West Virginia is a U.S.
state located in the Appalachian region of the Southern United States.
It is bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to
the northwest, Pennsylvania to the north, and Maryland to the northeast.
West Virginia is the 41st largest by area and the 38th
most populous of the 50 United States.
The capital and largest city is Charleston.
became a state following the Wheeling Conventions, in which 50 northwestern
counties of Virginia whose
landowners owned few to no slaves decided to break away from
during the American Civil War. The new state was admitted to the
on June 20, 1863, and was a
key Civil War border state. West Virginia
was the only state to form by seceding from a Confederate state and was one of
two states formed during the American Civil War (the other being
Nevada, which separated from
Census Bureau and the Association of American Geographers classify
as part of the South. The northern panhandle extends adjacent to
and Ohio, with the
West Virginia cities of Wheeling
and Weirton just across the border
from the Pittsburgh metropolitan
area, while Bluefield is less than
70 miles (110 km) from North Carolina.
Huntington in the southwest is close
to the states of Ohio and
Kentucky, while Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry
in the Eastern Panhandle region are considered part of the
metropolitan area, in between the states of Maryland
and Virginia. The unique position
of West Virginia means that it is
often included in several geographical regions, including the Mid-Atlantic, the
Upland South, and the Southeastern United States. It is
the only state that is entirely within the area served by the Appalachian
Regional Commission; the area is commonly defined as "Appalachia"
The state is noted for its
mountains, its historically significant logging and coal mining industries, and
its political and labor history. It is one of the most densely karstic areas in
the world, making it a choice area for recreational caving and scientific
research. The karst lands contribute to much of the state's cool trout waters.
It is also known for a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities,
including skiing, whitewater rafting, fishing, hiking, backpacking, mountain
biking, and hunting.
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