For thousands of years before Europeans arrived, Native Americans hunted in the woodlands of what is now West Virginia. The first European settlers were German and Scotch-Irish. West Virginia was part of Virginia for a time.
- West Virginia is bordered by Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. The state has a relatively mild climate and beautiful mountains and forests.
- During the 1800s, small farms in West Virginia didn’t rely on slavery. People in the area didn’t want to secede (leave) the Union and eventually chose to leave Virginia, creating a new state.
- Miners came to exploit the vast coal deposits found in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Coal brought industrial growth, but the miners faced poverty and health challenges. The mining also caused extensive environmental damage.
- Harpers Ferry, established in 1751 by Robert Harper, was a prominent departure place for many settlers headed going west.
- Mother’s Day was first celebrated in West Virginia in 1908.
West Virginia Quick Stats
State capital: Charleston (population, 51,400)
Largest city: Charleston (population, 51,400)
State bird: cardinal
State flower: rhododendron
Questions and Answers
Question: Is West Virginia considered a northern state or a southern state?
Answer: That depends on who you ask. It’s often called the most southern northern state and the most northern southern state.
Watch a short video about West Virginia.