West Virginia

West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian, Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States.[Note 1] It is bordered by Pennsylvania to the north and east, Maryland to the east and northeast, Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, and Ohio to the northwest. 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.[7] The capital and largest city is Charleston.

West Virginia
State of West Virginia
Nickname: 
Mountain State
Motto(s): 
Montani semper liberi
(English: Mountaineers Are Always Free)
Anthem: 4 songs
Map of the United States with West Virginia highlighted
CountryUnited States
Before statehoodPart of Virginia
Admitted to the UnionJune 20, 1863; 159 years ago (1863-06-20) (35th)
Capital
(and largest city)
Charleston
Largest metro and urban areasCharleston–Huntington (combined)
Huntington (metro and urban)
Government
  GovernorJim Justice (R)
  Lieutenant GovernorCraig Blair (R)
LegislatureWest Virginia Legislature
  Upper houseSenate
  Lower houseHouse of Delegates
JudiciarySupreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
U.S. senatorsJoe Manchin (D)
Shelley Moore Capito (R)
U.S. House delegation1: David McKinley (R)
2: Alex Mooney (R)
3: Carol Miller (R) (list)
Area
  Total24,230 sq mi (62,755 km2)
  Land24,078 sq mi (62,361 km2)
  Water152 sq mi (394 km2)  0.6%
  Rank41st
Dimensions
  Length240 mi (385 km)
  Width130 mi (210 km)
Elevation
1,513 ft (461 m)
Highest elevation4,863 ft (1,482 m)
Lowest elevation240 ft (73 m)
Population
 (2020)
  Total1,793,716[4]
  Rank39th
  Density77.1/sq mi (29.8/km2)
   Rank29th
  Median household income
$43,469[5]
  Income rank
49th
DemonymsWest Virginian, Mountaineer
Language
  Official languageDe jure: English[6]
Time zoneUTC−05:00 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST)UTC−04:00 (EDT)
USPS abbreviation
WV
ISO 3166 codeUS-WV
Traditional abbreviationW.Va. W.V.
Latitude37°12′ N to 40°39′ N
Longitude77°43′ W to 82°39′ W
Websitewv.gov
West Virginia state symbols
Living insignia
BirdNorthern cardinal
(Cardinalis cardinalis)
ButterflyMonarch butterfly
(Danaus plexippus)
FishBrook trout
(Salvelinus fontinalis)
FlowerRhododendron
(Rhododendron maximum)
InsectWestern honey bee
(Apis mellifera)
MammalBlack bear
(Ursus americanus)
ReptileTimber rattlesnake
(Crotalus horridus)
TreeSugar maple
(Acer saccharum)
Inanimate insignia
ColorsOld gold and blue
FoodGolden Delicious apple
(Malus domestica)
FossilJefferson's ground sloth
(Megalonyx jeffersonii)
GemstoneSilicified Mississippian fossil coral
(Lithostrotionella)
RockCoal
Slogan"Wild and Wonderful"
"Open for Business" (former)
"Almost Heaven" (former)
SoilMonongahela Silt Loam
Song"The West Virginia Hills"
TartanWest Virginia Shawl
State route marker
State quarter
Released in 2005
Lists of United States state symbols

West Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, and was a key border state during the American Civil War. It was the only state to form by separating from a Confederate state, the second to separate from a state after Maine separated from Massachusetts, and one of two states (along with Nevada) admitted to the Union during the Civil War. Some of its residents held slaves, but most were yeoman farmers, and the delegates provided for the gradual abolition of slavery in the new state constitution. The state legislature abolished slavery in the state, and at the same time ratified the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery nationally on February 3, 1865.

West Virginia's Northern Panhandle extends adjacent to Pennsylvania and Ohio to form a tristate area, with Wheeling and Weirton just across the border from the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Huntington in the southwest is close to Ohio and Kentucky, while Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry in the Eastern Panhandle region are considered part of the Washington metropolitan area, between Maryland and Virginia. West Virginia is often included in several U.S. geographical regions, including the Mid-Atlantic, the Upland South, and the Southeastern United States. It is the only state entirely within the area served by the Appalachian Regional Commission; the area is commonly defined as "Appalachia".[8]

The state is noted for its mountains and rolling hills, its historically significant coal mining and logging industries, and its political and labor history. It is also known for a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, including skiing, whitewater rafting, fishing, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and hunting. From the Great Depression to the 1990s, the state voted heavily for the Democratic Party due to its tradition of union-based politics. Since then, the state has become heavily Republican, and is considered a "deep red" state at the federal level.[9]

Other nominated names for the state included Vandalia, Kanawha, Appalachia, and Western Virginia. The capital was originally Wheeling, before switching to Charleston, moving back to Wheeling, and finally back to Charleston. The first governor was Arthur Boreman.


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