50 Facts About West Virginia


West Virginia is the 10th-smallest state by area and ranks as the 12th-least populous state, with a population of 1, 793, 716 residents.

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West Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, and was a key border state during the war.

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West Virginia is often included in several U S geographical regions, including the Mid-Atlantic, the Upland South, and the Southeastern United States.

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Century later, the area now identified as West Virginia was contested territory among Anglo-Americans as well, with the colonies of Pennsylvania and Virginia claiming territorial rights under their colonial charters to this area before the American Revolutionary War.

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Residents of that area became more sharply divided after the planter elite of eastern West Virginia voted to secede from the Union during the Civil War.

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West Virginia abolished slavery by a gradual process and temporarily disenfranchised men who had held Confederate office or fought for the Confederacy.

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West Virginia's history has been profoundly affected by its mountainous terrain, numerous and vast river valleys, and rich natural resources.

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In 1671, General Abraham Wood, at the direction of Royal Governor William Berkeley of the West Virginia Colony, sent a party from Fort Henry led by Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam to survey this territory.

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West Virginia's diary recorded that there were already many squatters, largely of German origin, along the South Branch Potomac River.

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West Virginia sought to have a 14th colony established with the name "Vandalia".

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West Virginia was the only state in the Union to separate from a Confederate state during the Civil War.

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Almost immediately after that vote, a mass meeting at Clarksburg recommended that each county in northwestern Virginia send delegates to a convention to meet in Wheeling on May 13, 1861.

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The next day, convention delegates chose Francis H Pierpont as governor of Virginia and elected other officers to a rival state government and two U S senators to replace secessionists before adjourning.

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Thus there were two state governments in West Virginia: one pledging allegiance to the United States and one to the Confederacy.

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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 remained loyal to Richmond.

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The new constitution was more closely modeled on Ohio's than West Virginia's, adopting a township model of government rather than the "courthouse cliques" of West Virginia which Carlile criticized, and a compromise demanded by the Kanawha region allowed counties and municipalities to vote subsidies for railroads or other improvement organizations.

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The Virginia General Assembly repealed the act of secession and in 1866 brought suit against West Virginia asking the court to declare the counties part of Virginia, which would have made West Virginia's admission as a state unconstitutional.

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Original charters for Maryland and West Virginia were silent as to which branch of the upper Potomac was the boundary.

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Nevertheless, when West Virginia seceded from Virginia, Maryland claimed West Virginia land north of the South Branch.

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West Virginia is located entirely within the Appalachian Region, and the state is almost entirely mountainous, giving the reason for the nickname The Mountain State and the motto Montani Semper Liberi.

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The average elevation of West Virginia is approximately 1, 500 feet above sea level, which is the highest of any U S state east of the Mississippi River.

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Climate of West Virginia is generally a humid subtropical climate with warm to hot, humid summers and chilly winters, increasing in severity with elevation.

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West Virginia is one of the cloudiest states in the nation, with the cities of Elkins and Beckley ranking 9th and 10th in the U S respectively for the number of cloudy days per year.

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The center of population of West Virginia is located in Braxton County, in the town of Gassaway.

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Survey conducted in 2015 by the Pew Research Center found that West Virginia was the seventh most "highly religious" state in the United States.

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West Virginia was one of only ten states in 2009 that grew economically.

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West Virginia is the site of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which features the Green Bank Telescope.

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West Virginia is located in the heart of the Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Bed, which stretches from Tennessee north to New York in the middle of Appalachia.

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West Virginia produces a surplus of electricity and leads the Nation in net interstate electricity exports.

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West Virginia ranked last in the Gallup Economic Index for the fourth year running.

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West Virginia's score was -44, or a full 17 points lower than the average of -27 for the other states in the bottom ten.

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West Virginia ranked 48th in the CNBC "Top States for Business 2013" based on measures of competitiveness such as economy, workforce and cost of living—ranking among the bottom five states for the last six years running.

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West Virginia ranked 49th in the 2014 State New Economy Index and has ranked in the bottom three states since 1999.

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West Virginia ranked last or next-to-last in critical indicators such as Workforce Education, Entrepreneurial Activity, High-Tech Jobs, and Scientists and Engineers.

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West Virginia's population is expected to decline by more than 19, 000 residents by 2030, and West Virginia lost one of its three seats in the United States House of Representatives in the 2020 census.

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West Virginia is the only state where death rates exceed birth rates.

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Charleston, West Virginia has the worst divorce rate among 100 cities in the nation.

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West Virginia, however, ranked either last or second-to-last in twenty categories, including cancer, child immunization, diabetes, disabilities, drug deaths, teeth loss, low birth weight, missed work days due to health, prescription drug overdose, preventable hospitalizations, and senior clinical care.

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In 2012, according to the Census Bureau, West Virginia was the only state where death rates exceed birth rates.

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Residents of West Virginia have a lower life expectancy than the national average.

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McDowell and several other West Virginia counties are among the counties in the U S with the lowest life expectancies.

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

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West Virginia is one of 27 states that do not have a death penalty, and it was the only state in the southeastern United States to have abolished it until 2021, when Virginia did so as well.

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The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia is the busiest appellate court of its type in the United States.

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At the state level, West Virginia's politics were largely dominated by the Democratic Party from the Great Depression through the 2000s.

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Recreational transportation opportunities abound in West Virginia, including hiking trails, rail trails, ATV off-road trails, white water rafting rivers, and two tourist railroads, the Cass Scenic Railroad and the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad.

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I-70 briefly runs through West Virginia, crossing the northern panhandle through Wheeling, while I-470 is a bypass of Wheeling.

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West Virginia is home to college sports teams from two schools—West Virginia and Marshall—that play in NCAA DivisionI.

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West Virginia is home to several professional minor league baseball, football, hockey, and other sports teams.

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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 music.

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