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West Virginia
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West Virginia

West Virginia
(In Detail) (Full size)
State nickname: Mountain State

Other U.S. States
Capital Charleston
Largest City Charleston
Governor Bob Wise
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water
 - % water
Ranked 41st
62,809 kmē
62,436 kmē
376 kmē
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 37th
Admittance into Union
 - Order
 - Date

June 20, 1863
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
37°10'N to 40°40'N
77°40'W to 82°40'W
210 km
385 km
1,482 meters
455 meters
73 meters
ISO 3166-2:US-WV

West Virginia is a state of the United States, known as The Mountain State.

While many consider it part of the South, many in the state's Northern Panhandle feel a greater affinity for Pittsburgh, while those in the Eastern Panhandle feel a greater affinity for Washington D.C. West Virginia broke away from Virginia during the American Civil War. The state is noted for its coal mining heritage, and union organizing mine wars in particular.

The state has a rich, stark beauty reflecting its topography. Tourist sites include the New River Gorge Bridge (where on Bridge Day the federal government, which controls the landing site, allows parachuting from the bridge), as well as many national and state parks. It is also home to the Green Bank Telescope at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

The US Navy has named a series of ships USS West Virginia in honor of this state.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Law and Government
3 Geography
4 Demographics
5 Important cities and towns
6 Education
7 Professional sports teams
8 Miscellaneous information
9 External links


West Virginia is the only American state formed as a direct result of the American Civil War. Originally the western part of the state of Virginia, considerable dissatisfaction over the control of the state existed between those in the western part of the state, and plantation owners in the plains and tidewater regions. However, under the United States constitution, state boundaries could not be redrawn without the consent of the state in question.

However, the American Civil War allowed western Virginia to form its own state. Western Virginia was strongly anti-slavery and contained the only three counties in the south to vote for Abraham Lincoln. During the debate on secession, the western counties of Virginia voted overwhelmingly to stay in the Union. Upon the secession of Virginia from the union on April 27, 1861, the western counties of Virginia formed a pro-Union reformed government for Virginia based in Wheeling. This reformed government authorized the creation of the state of Kanawha, consisting of all of the counties that had remained loyal to the Union. Eventually, the state of Kanawha was renamed West Virginia. This new state was admitted to the union in 1863, following Abraham Lincoln's signing of an act on December 31, 1862 that authorized this.

Following the war, Virginia had hoped for reunification with West Virginia, however West Virginia decided to remain as an independant state. For many years, the two states had a series of legal disputes regarding money to be paid to the Virginian government.

Law and Government

See: List of Governors of West Virginia

The capital is Charleston, in the south west area of the state.

The legislature is bicameral, consisting of the House of Delegates and a Senate. Legislators are not full-time, but part-time. Consequently, the legislators hold a full-time job in their community of residence, which stands in stark contrast to the neighboring states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Ohio.

Typically, the legislature is in session between January and early April. The remainder of the year sees legislators gathering periodically for interim meetings to discuss issues which will see debate during the next regular session.

The governor is elected every four years, on the same day as the president, sworn in during January. The current governor is Bob Wise.


See: List of West Virginia counties

It is bordered by Pennsylvania and Maryland to the north, by Ohio and Kentucky to the west, and by Virginia to the east. The Ohio River and the Potomac River form parts of the boundaries.


The population as of 2000 is 1,808,344.

As of 2000, West Virginia was probably the US state least affected by immigration. Only 1.1% of the state's residents were foreign-born, placing West Virginia last among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in that statistic. It was also last in the country in percentage of residents that speak a language other than English in the home (2.7%).

Important cities and towns


Colleges and universities

  • Salem International University
  • Shepherd University
  • University of Charleston
  • West Virginia State University
    (formerly West Virginia State College)
  • West Virginia University
  • West Virginia University Institute of Technology
  • West Virginia University at Parkersburg
  • West Virginia Wesleyan College
  • Wheeling Jesuit University

Professional sports teams

The Minor League Baseball Teams are:

The minor league hockey team is:

Miscellaneous information

External links

Regions of West Virginia
Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area | Eastern Panhandle | Northern Panhandle
Largest Cities
Beckley | Bluefield | Bridgeport | Charleston | Clarksburg | Dunbar | Fairmont | Huntington | Martinsburg | Morgantown | Moundsville | Parkersburg | South Charleston | St. Albans | Vienna | Weirton
Barbour | Berkeley | Boone | Braxton | Brooke | Cabell | Calhoun | Clay | Doddridge | Fayette | Gilmer | Grant | Greenbrier | Hampshire | Hancock | Hardy | Harrison | Jackson | Jefferson | Kanawha | Lewis | Lincoln | Logan | Marion | Marshall | Mason | McDowell | Mercer | Mineral | Mingo | Monongalia | Monroe | Morgan | Nicholas | Ohio | Pendleton | Pleasants | Pocahontas | Preston | Putnam | Raleigh | Randolph | Ritchie | Roane | Summers | Taylor | Tucker | Tyler | Upshur | Wayne | Webster | Wetzel | Wirt | Wood | Wyoming

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