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Population: 1,855,413 (Source: 2012 U.S. Census)
Major Cities: Charleston, Huntington, Parkersburg, Morgantown, Wheeling
Borders: Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland
Gross Domestic Product (GDP): $69,380 million (2012 U.S. Department of Commerce)
Coal mining, logging, natural gas, tourism, chemicals, and biotechnology
How West Virginia got its name: The name Virginia comes from Queen Elizabeth I who was called the Virgin Queen. It took the name West Virginia when it split from the state of Virginia during the Civil War.
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West Virginia State Symbols
State Nickname: Mountain State
State Slogan: Open for Business; (formerly) Wild and Wonderful; also on its license plate as Wild, Wonderful; (formerly) Almost Heaven
State Motto: Montani semper liberi (Mountaineers are always free)
State flower: Rhododendron
State bird: Cardinal
State fish: Brook Trout
State tree: Sugar Maple
State mammal: Black bear
Becoming a State
Date admitted: Saturday, June 20, 1863
Number admitted: 35
Prior Name: Virginia
Postal Abbreviation: WV
The Geography of West Virginia
Total Size: 24,078 sq. miles (source: 2003 Census)
Geographical Low Point: Potomac River at 240 feet, located in the county/subdivision of Jefferson (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
Geographical High Point: Spruce Knob at 4,863 feet, located in the county/subdivision of Pendleton (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
Central Point: Located in Braxton County approx. 4 miles east of Sutton (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
Counties: 55 (source: National Association of Counties)
Bodies of Water: Potomac River, Ohio River, Kanawha River, Monongahela River, Tygart Lake, Bluestone Lake, Summersville Lake, Sutton Lake
- Pearl S. Buck - Author of The Good Earth.
- Steve Harvey - Actor and talk show host
- Devil Anse Hatfield - Leader of the Hatfield family
- Stonewall Jackson - Civil War general
- Joseph Johnston - Civil War general
- Don Knotts- Comedian and actor
- John F. Nash - Mathematician
- Brad Paisley - Country singer and songwriter
- Mary Lou Retton - Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics
- Nick Saban - College football coach
- Jerry West - Professional basketball player and executive
- Chuck Yeager - Test pilot was the first to exceed the sound barrier
- Some people say West Virginia is the northern most southern state, others say it's the southern most northern state.
- Harpers Ferry changed hands a dozen times during the Civil War.
- The New River is one of the few rivers in the world that flows south to north.
- At 1,815 feet long, the New River Gorge Bridge is the longest steel-arch bridge in the United States.
- West Virginia split from Virginia during the Civil War. West Virginia wanted to stay in the Union, while Virginia wanted to become part of the Confederacy.
- Much of West Virginia is mountains, hence the name the Mountain State. Much of the state, 75%, is also covered in forest.
- When the state split from Virginia, delegates voted on a new name from Kanawha, Allegheny, and West Virginia.
- West Virginia has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.
- Coal mining is still a major industry in the state.
Professional Sports Teams
There are no major professional sports teams in West Virginia.
Geography >> US States>> West Virginia History
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