7%).

    The five largest ancestry groups in West Virginia are: English
    English American
    English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

     (35.2%), German
    German American
    German Americans are citizens of the United States of German ancestry and comprise about 51 million people, or 17% of the U.S. population, the country's largest self-reported ancestral group...

     (17.2%), Irish
    Irish American
    Irish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau...

     (8%), Scots-Irish
    Scots-Irish American
    Scotch-Irish Americans are an estimated 250,000 Presbyterian and other Protestant dissenters from the Irish province of Ulster who immigrated to North America primarily during the colonial era and their descendants. Some scholars also include the 150,000 Ulster Protestants who immigrated to...

     (5%) and Italian
    Italian American
    An Italian American , is an American of Italian ancestry. The designation may also refer to someone possessing Italian and American dual citizenship...

     (4.8%). In the 2000 Census People who identified their ethnicity as simply "American" made up 18.8% of the population. Many of these people are of Scots-Irish
    Scots-Irish American
    Scotch-Irish Americans are an estimated 250,000 Presbyterian and other Protestant dissenters from the Irish province of Ulster who immigrated to North America primarily during the colonial era and their descendants. Some scholars also include the 150,000 Ulster Protestants who immigrated to...

     ancestry, and many are of English
    English American
    English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

     descent as well.

    Large numbers of people of German
    Germans
    The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

     ancestry are present in the northeastern counties of the state. People of English
    English American
    English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

     ancestry are present throughout the entire state. Many West Virginians who self-identify as Irish
    Irish American
    Irish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau...

     are actually Scots-Irish
    Scots-Irish American
    Scotch-Irish Americans are an estimated 250,000 Presbyterian and other Protestant dissenters from the Irish province of Ulster who immigrated to North America primarily during the colonial era and their descendants. Some scholars also include the 150,000 Ulster Protestants who immigrated to...

     Protestants.

    5.6% of West Virginia's population were reported as under 5, 22.3% under 18, and 15.3% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 51.4% of the population.

    There were 20,928 births in 2006. Of these, 19,757 (94.40% of the births, 95.19% of the population) were to Non-Hispanic Whites. There were 22 births to American Indians (0.11% of the births and 0.54% of the population), 177 births to Asians (0.85% of the births and 0.68% of the population), 219 births to Hispanics (1.05% of the births and 0.88% of the population) and 753 births to Blacks and others (3.60% of the births and 3.56% of the population).

    The state's Northern Panhandle
    Northern Panhandle of West Virginia
    The Northern Panhandle is a culturally and geographically distinct region in the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is the state's northernmost extension, bounded by the Ohio River on the north and west, along with the state of Pennsylvania on the east...

    , and North-Central
    North-Central West Virginia
    North-Central West Virginia is a region of the U.S. State of West Virginia. The region's largest city is Morgantown.- Counties :*Monongalia County*Marion County*Harrison County*Taylor County*Doddridge County...

     region feel an affinity for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

    . Also, those in the Eastern Panhandle
    Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia
    The Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia is a narrow stretch of territory in the northeast of the state, bordering Maryland and Virginia, United States. The Eastern Panhandle Board of Realtors and other local civic organizations consider only the three Easternmost counties, Jefferson, Berkeley and...

     feel a connection with the Washington, D.C. suburb
    Suburb
    The word suburb mostly refers to a residential area, either existing as part of a city or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city . Some suburbs have a degree of administrative autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods...

    s in Maryland
    Maryland
    Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

     and Virginia
    Virginia
    The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

    , and southern West Virginia
    Southern West Virginia
    Southern West Virginia is a culturally and geographically distinct region in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Generally considered the heart of Appalachia, Southern West Virginia is known for its coal mining heritage and southern affinity...

    ns often consider themselves Southerners
    Southern United States
    The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

    . Finally, the towns and farms along the mid-Ohio River
    Ohio River
    The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

     have an appearance and culture somewhat resembling the Midwest
    Midwestern United States
    The Midwestern United States is one of the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the United States Census Bureau, providing an official definition of the American Midwest....

    .

    Religion


    Responses to a 2001 religious survey were:
    • Christian (75%)
      • Protestant (60%)
        • Baptist
          Baptist
          Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

           (30%)
        • Methodist (15%)
        • Other Protestant/General Protestant (15%)
      • Non-denominational Christian
        Non-denominational Christianity
        In Christianity, nondenominational institutions or churches are those not formally aligned with an established denomination, or that remain otherwise officially autonomous. This, however, does not preclude an identifiable standard among such congregations...

         (7%)
      • Roman Catholic (8%)
    • Not religious (13%)
    • A non-Christian religion (4%)
    • 6% refused to answer.

    Overview


    The economy of West Virginia nominally would be the 62nd largest economy globally behind Iraq
    Iraq
    Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

     and ahead of Croatia
    Croatia
    Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

     according to 2009 World Bank
    World Bank
    The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

     projections, and the 64th largest behind Iraq and ahead of Libya
    Libya
    Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

     according to 2009 International Monetary Fund
    International Monetary Fund
    The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

     projections. The state has a projected nominal GSP of $63.34 billion in 2009 according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis
    Bureau of Economic Analysis
    The Bureau of Economic Analysis is an agency in the United States Department of Commerce that provides important economic statistics including the gross domestic product of the United States. Its stated mission is to "promote a better understanding of the U.S...

     report of November 2010, and a real GSP of $55.04 billion. The real GDP growth of the state in 2009 of .7% was the 7th best in the country. West Virginia was only one of ten states in 2009 which grew economically.

    While per capita income fell 2.6% nationally in 2009, West Virginia's grew at 1.8%. Through the first half of 2010, exports from West Virginia topped $3 billion, growing 39.5% over the same period from the previous year and ahead of the national average by 15.7%.

    Morgantown
    Morgantown, West Virginia
    Morgantown is a city in Monongalia County, West Virginia. It is the county seat of Monongalia County. Placed along the banks of the Monongahela River, Morgantown is the largest city in North-Central West Virginia, and the base of the Morgantown metropolitan area...

     was ranked by Forbes
    Forbes
    Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

     as the #10 best small city in the nation to conduct business in 2010. The city is also home to West Virginia University
    West Virginia University
    West Virginia University is a public research university in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA. Other campuses include: West Virginia University at Parkersburg in Parkersburg; West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery; Potomac State College of West Virginia University in Keyser;...

    , the 95th best public university according to U.S. News and World Report in 2011. The proportion of West Virginia's adult population with a bachelor's degree
    Bachelor's degree
    A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

     is the lowest in the U.S. at 17.3%.

    The net corporate income tax rate is 8.5%, scheduled for reduction to 6.5% by 2014, while business costs are 13% below the national average.

    In 2008, West Virginia was one of only four U.S. states to have a surplus state budget.

    The state's unemployment rate was 8.5% through October 2010, down from 9.3% in January.

    Resources


    One of the major resources in West Virginia's economy is coal
    Coal
    Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

    . According to the Energy Information Administration
    Energy Information Administration
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration is the statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. EIA collects, analyzes, and disseminates independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and...

    , West Virginia is a top coal-producer in the United States, second only to Wyoming. West Virginia also produces minimal oil and natural gas
    Natural gas
    Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

    .

    Nearly all of the electricity generated in West Virginia is from coal-fired power plants. West Virginia produces a surplus of electricity and leads the Nation in net interstate electricity exports. Farming is also practiced in West Virginia, but on a limited basis because of the mountainous terrain over much of the state.

    Taxes


    West Virginia personal income tax
    Income tax
    An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individuals or businesses . Various income tax systems exist, with varying degrees of tax incidence. Income taxation can be progressive, proportional, or regressive. When the tax is levied on the income of companies, it is often called a corporate...

     is based on federal adjusted gross income (not taxable income), as modified by specific items in West Virginia law. Citizens are taxed within five income brackets, which range from 3.0 percent to 6.5 percent. The state's consumer sales tax
    Sales tax
    A sales tax is a tax, usually paid by the consumer at the point of purchase, itemized separately from the base price, for certain goods and services. The tax amount is usually calculated by applying a percentage rate to the taxable price of a sale....

     is levied at 6 percent. Effective January 1, 2004, calculation of WV consumer sales tax has been converted to a calculated figure from the bracket system, and remains at 6 percent for most goods (food goods are now taxable at 3 percent). The computation of tax is carried out to the third decimal place and rounded up when the third decimal place is five (.005) or higher; and similarly rounded down if the third place is four (.004) or lower. By virtue of this method, sales totaling $0.08 and below would not have a sales tax associated with them.

    West Virginia counties administer and collect property tax
    Property tax
    A property tax is an ad valorem levy on the value of property that the owner is required to pay. The tax is levied by the governing authority of the jurisdiction in which the property is located; it may be paid to a national government, a federated state or a municipality...

    es, although property tax rates reflect levies for state government, county governments, county boards of education and municipalities. Counties may also impose a hotel occupancy tax on lodging places not located within the city limits of any municipality that levies such a tax. Municipalities may levy license and gross receipts tax
    Gross receipts tax
    A gross receipts tax or gross excise tax is a tax on the total gross revenues of a company, regardless of their source. A gross receipts tax is similar to a sales tax, but it is levied on the seller of goods or service consumers...

    es on businesses located within the city limits and a hotel occupancy tax on lodging places in the city. Although the Department of Tax and Revenue plays a major role in the administration of this tax, less than one-half of 1 percent of the property tax collected goes to state government.

    The primary beneficiaries of the property tax are county boards of education. Property taxes are paid to the sheriff
    Sheriffs in the United States
    In the United States, a sheriff is a county official and is typically the top law enforcement officer of a county. Historically, the sheriff was also commander of the militia in that county. Distinctive to law enforcement in the United States, sheriffs are usually elected. The political election of...

     of each of the state's 55 counties. Each county and municipality can impose its own rates of property taxation within the limits set by the West Virginia Constitution. The West Virginia legislature sets the rate of tax of county boards of education. This rate is used by all county boards of education statewide. However, the total tax rate for county boards of education may differ from county to county because of excess levies. The Department of Tax and Revenue supervises and otherwise assists counties and municipalities in their work of assessment and tax rate determination. The total tax rate is a combination of the tax levies from four state taxing authorities: state, county, schools and municipal. This total tax rate varies for each of the four classes of property, which consists of personal, real and intangible properties. Property is assessed according to its use, location and value as of July 1. All property is reappraised every three years; annual adjustments are made to assessments for property with a change of value. West Virginia does not impose an inheritance tax
    Inheritance tax
    An inheritance tax or estate tax is a levy paid by a person who inherits money or property or a tax on the estate of a person who has died...

    . Because of the phase-out of the federal estate tax credit, West Virginia's estate tax is not imposed on estates of persons who died on or after January 1, 2005.

    Largest private employers


    The largest private employers in West Virgina, as of March 2009, were:
    Rank Company
    1 Wal-Mart Associates, Inc.
    2 West Virginia United Health System
    3 Charleston Area Medical Center, Inc.
    4 Kroger
    Kroger
    The Kroger Co. is an American supermarket chain founded by Bernard Kroger in 1883 in Cincinnati, Ohio. It reported US$ 76.7 billion in sales during fiscal year 2009. It is the country's largest grocery store chain and its second-largest grocery retailer by volume and second-place general retailer...

    5 American Electric Power
    American Electric Power
    American Electric Power is a major investor-owner electric utility in various parts of the United States. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S...

    6 Eldercare Resources Corporation
    7 St. Mary's Medical Center
    St. Mary's Medical Center (Huntington)
    St. Mary's Medical Center is a hospital in Huntington, West Virginia, USA. It is the largest medical facility in the tri-state region of West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. The medical center is the largest private employer in Cabell County with over 2000 employees.-Academics:As a teaching...

    8 CSX Transportation
    CSX Transportation
    CSX Transportation operates a Class I railroad in the United States known as the CSX Railroad. It is the main subsidiary of the CSX Corporation. The company is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, and owns approximately 21,000 route miles...

     and CSX Hotels Inc.
    The Greenbrier
    The Greenbrier is a Forbes four-star and AAA Five Diamond Award winning luxury resort located just outside the town of White Sulphur Springs in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, United States....

    )
    9 Consolidation Coal Company
    10 Lowe's
    Lowe's
    Lowe's Companies, Inc. is a U.S.-based chain of retail home improvement and appliance stores. Founded in 1946 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, the chain now serves more than 14 million customers a week in its 1,710 stores in the United States and 20 in Canada. Expansion into Canada began in...

    11 Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. (subsidiary of Mylan Inc.)
    12 Cabell Huntington Hospital
    Cabell Huntington Hospital
    Cabell Huntington Hospital is a regional, 303-bed referral center located in Huntington, West Virginia. Cabell Huntington cares for patients from more than 29 counties throughout West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southern Ohio. Opened in 1956, it is also a teaching hospital and is affiliated with...

    13 Res-Care, Inc.
    14 Wheeling Hospital
    15 Verizon Communications
    Verizon Communications
    Verizon Communications Inc. is a global broadband and telecommunications company and a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average...

    16 Pilgrim's Pride Corporation of West Virginia
    17 E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company
    18 Rite Aid of West Virginia, Inc.
    19 Allegheny Energy Service Corporation
    20 Mentor Management, Inc. (The Mentor Network)
    21 Mountaineer Park, Inc.
    22 Bob Evans Farms, Inc.
    23 West Virginia University Medical Corporation (University Health Associates)
    24 Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital
    25 Alliant Techsystems, Inc.
    26 Monongalia General Hospital
    Monongalia General Hospital
    Monongalia General Hospital is a 189-bed acute-care community hospital and Level IV West Virginia Trauma Center located in Morgantown, West Virginia. It is part of Monongalia Health System, an "integrated health care delivery system" that provides a full range of family centered care to residents...

    27 K Mart Corporation
    28 BB&T Corporation
    29 GMRI, Inc.
    30 GC Services Limited Partnership
    31 Eastern Associated Coal Corporation (subsidiary of Patriot Coal Corporation
    Patriot Coal Corporation
    Patriot Coal Corporation is a coal-mining company based in St. Louis, Missouri. The company is a spin-off of most of the Eastern U.S.A. operations of Peabody Energy....

    , a spin-off
    Spin out
    A spin-out, also known as a spin-off or a starburst, refers to a type of corporate action where a company "splits off" sections of itself as a separate business....

     of Peabody Energy Corporation)
    32 PNGI Charles Town Gaming, Ltd.
    33 Herbert J Thomas Memorial Hospital Association
    34 West Virginia's Choice, Inc
    35 Employee Resource Group, LLC
    36 Alcan Rolled Products-Ravenswood, LLC (subsidiary of Alcan Inc.
    Alcan
    Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. is a Canadian company based in Montreal. It was created on November 15, 2007 as the result of the merger between Rio Tinto PLC's Canadian subsidiary, Rio Tinto Canada Holding Inc., and Canadian company Alcan Inc. On the same date, Alcan Inc. was renamed Rio Tinto Alcan Inc..Rio...

    )
    37 Teletech Customer Care Management (West Virginia), Inc.
    38 DOLGENCORP, Inc. (Dollar General Stores)
    39 Dominion Transmission, Inc. (subsidiary of Dominion Resources
    Dominion Resources
    Dominion Resources Inc. , commonly referred to as Dominion, is a power and energy company headquartered in Richmond, Virginia that supplies electricity in parts of Virginia and North Carolina and supplies natural gas to parts of West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and eastern North Carolina...

    )
    40 Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation (subsidiary of NiSource
    NiSource
    NiSource, Inc. , based in Merrillville, Indiana, is a Fortune 500 company engaged in natural gas transmission, storage and distribution, as well as electric generation, transmission and distribution...

    )
    41 Toyota Motor Manufacturing, West Virginia, Inc. (subsidiary of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America)
    42 Weirton Medical Center
    43 Go-Mart, Inc.
    44 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
    45 ArcelorMittal Weirton, Inc. (subsidiary of ArcelorMittal S.A.)
    45 Hobet Mining, LLC
    47 Heartland Employment Services, LLC
    48 Spartan Mining Company
    49 United Parcel Service Inc. (WV District)
    50 Elk Run Coal Company, Inc./Black Castle Mining Company (subsidiaries of Massey Energy Company])

    Governance



    West Virginia's capital and seat of government is the city of Charleston
    Charleston, West Virginia
    Charleston is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers in Kanawha County. As of the 2010 census, it has a population of 51,400, and its metropolitan area 304,214. It is the county seat of Kanawha County.Early...

    , located in the southwest area of the state.

    Legislative branch



    The West Virginia Legislature is bicameral. It consists of the House of Delegates
    West Virginia House of Delegates
    The West Virginia House of Delegates is the lower house of the West Virginia Legislature. Only three states—Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia—refer to their lower house as the House of Delegates.-Historical:-Current:-District organization:...

     and the Senate
    West Virginia Senate
    The West Virginia Senate is the upper house of the West Virginia Legislature.There are 17 senatorial districts. Each district has two senators who serve staggered four-year terms....

    . It is a citizen's legislature, meaning that legislative office is not a full-time occupation, but rather a part-time position. Consequently, the legislators often hold a full-time job in their community of residence.

    Typically, the legislature is in session for 60 days between January and early April. The final day of the regular session ends in a bewildering fury of last-minute legislation in order to meet a constitutionally imposed deadline of midnight. During the remainder of the year, monthly interim sessions are held in preparation for the regular session. Legislators also gather periodically for 'special' sessions when called by the governor.

    The title of Lieutenant Governor
    Lieutenant governor (United States)
    In the United States, 43 of the 50 states have a separate, full-time office of lieutenant governor. In most cases, the lieutenant governor is the highest officer of state after the governor, standing in for that officer when he or she is absent from the state or temporarily incapacitated...

     is assigned by statute to the Senate President.

    Executive branch



    The governor, elected every four years on the same day as the U.S. Presidential election, is sworn in during the following January.

    Governors of West Virginia can serve two consecutive terms but must sit out a term before serving a third term in office.

    The title of Lieutenant Governor
    Lieutenant governor (United States)
    In the United States, 43 of the 50 states have a separate, full-time office of lieutenant governor. In most cases, the lieutenant governor is the highest officer of state after the governor, standing in for that officer when he or she is absent from the state or temporarily incapacitated...

     is assigned by statute to the Senate President.

    Judicial branch



    West Virginia is one of thirteen states that do not have a death penalty
    Capital punishment in the United States
    Capital punishment in the United States, in practice, applies only for aggravated murder and more rarely for felony murder. Capital punishment was a penalty at common law, for many felonies, and was enforced in all of the American colonies prior to the Declaration of Independence...

    , and it is the only state in the southeastern United States to have abolished it.

    For the purpose of courts of general jurisdiction, the state is divided into 31 judicial circuits. Each circuit is made up of one or more counties. Circuit judges are elected in partisan elections to serve eight-year terms.

    West Virginia’s highest court is the Supreme Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia is the busiest appellate court of its type in the United States. West Virginia is one of 11 states with a single appellate court. The state constitution allows for the creation of an intermediate court of appeals, but the Legislature has never created one. The Supreme Court is made up of five justices, elected in partisan elections to 12-year terms.

    West Virginia is an alcoholic beverage control state
    Alcoholic beverage control state
    Alcoholic beverage control states, generally called control states, are those in the United States that have state monopoly over the wholesaling and/or retailing of some or all categories of alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, and distilled spirits....

    . However, unlike most such states, it does not operate retail outlets, having exited that business in 1990. It retains a monopoly on wholesaling of distilled spirits only.

    Politics


    At the state level, West Virginia's politics are largely dominated by the Democratic Party
    Democratic Party (United States)
    The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

    , with Democrats currently holding the governorship, both senate seats and both houses of the state legislature. Republicans, however, hold two of the state's three House seats. West Virginia also has a very strong tradition of union membership.

    Robert C. Byrd, a Democrat, represented the state of West Virginia in Congress
    United States Congress
    The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

     for over 57 years, as a Member of the House
    United States House of Representatives
    The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

     from the now-defunct 6th District from 1953–1959, and as a United States Senator
    United States Senate
    The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

     from 1959–2010. He served as Democratic Senate Leader from 1977–1989. In 2006 he became the longest-serving Senator in history, and in 2009 the longest-serving member of Congress in history. Senator Byrd died of pneumonia on June 28, 2010, aged 92. Governor Manchin appointed Carte Goodwin
    Carte Goodwin
    Carte Patrick Goodwin is an American politician and attorney who served as a United States Senator from West Virginia. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Goodwin was appointed by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin on July 16, 2010, to fill the vacancy created by the death of Robert Byrd. ...

     to fill the seat until a special election was held in November 2010. Manchin was elected to the seat to fulfill the remainder of Byrd's term.

    Evangelical Christians comprised 52 percent of the state's voters in 2008. A poll in 2005 showed that 53 percent of West Virginia voters are pro-life
    Pro-life
    Opposition to the legalization of abortion is centered around the pro-life, or anti-abortion, movement, a social and political movement opposing elective abortion on moral grounds and supporting its legal prohibition or restriction...

    , the seventh highest in the country. In 2006, 16 percent favored gay marriage. In 2008, 58 percent favored troop withdrawal from Iraq while just 32 percent wanted troops to remain. On fiscal policy in 2008, 52 percent said raising taxes on the wealthier individuals would benefit the economy, while 45 percent disagreed.

    Democratic politicians are typically more conservative than the national party. The late-Senator Robert Byrd
    Robert Byrd
    Robert Carlyle Byrd was a United States Senator from West Virginia. A member of the Democratic Party, Byrd served as a U.S. Representative from 1953 until 1959 and as a U.S. Senator from 1959 to 2010...

     opposed affirmative action and same-sex marriage
    Same-sex marriage
    Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

    . Junior Senator
    United States Senate
    The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

     and former Governor Joe Manchin
    Joe Manchin
    Joseph "Joe" Manchin III is the junior United States Senator representing West Virginia. Manchin, a Democrat, was Governor of West Virginia from 2005 to 2010...

     and Congressmen Alan Mollohan
    Alan Mollohan
    Alan Bowlby Mollohan is the former U.S. Representative for , serving from 1983 until 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party....

     and Nick Rahall
    Nick Rahall
    Nick Joe Rahall II is the U.S. Representative for West Virginia's 3rd congressional district, serving since 1977. Rahall is currently Ranking Member of the House Resources Committee. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes much of the southern portion of the state, including...

     are pro-life
    Pro-life
    Opposition to the legalization of abortion is centered around the pro-life, or anti-abortion, movement, a social and political movement opposing elective abortion on moral grounds and supporting its legal prohibition or restriction...

     on the issue of abortion.

    In the Republican landslide of 1988
    United States presidential election, 1988
    The United States presidential election of 1988 featured no incumbent president, as President Ronald Reagan was unable to seek re-election after serving the maximum two terms allowed by the Twenty-second Amendment. Reagan's Vice President, George H. W. Bush, won the Republican nomination, while the...

    , it was one of only ten states, and the only southern state (as defined by the US Census), to give its electoral votes to Michael Dukakis
    Michael Dukakis
    Michael Stanley Dukakis served as the 65th and 67th Governor of Massachusetts from 1975–1979 and from 1983–1991, and was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1988. He was born to Greek immigrants in Brookline, Massachusetts, also the birthplace of John F. Kennedy, and was the longest serving...

    ; it was one of only six states to support Jimmy Carter
    Jimmy Carter
    James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

     over Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

     in 1980
    United States presidential election, 1980
    The United States presidential election of 1980 featured a contest between incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter and his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, as well as Republican Congressman John B. Anderson, who ran as an independent...

    ; and it supported Bill Clinton by large margins in both 1992
    United States presidential election, 1992
    The United States presidential election of 1992 had three major candidates: Incumbent Republican President George Bush; Democratic Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, and independent Texas businessman Ross Perot....

     and 1996
    United States presidential election, 1996
    The United States presidential election of 1996 was a contest between the Democratic national ticket of President Bill Clinton of Arkansas and Vice President Al Gore of Tennessee and the Republican national ticket of former Senator Bob Dole of Kansas for President and former Housing Secretary Jack...

    . The state has trended increasingly Republican in presidential elections; despite the earlier Democratic wins in presidential match-ups, it narrowly elected George W. Bush
    George W. Bush
    George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

     over Al Gore in 2000
    United States presidential election, 2000
    The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush , and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President....

    , then re-elected Bush by a much larger margin in 2004
    United States presidential election, 2004
    The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...

     and voted for John McCain
    John McCain
    John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

     in 2008
    United States presidential election, 2008
    The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365...

     by a similar margin to 2004.

    The most consistent support for Democrats is found in the coal fields of southern West Virginia
    Southern West Virginia
    Southern West Virginia is a culturally and geographically distinct region in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Generally considered the heart of Appalachia, Southern West Virginia is known for its coal mining heritage and southern affinity...

     (especially McDowell
    McDowell County, West Virginia
    McDowell County is a county in the U.S. state of West Virginia. The land that became McDowell was originally part of Tazewell County, Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 22,113. Its county seat is Welch. McDowell county is the southern-most county in the state, geographically...

    , Mingo
    Mingo County, West Virginia
    As of the census of 2000, there were 28,253 people, 11,303 households, and 8,217 families residing in the county. The population density was 67 people per square mile . There were 12,898 housing units at an average density of 30 per square mile...

    , Logan
    Logan County, West Virginia
    As of the census of 2000, there were 37,710 people, 14,880 households, and 10,936 families residing in the county. The population density was 83 people per square mile . There were 16,807 housing units at an average density of 37 per square mile...

    , Wyoming
    Wyoming County, West Virginia
    Wyoming County is a county located in the U.S. state of West Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 23,796. Its county seat is Pineville. Wyoming County was created in 1850 from Logan County and named for the Delaware Indian word meaning "large plains."-Geography:According to the U.S...

    , and Boone
    Boone County, West Virginia
    As of the census of 2000, there were 25,535 people, 10,291 households, and 7,460 families residing in the county. The population density was 51 people per square mile . There were 11,575 housing units at an average density of 23 per square mile...

     Counties), while Republicans
    Republican Party (United States)
    The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

     are most numerous to the east of the Allegheny Mountains
    Allegheny Mountains
    The Allegheny Mountain Range , also spelled Alleghany, Allegany and, informally, the Alleghenies, is part of the vast Appalachian Mountain Range of the eastern United States and Canada...

    , especially in the state's Eastern Panhandle
    Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia
    The Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia is a narrow stretch of territory in the northeast of the state, bordering Maryland and Virginia, United States. The Eastern Panhandle Board of Realtors and other local civic organizations consider only the three Easternmost counties, Jefferson, Berkeley and...

     and Potomac Highlands. The Northern Panhandle and North-Central West Virginia
    North-Central West Virginia
    North-Central West Virginia is a region of the U.S. State of West Virginia. The region's largest city is Morgantown.- Counties :*Monongalia County*Marion County*Harrison County*Taylor County*Doddridge County...

     regions usually split right down the middle in terms of being Republican or Democratic. Since 1996, coal interests have contributed more than $4 million to candidates for governor, the state Supreme Court and the West Virginia Legislature. The 2004 election was a record-setter for the coal industry. Gov. Joe Manchin received $571,214 from coal interests for his campaign and $174,500 for his inaugural. West Virginians for Coal, the West Virginia Coal Association's political action committee, contributed more money than any other coal industry donor.

    Transportation





    Highways form the backbone of transportation systems in West Virginia, with over 37300 miles (60,028.4 km) of public roads in the state. Airports, railroads, and rivers complete the commercial transportation modes for West Virginia. Commercial air travel is facilitated by airports in Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown, Beckley, Lewisburg, Clarksburg, and Parkersburg. The cities of Charleston, Huntington, Beckley, Wheeling, Morgantown, Clarksburg, and Fairmont have bus-based public transit systems.

    West Virginia University
    West Virginia University
    West Virginia University is a public research university in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA. Other campuses include: West Virginia University at Parkersburg in Parkersburg; West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery; Potomac State College of West Virginia University in Keyser;...

     in Morgantown boasts the PRT (personal rapid transit) system
    Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit
    The Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit system is a one-of-a-kind people mover system in Morgantown, West Virginia, United States...

    , the state's only single rail public transit system. Developed by Boeing
    Boeing
    The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

    , the WVU School of Engineering and the Department of Transportation
    United States Department of Transportation
    The United States Department of Transportation is a federal Cabinet department of the United States government concerned with transportation. It was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, and began operation on April 1, 1967...

    , it was a model for low-capacity light transport designed for smaller cities. Recreational transportation opportunities abound in West Virginia, including hiking trails, rail trails, ATV off road trails, white water rafting rivers, and two tourist railroads (Cass Scenic Railroad, and the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad
    South Branch Valley Railroad
    The South Branch Valley Railroad consists of a 52.4 mile length of railroad in the U.S. state of West Virginia extending north along the South Branch Potomac River from Petersburg to the CSXT mainline at Green Spring adjacent to the Potomac River...

    ).

    West Virginia is crossed by six interstate highways. I-64 enters the state near White Sulphur Springs
    White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
    White Sulphur Springs is a city in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 2,444 at the 2010 census.-Geography:White Sulphur Springs is located at ....

     in the mountainous east, and exits for Kentucky
    Kentucky
    The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

     in the west, near Huntington
    Huntington, West Virginia
    Huntington is a city in Cabell and Wayne counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia, along the Ohio River. Most of the city is in Cabell County, for which it is the county seat. A small portion of the city, mainly the neighborhood of Westmoreland, is in Wayne County. Its population was 49,138 at...

    . I-77 enters from Virginia
    Virginia
    The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

     in the south, near Bluefield
    Bluefield, West Virginia
    Bluefield is a city in Mercer County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 10,447 at the 2010 census. It is also the core city of the Bluefield WV-VA micropolitan area which has a population of 107,342.-Geography & Climate:...

    . It runs north past Parkersburg
    Parkersburg, West Virginia
    As of the census of 2000, there were 33,099 people, 14,467 households, and 8,767 families residing in the city. In 2006 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that Parkersburg's population had decreased 4.4% to 31,755. The population density was 2,800.5 people per square mile . There were 16,100 housing...

     before it crosses into Ohio
    Ohio
    Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

    . I-64 and I-77 are merged in a stretch of toll road known as the West Virginia Turnpike
    West Virginia Turnpike
    The West Virginia Turnpike is a toll road in the US state of West Virginia. It is also signed as Interstate 77 for its entire length as well as Interstate 64 from Charleston to just south of Beckley. From Beckley, the road extends south to Princeton...

    , on which construction began in 1952. It runs from just east of Charleston
    Charleston, West Virginia
    Charleston is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers in Kanawha County. As of the 2010 census, it has a population of 51,400, and its metropolitan area 304,214. It is the county seat of Kanawha County.Early...

     south to the exit for Princeton
    Princeton, West Virginia
    Princeton is a city in Mercer County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 7,652 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Bluefield, WV-VA micropolitan area which has a population of 111,586. It is the county seat of Mercer County...

    . I-68's western terminus is in Morgantown
    Morgantown, West Virginia
    Morgantown is a city in Monongalia County, West Virginia. It is the county seat of Monongalia County. Placed along the banks of the Monongahela River, Morgantown is the largest city in North-Central West Virginia, and the base of the Morgantown metropolitan area...

    . From there it runs east into Maryland
    Maryland
    Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

    . At the I-68 terminus in Morgantown, it meets I-79, which enters from Pennsylvania and runs through the state to its southern terminus in Charleston
    Charleston, West Virginia
    Charleston is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers in Kanawha County. As of the 2010 census, it has a population of 51,400, and its metropolitan area 304,214. It is the county seat of Kanawha County.Early...

    . I-70 briefly runs through West Virginia, crossing the northern panhandle through Wheeling
    Wheeling, West Virginia
    Wheeling is a city in Ohio and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia; it is the county seat of Ohio County. Wheeling is the principal city of the Wheeling Metropolitan Statistical Area...

    . I-81 also briefly runs in West Virginia through the Eastern Panhandle where it goes through Martinsburg
    Martinsburg, West Virginia
    Martinsburg is a city in the Eastern Panhandle region of West Virginia, United States. The city's population was 14,972 at the 2000 census; according to a 2009 Census Bureau estimate, Martinsburg's population was 17,117, making it the largest city in the Eastern Panhandle and the eighth largest...

    .

    An interstate quality road is currently being built that will eventually stretch from I-79 near Weston, WV to at least Wardensville, WV. The western stretch is complete to Kerens, West Virginia but is incomplete from there to Moorefield, WV. It is not certain whether the highway will eventually continue east past Wardensville to the Virginia state line and ultimately connect to I-81 just south of Winchester, VA.

    Rail lines in the state used to be more prevalent, but many lines have been discontinued because of increased automobile traffic. Many old tracks have been converted to rail trails for recreational use, and the state is still served by a few commercial lines for hauling coal and by Amtrak
    Amtrak
    The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

    . In 2006 Norfolk Southern along with the West Virginia and U.S. Government approved a plan to modify many of the rail tunnels in West Virginia, especially in the southern half of the state, to allow for double stacked cars (see inter-modal freight
    Intermodal freight transport
    Intermodal freight transport involves the transportation of freight in an intermodal container or vehicle, using multiple modes of transportation , without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes. The method reduces cargo handling, and so improves security, reduces damages and...

    ). This is expected to also help bring economic growth to the southern half of the state.

    Because of the mountainous nature of the entire state, West Virginia has several notable tunnels and bridges. The most famous of these is the New River Gorge Bridge
    New River Gorge Bridge
    The New River Gorge Bridge is a steel arch bridge long over the New River Gorge near Fayetteville, West Virginia, in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States. With an arch long, the New River Gorge Bridge was for many years the world's longest arch bridge; it is now the third...

    , which was at a time the longest steel single-arch bridge in the world with a 3,031-foot (924 m) span. The bridge is also pictured on the West Virginia state quarter. The Fort Steuben Bridge (Weirton-Steubenville Bridge) was at its time of construction one of only three cable-stayed steel girder trusses in the United States. "The Veterans Memorial Bridge was designed to handle traffic from the Fort Steuben Bridge as well as its own traffic load," to quote the Wierton Daily Times news paper. The 80-year-old Fort Steuben Bridge (Weirton-Steubenville Bridge) was permanently closed on January 8, 2009. The Wheeling Suspension Bridge
    Wheeling Suspension Bridge
    The Wheeling Suspension Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the main channel of the Ohio River at Wheeling, West Virginia. It was the largest suspension bridge in the world from 1849 until the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge was opened in 1851. It was designed by Charles Ellet Jr., who also worked...

     was the first bridge built across the Ohio River
    Ohio River
    The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

     in 1849 and for a time was the longest suspension bridge in the world. It is still the oldest vehicular suspension bridge in the United States still in use.

    State capitals


    Originally, the state capital was in Wheeling (1863 to 1870). It was then moved to Charleston, a more central city (1870 to 1875). However it was returned to Wheeling in 1875, until the capitol burned down in 1885. It was moved back to Charleston in 1885, and it has been there since.

    Important cities and towns

    See also: List of cities in West Virginia, List of towns in West Virginia, List of villages in West Virginia, List of census-designated places in West Virginia





    Large cities

    • Charleston
      Charleston, West Virginia
      Charleston is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers in Kanawha County. As of the 2010 census, it has a population of 51,400, and its metropolitan area 304,214. It is the county seat of Kanawha County.Early...

      , 51,400
    • Huntington
      Huntington, West Virginia
      Huntington is a city in Cabell and Wayne counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia, along the Ohio River. Most of the city is in Cabell County, for which it is the county seat. A small portion of the city, mainly the neighborhood of Westmoreland, is in Wayne County. Its population was 49,138 at...

      , 49,138
    • Parkersburg
      Parkersburg, West Virginia
      As of the census of 2000, there were 33,099 people, 14,467 households, and 8,767 families residing in the city. In 2006 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that Parkersburg's population had decreased 4.4% to 31,755. The population density was 2,800.5 people per square mile . There were 16,100 housing...

      , 31,492
    • Morgantown
      Morgantown, West Virginia
      Morgantown is a city in Monongalia County, West Virginia. It is the county seat of Monongalia County. Placed along the banks of the Monongahela River, Morgantown is the largest city in North-Central West Virginia, and the base of the Morgantown metropolitan area...

      , 29,660
    • Wheeling
      Wheeling, West Virginia
      Wheeling is a city in Ohio and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia; it is the county seat of Ohio County. Wheeling is the principal city of the Wheeling Metropolitan Statistical Area...

      , 28,486
    • Weirton
      Weirton, West Virginia
      Weirton is a city located in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, United States. Most of the city is in Hancock County, with the remainder in Brooke County. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 20,411...

      , 19,746
    • Fairmont
      Fairmont, West Virginia
      Fairmont is a city in Marion County, West Virginia, United States. Nicknamed "The Friendly City". The population was 18,704 at the 2010 census...

      , 18,704
    • Beckley
      Beckley, West Virginia
      Beckley is a city in Raleigh County, West Virginia, United States, which was founded on April 4, 1838. The 2008 population was estimated to be 16,832 by the U.S. Census Bureau. Early in its history, the town was known as Beckleyville and Raleigh Court House...

      , 17,614
  • Martinsburg
    Martinsburg, West Virginia
    Martinsburg is a city in the Eastern Panhandle region of West Virginia, United States. The city's population was 14,972 at the 2000 census; according to a 2009 Census Bureau estimate, Martinsburg's population was 17,117, making it the largest city in the Eastern Panhandle and the eighth largest...

    , 17,227
  • Clarksburg
    Clarksburg, West Virginia
    Clarksburg is a city in and the county seat of Harrison County, West Virginia, United States, in the north-central region of the state. It is the principal city of the Clarksburg, WV Micropolitan Statistical Area...

    , 16,578
  • South Charleston
    South Charleston, West Virginia
    South Charleston is a city in Kanawha County, West Virginia, U.S. The population was 13,450 at the 2010 census. South Charleston was established in 1906, but not incorporated until 1919 by special charter enacted by the West Virginia Legislature...

    , 13,450
  • Teays Valley
    Teays Valley, West Virginia
    Teays Valley is a census-designated place in Putnam County, West Virginia, United States. The place is divided into the two districts of Teays Valley and Scott Depot...

    , 13,175
  • St. Albans
    St. Albans, West Virginia
    St. Albans is a city in Kanawha County, West Virginia, United States, at the confluence of the Kanawha and Coal Rivers. The population was 11,044 at the 2010 census.St. Albans was laid out in 1816...

    , 11,044
  • Vienna
    Vienna, West Virginia
    Vienna is a city in Wood County, West Virginia, along the Ohio River. It is a suburb of Parkersburg. The population was 10,749 at the 2010 census. It is the third largest city by population in the Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna Metropolitan Statistical Area. Vienna was incorporated in 1935, and was...

    , 10,749
  • Bluefield
    Bluefield, West Virginia
    Bluefield is a city in Mercer County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 10,447 at the 2010 census. It is also the core city of the Bluefield WV-VA micropolitan area which has a population of 107,342.-Geography & Climate:...

    , 10,447

  • Towns and small cities

    • Barboursville
      Barboursville, West Virginia
      Barboursville is a village in Cabell County, West Virginia, United States. It is located near the second largest city in the state, Huntington. The population was 3,183 at the 2000 census....

    • Berkeley Springs
      Bath (Berkeley Springs), West Virginia
      Bath is a town in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, United States. It is the county seat of Morgan County. The town is incorporated as Bath, but it is often referred to by the name of its post office, Berkeley Springs. The population of the town was 663 according to the 2000 United States...

    • Bridgeport
      Bridgeport, West Virginia
      Bridgeport is a city in Harrison County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 7,306 at the 2000 census.The town of Bridgeport had its beginning in pre-Revolutionary War times. In 1764, John Simpson entered the area and gave his name to Simpson Creek. Bridgeport was chartered in 1816....

    • Buckhannon
      Buckhannon, West Virginia
      Buckhannon is the only incorporated city in, and the county seat of, Upshur County, West Virginia, United States, and is located along the Buckhannon River. The population was 5,725 at the 2000 census. Buckhannon is home to West Virginia Wesleyan College and the West Virginia Strawberry Festival,...

    • Charles Town
      Charles Town, West Virginia
      Charles Town is a city in and the county seat of Jefferson County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 2,907 at the 2000 census. Due to its similar name, travelers have sometimes confused this city with the state's capital, Charleston.-History:...

    • Elkins
      Elkins, West Virginia
      Elkins is a city in Randolph County, West Virginia, United States. The community was incorporated in 1890 and named in honor of Stephen Benton Elkins , a U.S. Senator from West Virginia. The population was 7,032 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Randolph County...

    • Fayetteville
      Fayetteville, West Virginia
      Fayetteville is a town in and the county seat of Fayette County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 2,754 at the 2000 census.Fayetteville was listed as one of the 2006 "Top 10 Coolest Small Towns in America" by Budget Travel Magazine ....

    • Grafton
      Grafton, West Virginia
      Grafton is a city in, and county seat of, Taylor County, West Virginia, USA. The population was 5,489 at the 2000 census. The only two national cemeteries in West Virginia are located in Grafton. Mother's Day was founded in Grafton on May 10, 1908; the city is the home to the International Mother's...

  • Hamlin
    Hamlin, West Virginia
    Hamlin, originally named "Hamline," is a town in Lincoln County, West Virginia, United States, along the Mud River. The population was recorded as 1,119 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Lincoln County.-History:...

  • Harpers Ferry
    Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
    Harpers Ferry is a historic town in Jefferson County, West Virginia, United States. In many books the town is called "Harper's Ferry" with an apostrophe....

  • Hinton
    Hinton, West Virginia
    Hinton is a city in Summers County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 2,880 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Summers County. Hinton was established in 1873 and chartered in 1897. Hinton was named for John "Jack" Hinton, a prominent lawyer of Summers County and husband of...

  • Keyser
    Keyser, West Virginia
    Keyser is a city in and the county seat of Mineral County, West Virginia, United States. It is part of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 5,303 at the 2000 census.- History :...

  • Kingwood
    Kingwood, West Virginia
    Kingwood is a town in and the county seat of Preston County, West Virginia, United States, and is part of the Pittsburgh DMA. Kingwood was founded in 1815...

  • Lewisburg
    Lewisburg, West Virginia
    Lewisburg is a city in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 3,830 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Greenbrier County.-Geography:Lewisburg is located at ....

  • Logan
    Logan, West Virginia
    Logan is a city in Logan County, West Virginia, United States, along the Guyandotte River. The population was 1,779 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Logan County.-History:...

  • Madison
    Madison, West Virginia
    Madison is a city in Boone County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 3,076 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Boone County.-History:...

  • Marlinton
    Marlinton, West Virginia
    Marlinton is a town in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 1,204 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Pocahontas County.-History:...

  • Moorefield
    Moorefield, West Virginia
    Moorefield is a town in Hardy County, West Virginia, USA. Moorefield is the county seat of Hardy County. It was originally chartered in 1777 and named for Conrad Moore, who owned the land upon which the town was laid out...

  • Moundsville
    Moundsville, West Virginia
    Moundsville is a city in Marshall County, West Virginia, along the Ohio River. It is part of the Wheeling Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 9,998 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Marshall County. The city was named for the Grave Creek Mound. Moundsville was settled in...

  • Mullens
    Mullens, West Virginia
    Mullens is a city in Wyoming County, West Virginia. As of the 2000 census, it had a population of 1,769.Located in a valley along the Guyandotte River within a mountainous region of southern West Virginia, the town was nearly destroyed by flash flooding in July 2001...

  • New Martinsville
    New Martinsville, West Virginia
    New Martinsville is a city in Wetzel County, West Virginia, United States, along the Ohio River. The population was 5,984 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Wetzel County.-Geography:New Martinsville is located at ....

  • Oak Hill
    Oak Hill, West Virginia
    Oak Hill is a city in Fayette County, West Virginia, United States and is the primary city within the Oak Hill, WV Micropolitan Statistical Area. The micropolitan area is also included in the Beckley-Oak Hill, WV Combined Statistical Area. The population was 7,589 at the 2000 census...

  • Petersburg
    Petersburg, West Virginia
    Petersburg is a city in Grant County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 2,423 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Grant County.-History:...

  • Philippi
    Philippi, West Virginia
    Philippi is a city in — and the county seat of — Barbour County, West Virginia, USA. The population was 2,870 at the 2000 census. In 1861, the city was the site of the Battle of Philippi, known as "The Philippi Races"...

  • Point Pleasant
    Point Pleasant, West Virginia
    Point Pleasant is a city in Mason County, West Virginia, United States, at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers. The population was 4,637 at the 2000 census...

  • Princeton
    Princeton, West Virginia
    Princeton is a city in Mercer County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 7,652 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Bluefield, WV-VA micropolitan area which has a population of 111,586. It is the county seat of Mercer County...

  • Ravenswood
    Ravenswood, West Virginia
    Ravenswood is a city in Jackson County, West Virginia, United States, along the Ohio River. The population was 4,031 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Ravenswood is located at , along the Ohio River at the mouth of Sandy Creek....

  • Ripley
    Ripley, West Virginia
    Ripley is a city in and the county seat of Jackson County, West Virginia, United States.-Geography:Ripley is located at , along Mill Creek....

  • Romney
    Romney, West Virginia
    Romney is a city in and the county seat of Hampshire County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 1,940 at the 2000 census, while the area covered by the city's ZIP code had a population of 5,873. It is a city with a very historic background dating back to the 18th century...

  • Shepherdstown
    Shepherdstown, West Virginia
    Shepherdstown is a town in Jefferson County, West Virginia, United States, located along the Potomac River. It is the oldest town in the state, having been chartered in 1762 by Colonial Virginia's General Assembly. Since 1863, Shepherdstown has been in West Virginia, and is the oldest town in...

  • Sistersville
    Sistersville, West Virginia
    Sistersville is a city in Tyler County, West Virginia, along the Ohio River. The population was 1,588 at the 2000 census. The Sistersville Ferry crosses the Ohio River to the unincorporated community of Fly in Monroe County, Ohio.-Geography:...

  • Summersville
    Summersville, West Virginia
    Summersville is a town in Nicholas County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 3,194 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Nicholas County.-Geography:...

  • Wayne
    Wayne, West Virginia
    Wayne is a town in Wayne County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 1,105 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Wayne County. Wayne is a part of the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH, Metropolitan Statistical Area...

  • Webster Springs
    Webster Springs, West Virginia
    Webster Springs is a town in Webster County, West Virginia, United States. Although it was incorporated as Addison in 1892, it is more frequently referred to as Webster Springs, the name of the town's post office. It was named as such for Addison McLaughlin, upon whose land the town was originally...

  • Welch
    Welch, West Virginia
    Welch is a city located in McDowell County in the U.S. state of West Virginia. The population was 2,406 at the 2010 census. Incorporated as a city in 1893, it is the county seat of McDowell County.-History:...

  • Weirton
    Weirton, West Virginia
    Weirton is a city located in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, United States. Most of the city is in Hancock County, with the remainder in Brooke County. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 20,411...

  • Weston
    Weston, West Virginia
    Weston is a city in Lewis County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 4,317 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Lewis County, and home to the West Virginia Museum of American Glass.-History:...

  • Williamson
    Williamson, West Virginia
    Williamson is a city in Mingo County, West Virginia, USA, along the Tug Fork River. The population was 3,414 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Mingo County, and is the county's largest and most populous city. Williamson is home to Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College...


  • Metropolitan statistical areas

    • Charleston, WV MSA

    • Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH MSA

    • Morgantown, WV MSA
      Morgantown metropolitan area
      The Morgantown Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of two counties in north-central West Virginia, anchored by the city of Morgantown...


    • Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna, WV-OH MSA
      Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna metropolitan area
      The Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of three counties in West Virginia and one in Ohio, anchored by the cities of Parkersburg, West Virginia, Marietta, Ohio, and Vienna, West Virginia...


    • Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH MSA
      Weirton-Steubenville metropolitan area
      The Weirton-Steubenville Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of two counties in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia and one in Ohio, anchored by the cities of Weirton, West Virginia, and Steubenville, Ohio...


    • Wheeling, WV-OH MSA
      Wheeling metropolitan area
      The Wheeling Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of two counties in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia and one in Ohio, anchored by the city of Wheeling...


    • Cumberland, MD-WV MSA
      Cumberland, MD-WV MSA
      Cumberland, MD-WV MSA, or Cumberland Metro for short, denotes the Metropolitan Statistical Area of Cumberland, Maryland and the surrounding economic region of Allegany County, Maryland and Mineral County, West Virginia, in the United States....


    • Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV MSA
      Hagerstown Metropolitan Area
      The Hagerstown-Martinsburg Metropolitan Area, officially designated by the United States Office of Management and Budget as Hagerstown-Martinsburg, Maryland-West Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area , constitutes the primary cities of Hagerstown, Maryland, Martinsburg, West Virginia, and...


    • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA
      Washington Metropolitan Area
      The Washington Metropolitan Area is the metropolitan area centered on Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The area includes all of the federal district and parts of the U.S...


    • Winchester, VA-WV MSA
      Winchester, VA-WV MSA
      Winchester, VA-WV MSA is a U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Area as defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget as of June, 2003. Its population as of 2008 U.S. Census Bureau estimates is 122,369....


    Micropolitan statistical areas

    • Beckley, WV Micropolitan Statistical Area
      United States micropolitan area
      United States Micropolitan Statistical Areas , as defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget, are urban areas in the United States based around a core city or town with a population of 10,000 to 49,999. The micropolitan area designation was created in 2003...

       (MSA)

    • Bluefield, WV-VA MSA

    • Clarksburg, WV MSA

    • Fairmont, WV MSA

    • Oak Hill, WV MSA

    • Point Pleasant, WV-OH MSA
      Point Pleasant micropolitan area
      The Point Pleasant Micropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of two counties – one in West Virginia and one in Ohio – anchored by the city of Point Pleasant, West Virginia....


    Education





    Colleges and universities


    • Alderson–Broaddus College
    • Appalachian Bible College
      Appalachian Bible College
      Appalachian Bible College is a small, non-profit, private, Christian college north of Beckley, West Virginia, United States. While unaffiliated with any particular denomination, it generally serves independent churches associated within the fundamental baptist and bible church associations.The...

    • Bethany College
      Bethany College (West Virginia)
      Bethany College is a private liberal arts college located in Bethany, West Virginia, United States. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the oldest institution of Higher Education in West Virginia.-Location:...

    • Bluefield State College
      Bluefield State College
      Bluefield State College is a historically black college located in Bluefield, West Virginia, United States. It is a part of West Virginia's public education system and offers baccalaureate and associate degrees. The school is not connected in any way with Bluefield College in nearby Bluefield,...

    • Blue Ridge Community and Technical College
      Blue Ridge Community and Technical College
      Not to be confused with Blue Ridge Community College in a nearby area of Virginia.Blue Ridge Community and Technical College is a two-year college located in Martinsburg, in Berkeley County, West Virginia...

    • Bridgemont Community and Technical College
      Bridgemont Community and Technical College
      Bridgemont Community and Technical College is a community college serving the upper Kanawha Valley region of West Virginia, United States. It was formerly the community college of the West Virginia University Institute of Technology...

    • Concord University
      Concord University
      Concord University is a comprehensive, public, liberal arts institution located in Athens, West Virginia, United States, founded on February 28, 1872, when the West Virginia Legislature passed "an Act to locate a Branch State Normal School, in Concord Church, in the County of Mercer".Founded by...

    • Davis and Elkins College
      Davis and Elkins College
      Davis & Elkins College, also known as D&E, is a small residential liberal arts college located in Elkins, West Virginia, United States. The school was founded in 1904 and is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. It was named for Henry G. Davis and his son-in-law Stephen B. Elkins who were both...

    • Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College
    • Fairmont State University
      Fairmont State University
      Fairmont State University is a public university located in Fairmont, West Virginia, USA. Enrollment of the university is about 7,700 and offers masters degrees in business, education, teaching, criminal justice and nursing in addition to 90 baccalaureate and 50 associate degrees...

    • Glenville State College
      Glenville State College
      Glenville State College is a public four-year college located in Glenville, a town in the rural north-central part of the U.S. state of West Virginia.-History:...

    • Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College
    • Marshall University
      Marshall University
      Marshall University is a coeducational public research university in Huntington, West Virginia, United States founded in 1837, and named after John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States....

    • Mountain State University
      Mountain State University
      Mountain State University is a private nonsectarian university based in Beckley, West Virginia, United States. The university offers undergraduate and master's degree programs, as well as a doctoral degree program. Most of the university's programs focus on the professions in business,...

    • Mountwest Community and Technical College
    • New River Community and Technical College
      New River Community and Technical College
      New River Community and Technical College is West Virginia's newest independently accredited institution of higher education. Founded July 1, 2003, by enactment of the West Virginia Legislature, the college was independently accredited February 8, 2005, by the Higher Learning Commission of North...

  • Ohio Valley University
    Ohio Valley University
    Ohio Valley University is a private, four-year Christian college and is affiliated with the Churches of Christ. It is located between the western towns of Parkersburg and Vienna in the State of West Virginia in the United States....

  • Pierpont Community and Technical College
    Pierpont Community and Technical College
    Pierpont Community and Technical College is the community college serving north-central West Virginia in the United States, based in Fairmont and also serving Morgantown and Clarksburg...

  • Salem International University
    Salem International University
    Salem International University is an American private university located in Salem, West Virginia, in the United States...

  • Shepherd University
    Shepherd University
    Shepherd University, formerly Shepherd College, is a state-funded university in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, United States. The University currently serves more than 4,200 students.- Accreditation :...

  • Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College
  • University of Charleston
    University of Charleston
    The University of Charleston is a private university in Charleston, West Virginia, United States of over 1,300 students.-History:The school was founded in 1888 as the Barboursville Seminary of the Southern Methodist Church...

  • West Liberty University
  • West Virginia Northern Community College
    West Virginia Northern Community College
    West Virginia Northern Community College is a public, multi-campus community college with the main campus located in downtown Wheeling, West Virginia, United States...

  • West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
    West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
    The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, located in Lewisburg, West Virginia, United States, is a public free-standing and independent medical school not affiliated with a larger institution...

  • West Virginia State University
    West Virginia State University
    West Virginia State University is a historically black public college in Institute, West Virginia, United States. In the Charleston-metro area, the school is usually referred to simply as "State" or "West Virginia State"...

  • West Virginia University
    West Virginia University
    West Virginia University is a public research university in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA. Other campuses include: West Virginia University at Parkersburg in Parkersburg; West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery; Potomac State College of West Virginia University in Keyser;...

    • Potomac State College of West Virginia University
      Potomac State College of West Virginia University
      Potomac State College of West Virginia University is a two-year junior college affiliated as a division of West Virginia University. West Virginia's only residential junior college, it is located in Keyser, approximately away from WVU's main campus in Morgantown, West Virginia, United States...

    • West Virginia University at Parkersburg
      West Virginia University at Parkersburg
      West Virginia University at Parkersburg is a public college located in Parkersburg, West Virginia, United States. It is a stand-alone college with its own board of governors and degree granting authority, separate from WVU. Conceived as a community college to serve seven counties in west central...

    • West Virginia University Institute of Technology
      West Virginia University Institute of Technology
      West Virginia University Institute of Technology is a four-year college located in Montgomery, West Virginia, United States. It is the largest regional campus of West Virginia University and is separately accredited from the main campus of WVU in Morgantown...

  • West Virginia Wesleyan College
    West Virginia Wesleyan College
    West Virginia Wesleyan College is a regionally accredited private, coeducational, liberal arts college in Buckhannon, West Virginia, United States. It has an enrollment of about 1,400 students from 35 U.S. states and 26 countries. The school was founded in 1890 by the West Virginia Conference of...

  • Wheeling Jesuit University
    Wheeling Jesuit University
    Wheeling Jesuit University is a private, co-educational Roman Catholic university in the United States. Located in Wheeling, West Virginia, it was founded as Wheeling College in 1954 by the Society of Jesus . Today, Wheeling Jesuit University is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of...


  • Distinctions



    The state has a rich, lush beauty reflecting its temperate topography
    Topography
    Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

    . Tourist
    Tourism
    Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

     sites include the New River Gorge Bridge
    New River Gorge Bridge
    The New River Gorge Bridge is a steel arch bridge long over the New River Gorge near Fayetteville, West Virginia, in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States. With an arch long, the New River Gorge Bridge was for many years the world's longest arch bridge; it is now the third...

    , Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
    Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
    Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers in and around Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The park includes land in Jefferson County, West Virginia; Washington County, Maryland and Loudoun County, Virginia. The park is managed by the...

     and many state park
    State park
    State parks are parks or other protected areas managed at the federated state level within those nations which use "state" as a political subdivision. State parks are typically established by a state to preserve a location on account of its natural beauty, historic interest, or recreational...

    s. The Greenbrier
    The Greenbrier
    The Greenbrier is a Forbes four-star and AAA Five Diamond Award winning luxury resort located just outside the town of White Sulphur Springs in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, United States....

     hotel
    Hotel
    A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. The provision of basic accommodation, in times past, consisting only of a room with a bed, a cupboard, a small table and a washstand has largely been replaced by rooms with modern facilities, including en-suite bathrooms...

     and resort
    Resort
    A resort is a place used for relaxation or recreation, attracting visitors for holidays or vacations. Resorts are places, towns or sometimes commercial establishment operated by a single company....

    , originally built in 1778, has long been considered a premier hotel frequented by numerous world leaders and U.S. Presidents over the years. West Virginia is also home to the Green Bank Telescope
    Green Bank Telescope
    The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope is the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope and the world's largest land-based movable structure. It is part of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory site at Green Bank, West Virginia, USA. The telescope honors the name of the late Senator...

     at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory
    The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center of the United States National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc for the purpose of radio astronomy...

    .

    Appalachian music


    West Virginia's folk heritage is a part of the Appalachian folk music tradition, and includes styles of fiddling, ballad singing, and other styles that draw on Scots-Irish
    Ulster-Scots
    The Ulster Scots are an ethnic group in Ireland, descended from Lowland Scots and English from the border of those two countries, many from the "Border Reivers" culture...

     music. Camp Washington-Carver, a Mountain Cultural Arts Center located at Clifftop
    Clifftop, Fayette County, West Virginia
    Clifftop is an unincorporated community in Fayette County, West Virginia, United States.It is the home of historic Camp Washington-Carver, which hosts the Appalachian String Band Music Festival the first weekend in August....

     in Fayette County
    Fayette County, West Virginia
    As of the census of 2000, there were 47,579 people, 18,945 households, and 13,128 families residing in the county. The population density was 72 people per square mile . There were 21,616 housing units at an average density of 33 per square mile...

    , hosts an annual Appalachian String Band Festival. The Capitol Complex in Charleston hosts The Vandalia Gathering, where traditional Appalachian musicians compete in contests and play in impromptu jam sessions and evening concerts over the course of the weekend. The Augusta Heritage Center sponsored by Davis & Elkins College in Elkins
    Elkins, West Virginia
    Elkins is a city in Randolph County, West Virginia, United States. The community was incorporated in 1890 and named in honor of Stephen Benton Elkins , a U.S. Senator from West Virginia. The population was 7,032 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Randolph County...

     in Randolph County
    Randolph County, West Virginia
    As of the census of 2000, there were 28,262 people, 11,072 households, and 7,661 families residing in the county. The population density was 27 people per square mile . There were 13,478 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile...

     produces the annual Augusta Heritage Festival
    Augusta Heritage Festival
    Augusta Heritage Festival is a music and heritage festival held each summer at the Davis and Elkins College, Elkins, West Virginia.Over 20 years old, this five week festival covers music, dance and crafts relating to 10+ themes.These themes include:...

     which includes intensive week-long workshops that are in the summer that help preserve Appalachian heritage and traditions.

    Classical music


    The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1939, as the Charleston Civic Orchestra, before becoming the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in 1943. The first conductor was William R. Wiant, followed by the conductor Antonio Modarelli, who was written about in the November 7, 1949 Time Magazine for his composition of the River Saga, a six-section program piece about the Kanawha River according to the Charleston Gazette's November 6, 1999 photo essay, "Snapshots of the 20th Century". Prior to coming to Charleston, Modarelli had conducted the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra
    Wheeling Symphony Orchestra
    The Wheeling Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Wheeling, West Virginia. Since its founding in 1929, the orchestra has mostly performed at the Capitol Music Hall. But in May 2007, the "Capitol" closed its doors unexpectedly, forcing the Symphony to look for a new home. Temporary...

     and the Philadelphia Orchestra
    Philadelphia Orchestra
    The Philadelphia Orchestra is a symphony orchestra based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States. One of the "Big Five" American orchestras, it was founded in 1900...

    , according to the orchestra's website.

    The Pulitzer Prize
    Pulitzer Prize
    The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

     winning 20th century composer George Crumb
    George Crumb
    George Crumb is an American composer of contemporary classical music. He is noted as an explorer of unusual timbres, alternative forms of notation, and extended instrumental and vocal techniques. Examples include seagull effect for the cello , metallic vibrato for the piano George Crumb (born...

     was born in Charleston and earned his Bachelor's Degree there before moving outside the state. There had also been a series of operatic style concerts performed in Wheeling during mid-century as well.

    Musical innovation


    The West Virginia Cultural Center in Charleston is home to the West Virginia Division of Culture and History which helps underwrite and coordinate a large number of musical activities. The Center is also home to Mountain Stage
    Mountain Stage
    Mountain Stage is a two-hour music radio show, first aired in 1983, produced by WV Public Broadcasting and distributed worldwide by National Public Radio and the Voice of America's satellite radio service. Hosted by Larry Groce, the program showcases diverse music, from the traditional to modern...

    , the internationally broadcast live-performance music radio program established in 1983. The program also travels to other venues in the state such as the West Virginia University
    West Virginia University
    West Virginia University is a public research university in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA. Other campuses include: West Virginia University at Parkersburg in Parkersburg; West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery; Potomac State College of West Virginia University in Keyser;...

     Creative Arts Center in Morgantown.

    The Center hosts concerts sponsored by the Friends of Old Time Music and Dance, which brings an assortment of acoustic roots music to West Virginians. The Center also hosts the West Virginia Dance Festival, which features classical and modern dance.

    Huntington's historic Keith-Albee Theatre
    Keith-Albee Theatre
    Keith-Albee is a theatre located along Fourth Avenue in downtown Huntington, West Virginia in the United States of America. The Keith-Albee was named after the Keith-Albee-Orpheum Corporation, one of the leading vaudeville performance chains at that time, to convince the directors of...

    , built by brothers A.B. and S.J. Hyman, was originally opened to the public on May 7, 1928, and hosts a variety of performing arts and music attractions. The theatre was eventually gifted to Marshall University
    Marshall University
    Marshall University is a coeducational public research university in Huntington, West Virginia, United States founded in 1837, and named after John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States....

     and is currently going through renovation to restore it to its original splendor.

    Every summer Elkins
    Elkins, West Virginia
    Elkins is a city in Randolph County, West Virginia, United States. The community was incorporated in 1890 and named in honor of Stephen Benton Elkins , a U.S. Senator from West Virginia. The population was 7,032 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Randolph County...

     hosts the Augusta Heritage Festival, which brings folk musicians from around the world. The town of Glenville
    Glenville, West Virginia
    Glenville is a town in and the county seat of Gilmer County, West Virginia, United States, along the Little Kanawha River. The population was 1,544 at the 2000 census. It is the home of Glenville State College.-History:...

     has long been home to the annual West Virginia State Folk Festival.

    The Mountaineer Opera House in Milton
    Milton, West Virginia
    Milton is a town in Cabell County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 2,206 at the 2000 census.Milton is a part of the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area . As of the 2000 census, the MSA had a population of 288,649...

     hosts a variety of musical acts.

    John Denver's song "Take Me Home, Country Roads
    Take Me Home, Country Roads
    "Take Me Home, Country Roads" is a song written by John Denver, Taffy Nivert, and Bill Danoff and initially recorded by John Denver. It was included on his 1971 breakout album Poems, Prayers and Promises; the single went to #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100...

    " describes the experience of driving through West Virginia.

    The Daily Mail Kanawha County Majorette and Band Festival
    Daily Mail Kanawha County Majorette and Band Festival
    The Daily Mail Kanawha County Majorette and Band Festival is an annual festival dedicated to high school bands and majorette corps in Kanawha County, West Virginia. The event is held at the University of Charleston Stadium at Laidley Field in Charleston, West Virginia at the end of September of...

     is West Virginia's longest running music festival. It is for the eight public high schools in Kanawha County. The festival began in 1947. It is held at the University of Charleston Stadium at Laidley Field in downtown Charleston.

    Sports


    Club
    Club
    A club is an association of two or more people united by a common interest or goal. A service club, for example, exists for voluntary or charitable activities; there are clubs devoted to hobbies and sports, social activities clubs, political and religious clubs, and so forth.- History...

    Sport
    Sport
    A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

    League
    Sports league
    League is a term commonly used to describe a group of sports teams or individual athletes that compete against each other in a specific sport. At its simplest, it may be a local group of amateur athletes who form teams among themselves and compete on weekends; at its most complex, it can be an...

    Marshall Thundering Herd
    Marshall Thundering Herd
    The Marshall Thundering Herd are the intercollegiate athletic teams that collectively represent the Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Thundering Herd athletic teams compete in Conference USA, which are members of the NCAA Division I...

    Football
    American football
    American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

     / Basketball
    Conference USA
    Conference USA
    Conference USA, officially abbreviated C-USA, is a college athletic conference whose member institutions are located within the Southern United States. The conference participates in the NCAA's Division I in all sports...

    West Virginia Mountaineers
    West Virginia Mountaineers
    The West Virginia Mountaineers are the athletic teams of West Virginia University. The school is a member of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I and the Big East Conference. On July 1, 2012 the Mountaineers will switch conferences, moving from the Big East to the Big 12, becoming...

    Football
    American football
    American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

     / Basketball
    Big East Conference
    Big East Conference
    The Big East Conference is a collegiate athletics conference consisting of sixteen universities in the eastern half of the United States. The conference's 17 members participate in 24 NCAA sports...

    Bluefield Blue Jays Baseball Appalachian League
    Appalachian League
    The Appalachian League is a Rookie-class minor league that began play in 1937 with one year of inactivity in 1956. From 1937 to 1962, it was a Class D League. Teams are located in the Appalachian regions of Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia and Tennessee...

    Princeton Rays Baseball Appalachian League
    Appalachian League
    The Appalachian League is a Rookie-class minor league that began play in 1937 with one year of inactivity in 1956. From 1937 to 1962, it was a Class D League. Teams are located in the Appalachian regions of Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia and Tennessee...

    West Virginia Power
    West Virginia Power
    This article is about the baseball team, for the electric utility serving southeast West Virginia from 1986-99, see Allegheny Energy.The West Virginia Power is a minor league baseball team of the South Atlantic League, and is the Class A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. They are located in...

    Baseball South Atlantic League
    South Atlantic League
    The South Atlantic League is a minor league baseball league based chiefly in the Southeastern United States, with the exception of three teams in the Mid-Atlantic States...

    Wheeling Nailers
    Wheeling Nailers
    The Wheeling Nailers are an ECHL ice hockey team based in Wheeling, West Virginia. They are the ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Montreal Canadiens of the NHL and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL....

    Ice hockey
    Ice hockey
    Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

    ECHL
    ECHL
    The ECHL is a mid-level professional ice hockey league based in Princeton, New Jersey with teams scattered across the United States...

    West Virginia Wild
    West Virginia Wild
    The West Virginia Wild is a basketball team that plays in the Mountain State Basketball League. Formerly, they played in the American Basketball Association, International Basketball League and then later joined the National Professional Basketball League. The team is based in Charleston, West...

    Basketball International Basketball League
    International Basketball League
    The International Basketball League was a short lived professional basketball league in the United States. The IBL was headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. The league started in 1999 and ended in 2001.-History:...

    West Virginia Wild
    West Virginia Wild (CIFL)
    The West Virginia Wild was an indoor football team located, in Huntington, West Virginia. They were suspended from the CIFL indefinitely for failing to turn in key items before the deadline . The team was to play its home games at the Veterans Memorial Fieldhouse...

    Indoor football Continental Indoor Football League
    West Virginia Lightning Football
    American football
    American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

    Elite Mid-Continental Football League
    West Virginia Chaos
    West Virginia Chaos
    West Virginia Chaos is an American soccer team based in Charleston, West Virginia, United States. Founded in 2003, the team plays in the USL Premier Development League , the fourth tier of the American Soccer Pyramid, in the South Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.The team plays its home...

    Soccer USL Premier Development League
    USL Premier Development League
    The USL Premier Development League is the amateur league of the United Soccer Leagues in the United States, Canada, and Bermuda, forming part of the American Soccer Pyramid...

    West Virginia Bruisers
    West Virginia Bruisers
    The Tri-State Bruisers are a women's semi-professional football team based in the Huntington–Ashland, WV–KY–OH, Metropolitan Statistical Area. As members of the Women's Spring Football League, the Bruisers play their home games at the historic Ward-Craycraft Stadium in Kenova, West Virginia,...

    Football
    American football
    American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

    Women's Football Alliance
    Women's Football Alliance
    The Women's Football Alliance is a full-contact Women's American football league which began play in the spring of 2009. They have now completed three full seasons and grew to over 60 teams slated for the 2011 season. The women play 11 person tackle football games with rules that basically mirror...

    Huntington Hammer American Football
    American football
    American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

    Ultimate Indoor Football League
    Ultimate Indoor Football League
    The Ultimate Indoor Football League is a regional professional indoor football league that began its inaugural season on February 18, 2011.-History:...


    See also



    • U.S. state
      U.S. state
      A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...



    Further reading


    • Charles H. Ambler, A History of Education in West Virginia From Early Colonial Times to 1949 (1951)
    • Charles H. Ambler and Festus P. Summers. West Virginia, the Mountain State (1958)
    • Jane S. Becker, Inventing Tradition: Appalachia and the Construction of an American Folk, 1930–1940 1998.
    • Richard A. Brisbin, et al. West Virginia Politics and Government (1996)
    • James Morton Callahan, History of West Virginia (1923) 3 vol
    • John C. Campbell, The Southern Highlander and His Homeland (1921) reissued 1969.
    • Richard Orr Curry, A House Divided: A Study of Statehood Politics and Copperhead Movement in West Virginia (1964)
    • Donald Edward Davis. Where There Are Mountains: An Environmental History of the Southern Appalachians 2000.
    • Ronald D, Eller. Miners, Millhands, and Mountaineers: Industrialization of the Appalachian South, 1880–1930 1982.
    • Carl E. Feather, Mountain People in a Flat Land: A Popular History of Appalachian Migration to Northeast Ohio, 1940–1965. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1998.
    • Thomas R. Ford ed. The Southern Appalachian Region: A Survey. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1967.
    • Horace Kephart, Our Southern Highlanders
      Our Southern Highlanders
      Our Southern Highlanders: A Narrative of Adventure In the Southern Appalachians and a Study of Life Among the Mountaineers is a book written by American author Horace Kephart , first published in 1913 and revised in 1922...

      . Rev. ed. New York: Macmillan, 1922. Reprinted as Our Southern Highlanders: A Narrative of Adventure in the Southern Appalachians and a Study of Life among the Mountaineers. With an Introduction by George Ellison. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1976.
    • Gerald Milnes, Play of a Fiddle: Traditional Music, Dance, and Folklore in West Virginia. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1999.
    • Otis K. Rice, The Allegheny Frontier: West Virginia Beginnings, 1730–1830 (1970),
    • Otis K. Rice and Stephen W. Brown, West Virginia: A History, 2d ed. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1993), standard
    • Curtis Seltzer, Fire in the Hole: Miners and Managers in the American Coal Industry (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1985), conflict in the coal industry to the 1980s.
    • Joe William Trotter Jr., Coal, Class, and Color: Blacks in Southern West Virginia, 1915–32 (1990)
    • John Alexander Williams, West Virginia: A History for Beginners. 2nd ed. Charleston, W.Va.: Appalachian Editions, 1997.
    • John Alexander Williams. West Virginia: A Bicentennial History (1976)
    • John Alexander Williams. West Virginia and the Captains of Industry 1976.
    • John Alexander Williams. Appalachia: A History (2002)

    Primary sources
    • Elizabeth Cometti, and Festus P. Summers. The Thirty-fifth State: A Documentary History of West Virginia. Morgantown: West Virginia University Library, 1966.


    External links


    State Government
    U.S. Government
    Other

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