West Virginia

West Virginia


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Da staten Virginia stemte for at løsrive sig fra USA under borgerkrigen (1861-65), modstod befolkningen i den barske og bjergrige vestlige del af staten beslutningen og organiserede sig for at danne deres egen stat, West Virginia, til støtte af Unionen. Kongressen indrømmede West Virginia den 20. juni 1863. Byen Harpers Ferry i West Virginia var stedet for John Browns skæbnesvangre angreb fra 1859 på den føderale våbenvæsen der. Selvom Browns plan om at bevæbne et storstilet oprør af slaver med våben fra våbenkammeret i sidste ende mislykkedes og. Brown blev hængt, lykkedes det razziaen at betyde hvide sydlige frygt for oprør og øgede den stigende spænding mellem nord og syd før civil Krig.

I dag er West Virginia en stor kulproducerende stat, der leverer 15 procent af landets kul. New River Gorge Bridge nær Fayetteville er den længste stålbuebro i verden. Hver oktober er byen vært for en brodagsfest, når vejen er lukket for trafik, og enkeltpersoner får lov til at hoppe i faldskærm og springe ud af broen; begivenheden tiltrækker tæt på 100.000 deltagere og tilskuere hvert år. Berømte indfødte i West Virginia omfatter skuespilleren Don Knotts, gymnast Mary Lou Retton og testpilot Chuck Yeager.

Dato for statsledelse: 20. juni 1863

Kapital: Charleston

Befolkning: 1,852,994 (2010)

Størrelse: 24.230 kvadratkilometer

Kaldenavn (e): Mountain State

Motto: Montani Semper Liberi (“Bjergbestigere er altid gratis”)

Træ: Sukker ahorn

Blomst: Rhododendron

Fugl: Kardinal

Interessante fakta

  • Mellem 250 og 150 f.Kr. byggede Adena -folket det, der er kendt som Grave Creek Mound i Marshall County. Nu står den 62 fod høj med en diameter på 240 fod og er den største koniske gravhøj i USA. I 1838 gravede to mænd sig ind i højen og afslørede et gravkammer med skeletter og smykker.
  • Greenbrier, et luksuriøst feriested i Allegheny -bjergene i White Sulphur Springs, blev brugt i begyndelsen af ​​Anden Verdenskrig til at huse diplomater fra Tyskland, Italien og Japan, indtil amerikanske diplomater tilbageholdt i udlandet kunne returneres sikkert hjem i bytte. I 1942 købte den amerikanske hær hotellet og konverterede det til et hospital, hvor der i løbet af fire år blev behandlet mere end 24.000 soldater.
  • I 1942 vedtog West Virginia en lov, der krævede, at studerende og lærere hilste det amerikanske flag og reciterer løfte om troskab. Da Walter Barnette, et Jehovas Vidne, nægtede at gøre det med den begrundelse, at det var i modstrid med hans religiøse overbevisning, blev han bortvist fra skolen. Den 14. juni 1943 afgjorde den amerikanske højesteret i West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, at det var en krænkelse af deres ytrings- og religionsfrihed at tvinge enkeltpersoner til at hylde flaget.
  • To æblesorter stammer fra West Virginia: Grimes Golden Apple, opdaget på en gård nær Wellsburg i begyndelsen af ​​1800 -tallet; og Golden Delicious -æblet, fundet på en gård i Clay County i begyndelsen af ​​det 20. århundrede. I 1995 blev Golden Delicious -æblet udpeget som den officielle statsfrugt i West Virginia.
  • New River Gorge Bridge, med et spænd på 1.700 fod, er den længste stålbue bro på den vestlige halvkugle. Hver tredje lørdag i oktober er Fayetteville -broen vært for en festival, der omfatter hundredvis af BASE -jumpere, der styrter 876 fod ned i floden nedenfor.

Fotogallerier













West Virginia

Statens forkortelse/postnummer: W.Va./WV
Kaldenavn: Mountain State
Oprindelse af navn:Til ære for Elizabeth, "Virgin Queen" af England
Motto: "Montani semper liberi " (Bjergbestigere er altid gratis)
Statens symboler:
Dyr: Sort bjørn (1973)
Fugl:Kardinal (1933)
Sommerfugl:Monark sommerfugl (1995)
Fisk:Bækørred (1973)
Insekt:Honningbi (2002)
Krybdyr:Timber klapperslange (2008)
Blomst:Rhododendron (1903)
Frugt:Gyldent lækkert æble (1995)
Træ: Sukker ahorn (1949)
Fossil: Jefferson's dovendyr (2008)
Perle:Silicified coral (1990)
Klippe:Bituminøst kul (2009)
Jord:Monongahela (1997)
Farver:Blåt og guld (officielt) (1863)
Ferie:West Virginia Day? 6/20 (1927)
Sang:"The West Virginia Hills", "This is My West Virginia" og "West Virginia, My Sweet Mountain Home" (1963)
"Take Me Home, Country Roads" af John Denver (2014)

Regering

Kapital:Charleston
Guvernør: Jim Justice, R (til jan. 2019)
Lieut. Guvernør:Mitch Carmichael, R (til jan. 2019)
Secy. af staten: Mac Warner, R (til jan. 2019)
Kasserer: John Perdue, D (til jan. 2019)
Atty. Generel: Patrick Morrisey, R (til jan. 2019)
Amerikanske repræsentanter: 3
Senatorer:Joe Manchin III, D (til jan. 2019) Shelley Moore Capito, R (til jan. 2021)
Se også:Historiske biografier om West VirginiaCongress -medlemmer

Befolkning

Beboere:West Virginian
Bosat befolkning:1.831.102 (38. største stat, 2016)
10 største byer (2010): Charleston, 51.400 Huntington, 49.138 Parkersburg, 31.492 Wheeling, 28.486 Morgantown, 29.660 Weirton, 19.746 Fairmont, 18.704 Beckley, 17.614 Clarksburg, 16.578 Martinsburg, 17.227
Race/etnicitet: Hvid (98,5%) Sort (3,4%) Amerikansk indianer (0,2%) Asiatisk (0,7%) Andet løb (0,3%) To eller flere racer (1,5%) Hispanic/Latino (1,2%).
Religion:Protestantisk (70%) Ingen religion/Ikke tilknyttet (18%) Katolsk (6%) Mormon (2%) Jødisk (1%) Muslim (1%) Andet (1%) Intet svar (1%).
Køn: Mand (49,3%) Kvinde (50,7%).
Alder: Under 18 (20,9%) 18-64 (63,1%) 65 og derover (16,0%). Medianalder: 41.3
Se også: Yderligere West Virginia Census Data

Økonomi

BNP: 77 milliarder dollars (40. i USA, 2017)
Arbejdsløshed: 6.5% (2015)
Oversigt:West Virginia er hjemsted for en række kemiske faciliteter til globale virksomheder, der udgør en stor del af lokal fremstilling. På trods af statens ry som "kulland" er regering og sundhedstjenester de største beskæftigelsesområder. Mange West Virginians arbejder i gæstfrihed, da staten har en bemærkelsesværdig industri for natur og historisk turisme.

Geografi

Land område:24.230kvm (62.755 km 2)
Geografisk centrum: I Braxton Co., 4 mi. E af Sutton
Antal amter: 55
Største amt efter befolkning og område: Kanawha, 193.063 (2010) Randolph, 1.040 kvadratkilometer.
Statsskove: 9 (79.502 ac.)
Statsparker/rekreative områder: 37 (74.508 ac.)
Områdekoder
Turistkontor

Se mere om West Virginia:


West Virginia History OnView

West Virginia History OnView (WVHOV) i West Virginia & Regional History Centers online database, der indeholder over 50.000 billeder digitaliseret fra vores rige og mangfoldige samlinger. Selvom ikke alle billeder, vi har, er blevet scannet ind i denne database, viser det et lille udvalg af vores mange fotografier, glasplade -negativer, farvetyper, udskrifter og andre stillbilleder. Billederne viser en række emner, der er forbundet med West Virginia og Appalachian -regionen.


HATFIELDS OG MÅNESKIN

Hatfields i Hatfield og McCoy fejde, en af ​​West Virginia mest berygtede familier, har en lang historie med moonshine.

Den 3. september 1914 blev den Wheeling Intelligencer rapporterede, at flere store stillbilleder, tusindvis af liter moonshine whisky og øl var blevet ødelagt i Buchanan County, Virginia - som kun ligger cirka 25 miles fra Hatfield "land" i det sydlige West Virginia.

Det blev rapporteret, at en af ​​de ødelagte stillbilleder tilhørte Old "Cap" Hatfield. Cap var søn af den berygtede "Devil Anse" Hatfield og var stærkt involveret i fejden. Intelligencer blev citeret for at rapportere, at Hatfield, “... siges at være undsluppet til bjergene. Dette kan ikke bekræftes, selvom stillbildet blev fanget på hans ejendom. ” Bob Hatfield blev også anholdt og ført til Williamson, men slap "... fra vinduet på et flyvende tog."

Den 17. oktober 1911 dræbte en salongarbejder ved navn Octavo Geromie to af "Devil Anse" Hatfields sønner, Elias og Troy, i Fayette County, West Virginia. De unge Hatfields blev beskrevet i udgaven af ​​25. oktober 1911 af Ceredo Advance som "ellers fredelige borgere." De vendte tilbage og dræbte også manden, der havde skudt dem. Elias havde tidligere været i West Virginia Penitentiary i Moundsville for mordet på Humphrey "Doc" Ellis, men blev senere benådet af guvernør Atkinson. Ifølge samme avisberetning eskalerede striden om en aftale om distribution af alkohol, muligvis øl og spiritus.

På kirkegården på en bjergskråning under begravelsen anmodede matriarken i Hatfield -klanen, Levicy Chafin Hatfield, sine sønner om en ærlig måde at leve på. Mange forpligtede sig til deres mor. Den 26. oktober 1911, Shepherdstown Register blev citeret for at sige at "de ældre forældre glædede sig over deres omvendelse." Kun få uger før denne tragiske hændelse var "Devil Anse" selv blevet døbt i Island Creek, den samme å, der skal krydses for at nå Hatfield Family Cemetery.

Hatfield -mærket moonshine, der stadig fremstilles i dag.


Fotos af West Virginia's Mining History

Hvad er West Virginia kendt for?

Kulminedrift er en af ​​mange ting, som The Mountain State er kendt for, men den har mange andre ting at byde på. Sydlig gæstfrihed, komfortmad og smuk udsigt er nogle af de luksusmuligheder, vi har at tilbyde.

Hvordan har West Virginia ændret sig gennem årene?

Oprindelige folk har befolket denne stat siden så tidligt som 100 f.Kr., og landskabet blev undersøgt af europæere i 1670'erne. West Virginia blev optaget i Unionen i 1863, på et tidspunkt, hvor befolkningen var omkring 377.000. I dag kalder næsten 2 millioner indbyggere denne stat hjem.

Kan jeg vandre til historiske steder i West Virginia?

Du kan finde alle mulige smukke vandreture i WV, og nogle af dem skjuler historiske skatte. Der er en vandretur til en forladt kulby, som du måske vil nyde den, kaldet Nutallburg, og den har ruiner og strukturer fra den gamle bosættelse.


West Virginia

West Virginia, der løsrev sig fra Virginia (som selv havde løsrevet sig fra Unionen) under borgerkrigen, blev sin egen stat i juni 1863. Det og Nevada var de eneste stater, der blev optaget under krigen, selvom Kansas blev en stat i begyndelsen af ​​1861, bare et par måneder før fjendtlighederne begyndte. Staten har skiftet flere gange mellem at støtte det demokratiske eller republikanske parti i sin historie, hvor hvert skift har en tendens til at vare en generation eller mere. Staten var primært republikansk fra 1900 til den store depression, da var staten pålideligt demokratisk, med få undtagelser gennem Bill Clintons 2. valg i 1996.

Siden er staten blevet solidt republikansk, hvor det parti vandt med stigende margin ved hvert valg fra 2000 til 2016. Donald Trump besejrede Hillary Clinton med 42% i 2016 og Joe Biden med 39% i 2020. I begge tilfælde er det var Trumps 2. største margin, der kun var på efterkant af Wyoming.

Staten har vokset meget langsommere end landet i mere end 50 år, dets valgstemme er faldet fra 8 i 1960 til 4 i dag.


Kandidatuddannelser

Historie Mindre

Mindre ændring, større værdi: studere vækst og udvikling af det menneskelige samfund ud fra de politiske, sociale, økonomiske og kulturelle aspekter. Tilføj en historisk minor.

History Club

Historieklubben byder alle elever velkommen til at deltage i historierelaterede aktiviteter uden for klasseværelset. History Club koordineres af Phi Alpha Theta, den internationale historiens æresbevisning, men det er ikke nødvendigt at være medlem af Phi Alpha Theta for at deltage i History Club.


Tidlig historie om indianere i West Virginia

Navnene på West Virginia -stammerne omfattede Cherokee, Iroquois, Manahoac, Meherrin, Monacan, Nottaway, Occaneechi, Saponi og Shawnee.

De første mennesker i West Virginia var paleo-indianerne eller tidlige jægere, der ankom engang før 11.000 f.Kr. Udgravninger i Kanawha og Ohio dale, på Blennerhassett Island og ved Peck's Run i Upshur County har afdækket stenvåben fra denne periode. De tidlige jægere boede i små familieenheder. Små nomadiske grupper jagtede store vildt, såsom mastodonter, mammutter og bøffler, med spyd, der havde riflede punkter. Et stort antal af disse pilespidser er blevet opdaget langs Ohio -floden mellem St. Mary's og Parkersburg. Omkring 6.000 f.Kr. uddøde det meste af det store vildt, og de tidlige jægere døde enten ud eller tilpassede sig en kultur med jagt på småvildt og indsamling af spiselige planter.

Mellem 7.000 og 1.000 f.Kr. udviklede flere forskellige arkaiske kulturer sig i Northern Panhandle, Eastern Panhandle og Kanawha Valley. Udgravninger har afsløret enkle værktøjer, primitiv keramik og ceremonielle begravelser. I modsætning til de nomadiske paleo-indianere havde det arkaiske folk en tendens til at bosætte sig på ét sted i lange perioder. En arkæologisk udgravning i slutningen af ​​1960'erne bestemte, at St. Albans-stedet var en af ​​de første permanente bosættelser i nutidens West Virginia. Det arkaiske folk valgte dette sted for at indsamle skaldyr fra Kanawha -floden. Brugen af ​​haver, keramik og ceremonielle gravhøje omkring 1000 f.Kr. markerede begyndelsen på den tidlige skov- eller Adena -kultur.

Adena -folket adskilte sig fra det arkaiske, fordi de organiserede landsbyer, udviklede mere omfattende haver, bar smykker og spillede spil. De mest varige optegnelser over deres kultur er ceremonielle gravhøje. Adena -folket var de første indianere, der byggede ceremonielle høje. Vi ved lidt om, hvordan eller hvorfor høje blev bygget, selvom det kan have været, at høje blev bygget over resterne af ærede medlemmer af stammen.

Hopewell -kulturen udviklede sig tilsyneladende i Illinois -dalen omkring 500 f.Kr. Da Hopewell -folkene flyttede mod øst, havde deres kultur den mest betydningsfulde indflydelse fra nogen af ​​de tidlige amerikanere. I år 1 begyndte medlemmer af Hopewell -kulturen at migrere ind i Kanawha -dalen og rejste høje i South Charleston og St. Albans -området. I den sene forhistoriske periode (1000-1600) blev West Virginia besat af indianere fra forskellige stammer. De boede i små landsbyer og jagede, fiskede og dyrkede majs, bønner og squash. Ud over mange gravsteder og helleristninger (tegninger på sten) er en af ​​de største udgravninger af en indiansk landsby Buffalo Village i Buffalo, Putnam County.

I 1600 var organiserede stammer som Delaware og Shawnee flyttet ind i nutidens West Virginia. Derudover begyndte det magtfulde Iroquois Forbund at udøve sin indflydelse på regionen. Konføderationen var en alliance af fem Iroquois -talende nationer - Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga og Seneca - dannet i nutidens New York i slutningen af ​​1500'erne. I 1722 sluttede Tuscaroras sig til Iroquois Confederacy, som blev kendt som Six Nations.

Da konføderationen kæmpede mindre stammer for kontrol over det vestlige Virginia, satte europæiske kolonister deres egne designs på Ohio -dalen. Både briterne og franskmændene hævdede territorium omfattende nutidens West Virginia og indianere blev tvunget vestpå. Mange af stammerne blev ødelagt af konstant krigsførelse og europæiske sygdomme. Samtidig viste handel med europæerne sig en stærk tiltrækningskraft, der gjorde det muligt for indianerne at erhverve værdifulde nye produkter, såsom kanoner, stålsække, klud og kedler. Især pelshandlen gjorde mange stammer stærke og mere aggressive. De indiske nationer spillede med succes en europæisk magt mod en anden. For eksempel dannede briterne en alliance med Iroquois Confederacy for at skære franskmændene ud af den lukrative pelshandel. Seks nationer forhandlede imidlertid også traktater og handlede med franskmændene. Til sidst blev de indianerstammer dog næsten universelt tvunget fra deres lande til områder længere vest.


West Virginia historie

Denne illustrerede artikel giver interessante fakta, oplysninger og en historisk tidslinje for indianerne i West Virginia.

Klimaet, jorden, historien, miljøet og naturressourcerne, der var til rådighed for de indfødte indianerstammer i West Virginia, resulterede i vedtagelsen af ​​Northeast Woodlands -kulturen.

West Virginia indianeres historie
Faktorer, der har bidraget til statens historie, er detaljeret i historikens tidslinje. Historiens tidslinje viser de nytilkomnes indflydelse på staten.

Stenalderhistorie i West Virginia
De amerikanske indianere, der boede i den nuværende del af West Virginia, førte en levetid i stenalderen - de havde kun stenværktøjer og våben, havde aldrig set en hest og havde ikke kendskab til hjulet. West Virginia -indianernes historie er detaljeret i denne artikel.

Statskort over West Virginia

Statskort, der viser placeringen af ​​West Virginia -indianere

Navne på indianerstammerne i West Virginia
Der er mange berømte indianerstammer, der spillede en rolle i statens historie, og hvis stammeterritorier og hjemlande er beliggende i den nuværende delstat West Virginia. Navnene på West Virginia -stammerne omfattede Cherokee, Iroquois, Manahoac, Meherrin, Monacan, Nottaway, Occaneechi, Saponi og Shawnee.

  • Statens navn: West Virginia
  • Betydning af statsnavn: Opkaldt efter dronning Elizabeth I af England - & quot Virgin Virgin & quot
  • Geografi, miljø og karakteristika ved staten West Virginia: Bjerge og plateauområder
  • Kultur vedtaget af West Virginia Indians: Northeast Woodlands Cultural Group
  • Sprog: Iroquoian og Algonquian
  • Livsstil (livsstil): Jæger-samlere, landmænd, fiskere, fangere
  • Boligtyper, boliger eller krisecentre: Wigwams (aka Birchbark huse)

Historie Tidslinje for West Virginia -indianerne
West Virginia -indianernes historie og livsstil blev dybt påvirket af tilflyttere i området. Det oprindelige folk havde besat landet tusinder af år, før de første europæiske opdagelsesrejsende ankom. Europæerne bragte nye ideer, skikke, religioner, våben, transport (hesten og hjulet), husdyr (kvæg og får) og sygdom med sig, som i høj grad påvirkede indianernes historie. For en omfattende historie tidslinje vedrørende de tidlige bosættere og kolonister henvises til kolonial Amerika tid. Statens og dens indianernes indianeres historie er detaljeret i en simpel historie -tidslinje. Denne tidslinje i West Virginia Indian History indeholder en liste med detaljer om datoer for konflikter, krige og kampe, der involverer indianere fra West Virginia og deres historie. Vi har også detaljeret større begivenheder i amerikansk historie, som påvirkede West Virginia indianernes historie.

West Virginia History tidslinje

Historie Tidslinje for indianerne i West Virginia

10.000 f.Kr. Paleo-indisk æra (stenalderkultur) de tidligste menneskelige indbyggere i Amerika, der boede i huler og var nomadiske jægere af storvildt, herunder den store mammut og kæmpe bison.

7000 f.Kr.: Arkaisk periode, hvor folk byggede grundlæggende krisecentre og lavede stenvåben og stenværktøjer

1000 e.Kr.: Skovperiode - boliger blev etableret langs floder og handelsbytte systemer og begravelsessystemer blev etableret

1 614 : 1614 Voldelig konfrontation mellem hundredvis af engelske og Powhatan -mænd på Pamunkey -floden, Virginia - se Powhatan

1622: 1622-1624 Powhatan-krige, kampe og konflikter i Virginia mellem kolonister og amerikanske indianere

168 8 : 1688 - 1763 De franske og indiske krige mellem Frankrig og Storbritannien for landområder i Nordamerika bestående af kong William's War (1688-1699), Queen Anne's War (1702-1713), King George's War (1744 - 1748) og franskmændene og Indisk krig aka syvårskrigen (1754-1763)

1758 : Anglo-Cherokee-krigen (1758-1761)-Cherokee-oprøret i nutidens Tennessee, Virginia og Carolinas

1774: Lord Dunmore's War. Guvernør Dunmore befalede en styrke til at besejre Shawnee, Virginia, Pennsylvania og Ohio, ned ad Ohio -floden.

1754: 1754 - 1763: Den franske indiske krig vandt af Storbritannien mod franskmændene, så enden med konflikterne kendt som de franske og indiske krige

1763: Paris -traktaten

1775: 1775 - 1783 - Den amerikanske revolution.

1776: 4. juli 1776 - USA's uafhængighedserklæring

1803: USA købte Louisiana Territory fra Frankrig for 15 millioner dollars for jorden

1812: 1812 - 1815: Krigen i 1812 mellem USA og Storbritannien endte i et dødvande, men bekræftede Amerikas uafhængighed

18 30 : Indisk fjernelseslov

18 32 : Institut for Indiske Anliggender oprettet

1861: 1861 - 1865: Den amerikanske borgerkrig.

18 62 : Den amerikanske kongres vedtager Homestead Act, der åbner Great Plains til nybyggere

1865: Overgivelsen af ​​Robert E. Lee den 9. april 1865 signalerede slutningen af ​​konføderationen

1887 : Dawes General Allotment Act vedtaget af kongressen fører til brud på de store indiske reservationer og salg af indiske jorder til hvide nybyggere

1969: Alle indianere erklærede borgere i USA

1979: American Indian Religious Freedom Act blev vedtaget

Historie Tidslinje for indianerne i West Virginia

State of West Virginia History Tidslinje

West Virginia indianeres historie - ødelæggelse og tilbagegang
Historien om den europæiske invasion medførte epidemiske sygdomme som tuberkulose, kolera, influenza, mæslinger og kopper. Indianerne i West Virginia havde ikke udviklet immuniteter mod disse sygdomme, hvilket resulterede i store tab i befolkningen. Udnyttelse, herunder gearing af skatter, tvangsarbejde og slaveri var en del af deres historie og tog deres vejafgift på indianerne i West Virginia.


Del West Virginia historie

Skriftlige optegnelser over West Virginia's historie når kun lidt mere end 300 år tilbage, hvoraf cirka halvdelen omfatter den tid, da West Virginia var en del af Virginia. Den registrerede historie er imidlertid kun et fragment af West Virginia -historien og skal kobles med artefakter fra forudgående mennesker og andre beviser, der falder inden for geologi, geografi og arkæologi.

Stadig tydeligt efter cirka 245 millioner år er virkningerne på West Virginia af en stor geologisk forstyrrelse, en bjergbygningstid, kendt som Appalachian Orogeny. På det tidspunkt blev gulvet i en del af et stort indre hav, der dækkede meget af det indre af Nordamerika, tvunget opad for at skabe Appalachian Mountains. Med tiden gik det nye land ned til en stor peneplain, der vipper forsigtigt mod Mississippi -dalen. Naturkræfter, herunder erosion og vandløb, producerede til sidst et terræn præget af talrige dale, forrevne bakker og bjerge, der adskiller statens landskab den dag i dag. Enorme forekomster af kul, olie, naturgas, salt, kalksten og andre ressourcer, der er nedlagt i tidligere geologiske epoker, har været afgørende for det økonomiske liv i West Virginia i historisk tid. Istidens enorme gletsjere nåede aldrig det nuværende West Virginia, men de gjorde meget for at bestemme statens grundlæggende dræningsmønstre, især med hensyn til New, Ohio og en gang mægtige Teays-floder.

De første indbyggere i West Virginia stammer tilsyneladende fra '' Old Mongoloid '' bestand eller østasiater, der krydsede Bering -strædet fra Sibirien til Alaska for cirka 40.000 år siden. Gennem århundrederne udviklede indianere eller indianere sig gennem tre store kulturelle faser, herunder paleo-indiske, arkaiske og skovområder. Nomadisk paleo-indisk liv centreret om forfølgelsen af ​​store vildtdyr og varede, indtil disse dyr uddøde omkring 6000 f.Kr. Allerede i 7000 f.Kr. begyndte den arkaiske kultur at dukke op og fortsatte i løbet af de næste 6000 år. En mere pålidelig fødevareforsyning, der omfattede småvildt, fisk, rødder, planter og bær gjorde det muligt for det arkaiske folk at bo i lejre, ofte i lange perioder. Woodland Cultures, herunder Adena, Hopewell og Mississippian, udviklede sig mellem omkring 1000 f.Kr. og A.D. 1700 og var blandt de mest avancerede i forhistorisk West Virginia. Skovindianere dyrkede sådanne planter som majs, bønner og squash, lavede keramik og dyrkede begravelsesceremonialisme. De efterlod hundredvis af høje og andre strukturer spredt ud over West Virginia. Blandt de mest kendte er Grave Creek Mound ved Moundsville, South Charleston-Dunbar høje, Bens Run jordværker i Tyler County og Mount Carbon klippevægge i Fayette County.

De første europæiske opdagelsesrejsende fandt kun få indfødte i det nuværende West Virginia. Da havde indianerne dannet sig til stammer, og krigsførelse var almindelig. To af de mest magtfulde grupper i det østlige USA var Iroquois og Cherokee, som begge gjorde krav på dele af West Virginia. De tvang sandsynligvis svagere stammer, herunder Shawnee, Mingo og andre, til at opgive det meste af staten.

I 1606 tildelte kong James I af England Virginia Company of London et stort landområde, der omfattede hele Virginia, nuværende West Virginia og Kentucky, samt dele af North Carolina, Delaware, Pennsylvania og endda New York. De første engelske nybyggere ankom til Jamestown i 1607. I løbet af 1600-tallet ankom hvide nybyggere såvel som afrikanere til Virginia i stadig større antal. Efterhånden som bosættelser skubbede op ad floderne i Tidewater, blev indfødte fordringer i landet mere og mere urolige. I 1622 og 1644 brød sammenstød mellem engelske nybyggere og indianerne ud i blodige krige med frygtelige tab og skabte forhold, der gjorde vestlig efterforskning farlig. Interessen for at rykke ind i grænseregioner aftog efter henrettelsen af ​​Charles I og oprettelsen af ​​rigsfællesskabet under Oliver Cromwell, men den genoplivede efter Charles II's tronbestigning i 1660.

Mellem 1669 og 1673 fandt der en stigning i udforskning af grænser sted. Vigtige opdagelsesrejsende omfattede John Lederer, der skalerede Blue Ridge Mountains nordvest for det nuværende Charlottesville, Virginia Batts og Fallam, der opdagede det veststrømmende vand i New River og lagde grundlaget for engelske krav til Ohio Valley og Needham og Arthur, the sidstnævnte den første person af europæisk afstamning, der besøgte Kanawha -dalen. Efter 1675 led engelsk ekspansion tilbageslag dels på grund af problemer med Susquehannock -indianerne, til Bacons oprør i Virginia og til døden i 1680 af Abraham Wood, en førende promotor.

Fornyet interesse for Virginia -grænsen udviklede sig først efter begyndelsen af ​​1700 -tallet. På det tidspunkt var jord, der var egnet til bosættelse, blevet en af ​​de vigtigste grunde til efterforskning. De første kendte planer for en bosættelse i det nuværende West Virginia blev lavet af Louis Michel, bosiddende i Bern, Schweiz, der i 1706 forestillede sig en løsning på nuværende Harpers Ferry. Et senere forsøg fra Michel og baron Christopher de Graffenreid blev opgivet på grund af indvendinger fra Conestoga -indianerne og de modstridende krav til regionen fra Virginia, Pennsylvania og Maryland. I 1716 krydsede guvernør Alexander Spotswood fra Virginia med omkring 50 herrer senere '' Knights of the Golden Horseshoe '', deres tjenere og indiske guider krydsede Blue Ridge Mountains ved hjælp af Swift Run Gap. Stående på bredden af ​​Shenandoah -floden, gjorde Spotswood krav på jorden for England.

Placeringen og datoen for den første bosættelse i West Virginia er usikker. Et forlig kendt som '' Potomoke '' i 1717 kan have været i Shepherdstown. Morgan Morgan, en walisisk immigrant, er imidlertid ofte blevet krediteret for at have foretaget den første bosættelse i staten nær Bunker Hill, Berkeley County, omkring 1731. Det vides nu, at Morgan ankom omkring 1731, og at nybyggere allerede var i det nuværende West Virginia. Uanset placeringen af ​​den første bosættelse er det klart, at et stort antal immigranter først ankom efter 1730, da Virginia vedtog en jordlov, der tilskyndede til bevægelse af mennesker vestpå. I henhold til loven kunne spekulanter erhverve 1.000 acres for hver familie, de rekrutterede uden for kolonien inden for en periode på to år. Denne generøse politik tiltrak et stort antal tyske og skotsk-irske nybyggere, og i 1750 havde befolkningen i Virginia-dalen nået et mætningspunkt. I 1719 blev en af ​​de største jordtilskud i amerikansk historie erhvervet af Thomas, Sixth Lord Fairfax. Fairfax -ejendommen omfattede Northern Neck of Virginia og nuværende Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, Hampshire, Hardy og Mineral amter samt dele af Grant og Tucker amter i West Virginia.

Da nybyggere krydsede Allegheny -bjergene, udviklede alvorlige konflikter om Ohio -dalen sig mellem England og Frankrig. For at presse hendes krav til regionen og oprette en buffer mellem bosættelser og fjendtlige indianere brugte Virginia den samme landpolitik, der havde vist sig effektiv i Virginia -dalen. Spekulanter fik imidlertid nu lov til tre år at bosætte det krævede antal familier. De største tilskud blev givet til Greenbrier-, Loyal- og Ohio -virksomhederne. I mellemtiden hævdede Frankrig kraftigt sine krav til Ohio -dalen. I 1749 førte Celoron de Blainville en ekspedition ned ad Ohio -floden og på steder undervejs begravede blyplader med indskrifter, der hævdede Ohio -dalen for sit land. I årene umiddelbart efter byggede franskmændene centrale forter i den omtvistede region. I sammenstødet mellem engelske og franske interesser var Western Virginia i centrum af stormen. I 1753 sendte guvernør Robert Dinwiddie, fast besluttet på at blokere fransk ekspansion i Ohio-dalen, den 21-årige George Washington med en besked til den franske kommandant ved Fort Le Boeuf nær Lake Erie. Dinwiddie hævdede, at franskmændene trængte ind på britisk jord og forlangte, at de trak sig tilbage. Franskmændene gjorde det klart, at de ville blive ved. På det tidspunkt opfattede den unge jomfrudyrker, at besiddelse af Forks of the Ohio, nuværende Pittsburgh, indeholdt nøglen til kontrol over Ohio -dalen.

Efter Washingtons råd sendte Dinwiddie en arbejdsgruppe til at opføre et fort på dette sted. I april 1754 tog Washington med 150 militsfolk ud for at garnisonere det nye fort. I mellemtiden havde en stor fransk styrke beslaglagt gaflerne i Ohio. I de efterfølgende trefninger drev franskmændene jomfruerne fra regionen. I 1755 ankom general Edward Braddock på anmodning af guvernør Dinwiddie til Virginia med to regimenter af britiske tropper. Hans komme forvandlede en grænsekonflikt til en krig mellem to store imperier. Ukendt med grænsekampe marcherede Braddock sin hær i et baghold, og hans tropper blev besejret i slaget ved Monongahela.

Sammenstødene mellem briterne og franskmændene ved Ohio Forks var de første fjendtligheder i konflikten kendt i amerikansk historie som den franske og indiske krig og i andre dele af verden, som den spredte sig til som syvårskrigen. Krigen markerede begyndelsen på en 40-årig periode, hvor sulten efter land og en optagethed af grænseforsvar satte tonen for West Virginia-anliggender. Ohio -dalen forblev et af krigens strategiske teatre.

Fra begyndelsen favoriserede de fleste indianere nordvest for Ohio -floden Frankrig, hvis interesser i pelshandel udgjorde en lille trussel mod indisk land eller livsstil. På den anden side var engelske bosættelser og landbrugsforfølgelser en fare, der skal modstås. I det vestlige Virginia ødelagde fjendtlige indianere Greenbrier -bosættelserne og angreb gentagne gange de øvre Potomac -nybyggere. Ophavelsen af ​​Forks of Ohio af general John Forbes i 1758 og opførelsen af ​​Fort Pitt hjalp med at vende krigens tidevand til fordel for englænderne. I 1759 kontrollerede England centrale positioner i Nordamerika, og i 1763 stoppede Paris -traktaten kampene. Frankrig mistede Ohio -dalen og resten af ​​hendes koloniale besiddelser på det nordamerikanske fastland. Der var aldrig nogen tvivl om, at engelsk kultur ville være dominerende i det vestlige Virginia.

Vestindiske stammer, frygtelige og forbitrede, sluttede sig sammen under Chief Pontiac og slog hurtigt til englænderne. Greenbrier -bosættelserne blev igen ødelagt, og nybyggere i Monongahela -dalen og andre områder led store tab. I et forsøg på at blidgøre indianerne udsendte den britiske regering proklamationen fra 1763, som forbød bosættelser vest for toppen af ​​Allegheny -bjergene. Senere, ved traktaterne om hårdt arbejde, Fort Stanwix og Lochaber, opgav Iroquois og Cherokee deres krav til landområder i West Virginia. Fra 1769 fejede bølger af pionerer ind i de øvre Ohio-, Monongahela-, Greenbrier- og Kanawha -dale.

Traktaterne undlod imidlertid at overveje påstande fra sådanne stammer som Shawnee, Delaware og Mingo. Endnu en gang skræmte en tilstrømning af spekulanter og nye bosættere de vestlige stammer og fremkaldte i begyndelsen af ​​1770'erne en ny omgang fjendtligheder. Den mest alvorlige var Dunmore's War. I sin eneste kamp, ​​der blev udkæmpet på Point Pleasant den 10. oktober 1774, besejrede Virginians, ledet af Andrew Lewis, indianerne under Shawnee Chief Cornstalk. Traktaten om Camp Charlotte genoprettede freden. Slaget ved Point Pleasant var en afgørende faktor for indianernes neutralitet i løbet af de første to år af den amerikanske revolution og tillod fortsættelse af bosættelser i det vestlige Virginia og Kentucky.

Selvom vestlige jomfruer deltog i næsten alle større slag i revolutionskrigen, var krigen for de fleste familier en fortsættelse af fjendtlighederne med indianerne, der nu havde britisk støtte. I 1777 brød indianerne deres neutralitet og angreb Fort Henry ved Wheeling. Indiske razziaer blev igen almindelige i det meste af det vestlige Virginia og fortsatte, selv efter at briterne overgav sig ved Yorktown i 1781. Det sidste vigtige revolutionskrigsengagement i Vest -Virginia fandt sted i 1782, da omkring 200 indianere belejrede Fort Henry. Sammenstød fortsatte indtil 1794, hvor general Anthony Wayne besejrede indianerne i slaget ved Fallen Timbers og tvang dem til at opgive deres krav til landområder syd for Ohio -floden.

På tærsklen til revolutionen udvidede ivrige spekulanter deres horisont. De foreslog en ambitiøs plan for en 14. amerikanske koloni kendt som Vandalia, som omfattede det meste af det nuværende West Virginia, det sydvestlige Pennsylvania og dele af Kentucky. The war prevented the establishment of the colony, and its promoters later attempted to gain approval for a 14th state known as Westsylvania. Congress, however, rejected the plan, and Western Virginia remained a part of Virginia.

In 1779, the Virginia general assembly passed a land law that had far-reaching effects upon West Virginia, even to the present. The law recognized the rights of original settlers. It also permitted the buying and selling of certificates that enabled speculators, many of whom were from outside West Virginia, to acquire hundreds of thousands of acres of land. Unfortunately, the law did not require land to be surveyed before its transfer. As a result, land claims were often imprecise and provided lawyers with a profitable business for decades in resolving disputes. Among the most baneful effects of the law on the state were the emergence of an enduring system of absentee landownership and arrested economic growth.

Until nearly the end of the 19th century, when large-scale industry became important, most West Virginians depended upon subsistence farming for their livelihood. Families continued to rely upon their fields and the forests for products commonly used in their foods, shelter, and clothing. Early industries, including grain milling and textile manufacturing, were often farm-related.

The War of 1812 stimulated industrial development, especially salt and iron. The Kanawha Salines at present Malden became by far the most important salt-producing center in the region. By 1815, 52 salt furnaces were operating along the Kanawha River for a distance of ten miles east of Charleston. Competition among salt-makers was so keen that in 1817 they organized the Kanawha Salt Company, sometimes regarded as the first trust in American history. Production in the Kanawha Valley peaked in 1846 when 3,224,786 bushels were produced. Salt stimulated the growth of timbering, flatboat construction, barrel making, and coal mining. The first iron furnace in Western Virginia was established by Thomas Mayberry at Bloomery near Harpers Ferry in 1742. The Peter Tarr Furnace on Kings Creek near Weirton, the first iron furnace west of the mountains, was erected in 1794. Later, the Wheeling area and the Monongahela Valley became the most important centers of iron manufacturing in West Virginia.

On the eve of the Civil War, Burning Springs in Wirt County emerged as one of the foremost oil fields in the United States. Natural gas, often found in the same locations as oil, had little importance before the war. During the 1840s, however, William Tompkins, a Kanawha Valley salt-maker, experimented with gas in the operation of his salt wells.

A growing population and expanding industries led to significant developments in transportation. The National Road, the first major highway in the region, was completed by the federal government from Cumberland, Maryland, to Wheeling in 1818. The highway helped to transform Wheeling into a major industrial and commercial center in the upper Ohio Valley. Three roads completed by Virginia before the Civil War included the James River & Kanawha Turnpike, the Northwestern Turnpike, and the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike. These highways stimulated economic development and promoted the growth of numerous new towns.

Although flatboats and keel boats were commonly used, the steamboat soon became the most important craft on Western Virginia’s rivers. James Rumsey, a resident of Shepherdstown, was one of the pioneers in the development of the steamboat. Construction of steamboats for western rivers quickly became an important industry along the upper Ohio. Det George Washington, launched by Capt. Henry M. Shreve at Wheeling in 1816, demonstrated that the steamboat had an important future on the inland waterways. Steamboats made river improvements imperative. In the 1850s, the Coal River Navigation Company, with funds provided by coal companies and the state, built nine locks and dams, the first such facilities in Western Virginia.

By the 1830s, interest in transportation in the United States began to shift to railroads. The first major line in Western Virginia, the Baltimore & Ohio, was completed from Harpers Ferry to Wheeling in 1853. The only other important line in Western Virginia before the Civil War was the Northwestern Virginia Railroad, opened in 1857 from Grafton to Parkersburg.

In the early 19th century, sectionalism began to appear in Virginia. The Blue Ridge and later the Allegheny Front marked a divide between eastern and western parts of the state. Differences between Virginians grew out of their cultural backgrounds, their divergent economic interests, and the overwhelming political influence of Tidewater and Piedmont planters. Friction between the sections intensified over such political issues as expanding the vote, representation in the legislature, and popular election of state and county officials. Ironically, the Virginia constitution of 1776, crafted by leaders who proclaimed devotion to democracy, had a granite-like quality that assured the unassailability of eastern supremacy in state affairs.

Western dissatisfaction led to several attempts to reform the state constitution. The Staunton conventions of 1816 and 1825 and the Constitutional Convention of 1829–30 failed to meet western demands. Some western leaders favored separation from Virginia. The convention of 1850–51 made changes that addressed the political sources of western discontent. Under the new constitution a westerner, Joseph Johnson of Bridgeport, became the first popularly elected governor of Virginia. These successes, however, were overshadowed by economic inequities. The new constitution shifted the tax burden to the west by requiring that all property, except slaves, be taxed at its actual value, and it contained provisions that dealt severe blows to internal improvements favored by the west. Old rivalries between east and west were soon renewed.

In the three decades before the Civil War, slavery was increasingly an issue in the United States. Two prominent Western Virginians took a strong stand on slavery. Henry Ruffner, a Kanawha Countian who served as president of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University), published the Ruffner Pamphlet in which he attacked slavery as an evil that kept immigrants out of Virginia, slowed economic development, and hampered education. He urged gradual emancipation of all slaves west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Alexander Campbell, a founder of the Disciples of Christ and president of Bethany College, contended, however, that the North should accept slavery in the South. He supported the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 but believed that runaway slaves should be provided the necessities of food, shelter, and clothing. As tensions over slavery mounted, several churches divided over the issue. The Methodists, who split in 1844, included most of Western Virginia in their northern branch.

Some well-known abolitionists regarded Western Virginia as useful to their cause. In 1857, Eli Thayer of Massachusetts chose Ceredo for a settlement by 500 New England emigrants who were expected to demonstrate to Southerners that free labor was superior to slave labor. The Civil War led to the collapse of the experiment, and when the conflict ended only about 125 of the original settlers were left. Unlike Thayer’s friendly invasion, abolitionist John Brown in 1859 led a bold raid on Harpers Ferry so alarming to the South that some historians believe it made the Civil War inevitable.

The election of Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860 exacerbated feelings that led to the Civil War and ultimately to the formation of West Virginia. Following the fall of Fort Sumter and Lincoln’s call for volunteers, Virginia held a convention in April 1861 to consider a course of action. The convention voted 88 to 55 to leave the Union. Of 47 delegates from present-day West Virginia, 32 voted against secession, 11 favored it, and four did not vote. John S. Carlile and other Unionist delegates hurried home and organized opposition to Virginia’s decision. As a result of their efforts, 37 counties sent delegates to a meeting in May known as the First Wheeling Convention. There, Carlile urged immediate steps to establish a new state. Other leaders, including Waitman T. Willey, Francis Harrison Pierpont, and John J. Jackson, preferred to postpone action.

In June 1861, the Second Wheeling Convention established the Reorganized, or Restored, Government of Virginia at Wheeling. Francis H. Pierpont was chosen governor, and Willey and Carlile were named to the U.S. Senate to replace Virginia’s senators who had cast their lot with the Confederacy. Throughout the Civil War, Virginia had two governments. The Wheeling government supported the Union, and the Richmond government the Confederacy. In August, the Second Wheeling Convention, in its Adjourned Session, took steps to establish a separate state, subject to the approval of voters. On October 24, 1861, the voters of 41 counties approved the formation of a new state and on the same day elected delegates to a constitutional convention, although less than 37 percent of those eligible to vote actually did so. The constitution prepared by the convention was approved by the voters in April 1862, with the vote taken in unsettled conditions.

In order to become a state, West Virginia needed the approval of Virginia and a constitution acceptable to the Congress and the president. Since the Confederate government in Richmond would never agree to the dismemberment of Virginia, leaders of the proposed new state turned to the Reorganized Government. Governor Pierpont called a special session of the legislature that approved the request within a week. His role in establishing the state was so crucial that he is regarded as the ‘‘Father of West Virginia.’’

In the U.S. Senate, a petition that would allow West Virginia to enter the Union as a slave state was referred to the Committee on Territories, of which Carlile was a member. Unexpectedly, for reasons on which historians have disagreed, Carlile, who had previously favored creation of a new state, now included proposals that nearly destroyed the chances for statehood. At this critical moment, Willey offered a compromise to gradually abolish slavery in West Virginia. With the Willey Amendment to the state constitution, the statehood bill passed both houses of Congress. The West Virginia Constitutional Convention reconvened in February 1863 and accepted the Willey Amendment. The amended constitution was approved by the electorate in a vote of 28,321 to 572. In accordance with a proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln, West Virginia entered the Union on June 20, 1863, as the 35th state.

When West Virginia became a state, the Civil War had already been raging within its borders for two years and had deepened the divisions among the state’s people. Historians do not agree on exactly how many West Virginians served in Union and Confederate armies. Charles H. Ambler and Festus P. Summers estimated that from 25,000 to 45,000 West Virginians fought in the Civil War, about 80 percent for the Union and about 20 percent for the Confederacy. More recent estimates place the number of Union soldiers at no more than 60 percent and Confederates at about 40 percent. Boyd B. Stutler, in his Civil War in West Virginia, counted 632 actions, including battles, skirmishes, and other engagements in West Virginia.

The year 1861 was one of intense military activity. The Battle of Philippi on June 3 is sometimes regarded as the first land battle of the Civil War. Before the end of summer, Union forces controlled both the Monongahela and Kanawha valleys. A Union victory at Carnifex Ferry in September 1861 prevented the Confederates from driving a wedge between the two federal forces. Later, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s efforts to regain lost territory ended in failure at the Battle of Cheat Mountain. By the winter of 1861–62, much of the military activity in West Virginia had degenerated into vicious guerrilla warfare involving such irregular bands as the Black Striped Company in Logan County and the Moccasin Rangers in Braxton, Nicholas, and other central counties. Some of the most notable military actions of 1862 and 1863 were in the form of daring Confederate raids into Union-held territory. They included the Jenkins Raid of 1862 and the Jones-Imboden Raid of 1863. The Battle of Droop Mountain on November 6, 1863, gave Union forces control over most of the territory of the new state of West Virginia.

The Reconstruction Era was hardly less traumatic than the Civil War. Divisions existed not only between Unionists and former Confederates, but also among the Unionists themselves. Unconditional Unionists, including Arthur I. Boreman, Archibald W. Campbell, and Waitman T. Willey, were willing to accept the emancipation of slaves and increased federal authority in order to maintain statehood. Conservative Unionists, however, adamantly opposed a government they considered dictatorial and abolitionist.

Fearful for the state’s future, Governor Boreman and Radical Republican leaders who dominated the legislature were determined to prevent former Confederates, most of whom were Democrats, from regaining political power. Repressive legislation provided for confiscation of the property of persons regarded as enemies of the state. The Radical- dominated legislature also enacted the Voters’ Test Oaths of 1865 and the Voters’ Registration Law of 1866. These measures restricted the right to vote and required state and local officials, as well as attorneys and school teachers, to take oaths of allegiance to West Virginia and the United States. Estimates of the number of disfranchised voters range from 15,000 to 25,000. By the end of the 1860s, the anomaly of these stern proscriptions at a time when the federal government was assiduously protecting the voting rights of African-Americans led to calls for change. In 1871, moderate Republicans joined with Democrats to pass the Flick Amendment to the state constitution, which ended political restrictions on ex-Confederates in West Virginia. Voters approved the amendment by a margin of more than three to one.

In 1870, the Democratic Party carried the West Virginia elections. The governorship of John J. Jacob initiated a period of Democratic control that lasted 26 years. Democrats immediately took steps to provide the state with a new frame of government. A convention assembled in Charleston and wrote the constitution of 1872, under which the state is still governed. The new constitution eliminated the township system and implemented a modified county court system. It extended the term of office of the governor from two to four years. From time to time voters have declined to authorize a new convention to modernize the state constitution. However, they have endeavored to retain the workability of a somewhat antiquated document by approving 70 of 118 proposed amendments.

One of the most sagacious and farsighted provisions of the original constitution of 1863 was its mandate to the legislature to provide a ‘‘thorough and efficient’’ system of free public schools for all children in the state. The legislature created an administrative structure that included a state superintendent, county superintendents, and officials in townships, into which counties were divided for educational purposes. By 1870, the state had 2,270 schools, mostly with one room and one teacher. The constitution of 1872 retained the free school mandate. Some counties, nevertheless, faced lingering opposition to free schools largely because of objections to taxes needed for their support or to the free-school principle itself.

The development of West Virginia public schools in the last quarter of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century was similar to that of several southern and midwestern states. Important milestones were the designation of Marshall College (now Marshall University the state’s normal training school for teachers in 1867 and the establishment of branch normals at Fairmont, Athens, Shepherdstown, Glenville, and West Liberty in the 1870s the assignment of training for black teachers to the two ‘‘colored institutes’’ the enactment of a compulsory attendance law in 1903 and the opening of 233 high schools by 1925 and 88 junior high schools by 1928. West Virginia pioneered the adoption of a graduating plan for public schools, formulated by Alexander L. Wade of Monongalia County. Beginning in the 1890s, it gradually became the pattern throughout the United States. With the adoption of the County Unit Plan of 1933, providing countywide rather than district school boards, West Virginia again led the nation in a major educational reform. During the 20th century, public schools were strongly influenced by the progressive education movement, whose leaders gained control of the educational administrative machinery at the state level and achieved power that lasted throughout the century.

As in other states, West Virginia education has been shaped to a considerable extent by federal policy and federal support. Under the terms of the Morrill Act, West Virginia University was founded in 1867 as the state’s land-grant institution. The GI Bill of Rights of 1944 provided generous educational benefits to thousands of World War II veterans and improved the financial condition of nearly every college in the state. Segregation of West Virginia schools, mandated by the state constitution, was ended by the U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954). Unlike several southern states, West Virginia achieved integration with little opposition. Ongoing federal programs launched in the 1960s, including Upward Bound and Headstart, have done much to provide equal educational opportunities for children throughout the state. Some major issues in education at the turn of the 21st century include the pros and cons of school consolidation, and the impact of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. At the same time, like other Americans, West Virginians have serious concerns regarding a decline of discipline and an increasing violence in the public schools.

In celebrating the 50 years of statehood in 1913, West Virginians looked back with pride upon an era of unprecedented industrial development. The achievement was largely in extractive industries and based upon coal, oil, natural gas, and timber resources, which had lain dormant for millennia. In the late 19th century, state government, whether in the hands of Democrats or Republicans, endeavored to extirpate the bitterness wrought by the Civil War and Reconstruction and to establish a climate favorable to industrial growth. By 1913, annual coal production exceeded 28 million tons. The state achieved first place in the nation in oil production in 1898 and in natural gas output in 1906. Timber production reached its peak in 1909.

Closely associated with such expansion was the building of hundreds of miles of railroads, including the Chesapeake & Ohio, Norfolk & Western, Coal & Coke, Western Maryland, Virginian, and Kanawha & Michigan lines. Railroad magnates such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, J. P. Morgan, Collis P. Huntington, and others acquired vast acreages of West Virginia land and mineral resources. By the end of the 20th century, major West Virginia railroads, after numerous mergers, were incorporated into such giants as CSX and Norfolk Southern, two of the largest landholders in the state. Also vital to industrial growth was the construction of locks and dams in the Ohio, Kanawha, Monongahela, Big Sandy, and Little Kanawha rivers, their upgrading in the 1930s, and further improvements as the 20th century drew to a close.

By 1900, West Virginia was clearly on the threshold of major economic and demographic changes. The state still had some 93,000 farms. Nevertheless, migration from rural areas to cities, one of the dominant trends in the nation, was also in progress in West Virginia. By 1994, farm acreage was less than 35 percent of that of 1900. Most were commercial rather than subsistence farms. Three fourths of agricultural income came from livestock, including cattle and calves, poultry, and dairy products. Apples, peaches, and tobacco were important commercial crops.

By the late 1800s, rapidly expanding industries, especially coal, led to an acute need for labor, and both the state government and individual companies sent agents abroad to take advantage of the ‘‘New Immigration’’ from southern and eastern Europe. They recruited thousands of Italians, Poles, Hungarians, Austrians, and other nationalities, as well as African-Americans from the South. These ethnic groups added greater diversity to the state’s population and culture.

West Virginia’s rich resources and emerging extractive industries caught the attention of powerful business and financial interests outside the state. Many acquired large amounts of land for a small fraction of its real worth. State businessmen and politicians sometimes became allies of powerful non-resident interests whose activities left both benefits and problems. The new industrial age transformed much of the state from a society of small, independent farmers into one with a class-oriented social and economic structure of newly rich industrial barons at the apex and landless wage-earners at the bottom. Sizable amounts of West Virginia’s wealth left the state, and the land from which it was drawn fell under the heavy cloud of a colonial economy.

As extractive industries, particularly coal, gained a prominent place in the West Virginia economy during the first half-century of statehood, capital investment in manufacturing increased fourfold between 1870 and 1900. The Northern Panhandle, Ohio Valley, and Kanawha Valley became major manufacturing areas. Wheeling was the leading industrial city in the state throughout the 19th century. Other prominent industrial centers included Charleston, Parkersburg, Newell, Wellsburg, Benwood, New Cumberland, and Huntington.

World War I was a major stimulus to industry, especially the manufacture of chemicals. The federal government laid the basis for the industry in the Kanawha Valley by constructing a mustard gas plant at Belle and a smokeless powder plant at Nitro, where a community of 25,000 people sprang up almost overnight. Chemical firms in the Kanawha Valley expanded rapidly in the decades after 1920 and manufactured a great variety of new products, including rubber, plastics, rayon, nylon, and automotive antifreezes. World War II further accelerated the making of chemicals in West Virginia. The Kanawha Valley became one of the chemical centers of the world. By 1970, every Ohio River county except Jackson had at least one chemical plant.

During the first half of the 20th century, textile, clay-product, glass, and electric power industries grew rapidly. Hancock County manufactured fine chinaware. The state was a pioneer in the development and use of modern glass-making machinery, but it was also known throughout the world for its Fostoria and hand-blown Blenko, Fenton, and Pilgrim glass products. After 1940, electric power production increased by about 2,000 percent.

By the mid-20th century, mechanization, foreign competition, and emergence of a global economy contributed to fundamental changes in West Virginia industry. Many traditional industries experienced decline. Increasingly, the state was confronted with technological unemployment. Thousands of miners and other workers lost their jobs and left. The population fell from 2,005,552 in 1950 to 1,860,421 in 1960. Further losses occurred in the 1960s and 1980s. Scores of once-thriving mining towns lost so many families that they became ghost towns. In the 1990s, however, the state’s economy showed signs of improvement. Important growth areas included certain areas of manufacturing, such as the automobile and wood-based industries, as well as the service industries, and tourism and recreation. Investments by Japanese, Taiwanese, and British firms attested to an increasing globalization of the state economy. Service industries, including banking and insurance, real estate, and rapidly expanding health care, made up 68 percent of the gross state product. By 1996, the state’s improved economy seemed to be contributing to a reversal of nearly four decades of population losses. In 2010, the state’s population was 1,852,994.

Industrialization in West Virginia produced conditions conducive to an organized labor movement. As early as the 1820s, Wheeling had a sizable wage-earning class and a labor newspaper. A strong labor movement, however, did not develop until after the Civil War. The first important union was the Knights of Labor, founded in 1869. The Knights established a local organization at Paden City in 1877, and within a few years 16 others were founded in the state. The great railroad strike of 1877, the first nationwide industrial strike, began at Martinsburg and ended only by federal intervention. In 1880, the Knights of Labor supported an unsuccessful strike by miners at Hawks Nest in Fayette County. Following these and other setbacks, the union gradually declined.

In 1881, the American Federation of Labor, made up of crafts of skilled workers, was organized. It advocated an eight-hour day, six-day workweek, higher wages, and job safety and security. By 1914, the West Virginia Federation of Labor, which was affiliated with the national organization, included 152 local craft unions with 31,315 members. The union was especially strong among iron, steel, and tin workers transportation employees and glass workers. Wheeling had more than 40 percent of the union craft workers in the state. Wheeling, Fairmont, Clarksburg, Charleston, Hinton, Morgantown, and Parkersburg had central labor organizations made up of the craft unions.

The most powerful union in West Virginia has been the United Mine Workers of America. The union was formed in Columbus in 1890 and only gradually established itself in West Virginia. Only about half of state miners participated in a nationwide strike in 1894. Union membership declined in 1897 to a mere 206 workers. Between 1897 and 1902, the UMWA enlisted the support of well-known labor leaders from across the nation. They included Samuel Gompers, Eugene V. Debs, and Mary ‘‘Mother’’ Jones. Operators responded with court injunctions, yellow-dog contracts, blacklisting, and heavily armed mine guards. Nevertheless, in 1902 the union, with assistance from Jones, organized about 7,000 miners in the Kanawha Valley. For the next quarter-century, Mother Jones had a powerful influence with miners in West Virginia.

During the Mine Wars of the early 20th century, some of the most violent episodes in the state’s labor history occurred in the coalfields. In 1912–13, troubles erupted on Paint and Cabin creeks, tributaries of the Kanawha River, when operators refused to renew contracts with the union. Sporadic violence occurred at Mucklow and Holly Grove and caused Governor Glasscock to impose martial law. The strike ultimately ended when Governor Hatfield helped arrange a settlement.

The great demand for coal and a shortage of labor during World War I produced conditions in which the industry flourished, wages rose, and union membership increased. Between 1919 and 1921, UMWA efforts to unionize the mines of southern West Virginia, particularly in Logan and Mingo counties, were marked by incidents of unusual violence, including the Matewan Massacre, Sharples Massacre, and the Battle of Blair Mountain. Labor suffered major setbacks. By 1924, the UMWA had lost half its members in West Virginia and was nearly bankrupt. Collective bargaining, one of the union’s major goals, remained unachieved.

The Great Depression, beginning in 1929, proved a catalyst for fundamental political, economic, and social reforms in the United States. In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Democratic candidate for president, promised a ‘‘New Deal’’ in handling the nation’s extraordinary economic problems. The National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 ( NIRA ) gave workers benefits for which they had long battled. It offered an eight-hour workday, an end to yellow-dog contracts, and the right to collective bargaining. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that NIRA was unconstitutional, many parts of the act relating to labor were included in the Wagner Act of 1935.

Under the leadership of John L. Lewis, coal miners made rapid gains in the more benign political environment. The Appalachian Agreements eventually ended unfavorable wage scales, and in 1946 a Miners’ Welfare and Retirement Fund, one of the union’s most important goals, was established. During the 1940s, the UMWA reached the zenith of its political influence in West Virginia when its leaders persuaded Matthew Neely to give up his U.S. Senate seat to run for governor. After 1950, mechanization and automation in coal mining drastically reduced the number of miners and began a long-term and eventually dramatic decline in UMWA membership and influence in the state.

Historically, mining has been one of the most dangerous industries. Most miners died in individual accidents killing one or a few miners at a time, but major mine disasters occurred at Monongah in 1907, Eccles in 1914, Benwood in 1924, and Farmington in 1968. Another disaster, at Buffalo Creek in 1972, was the result of the collapse of a coal company dam in which 125 people were killed and 17 communities destroyed. The dangers of underground work outside the coal industry appeared in 1932 during the construction of the Hawks Nest Tunnel, which diverted waters of the New River to a hydroelectric plant. Scores of men died of silicosis that might have been prevented had the company taken the proper precautions.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the actions of both federal and state governments led to improved safety and working conditions. In 1969, the federal government recognized pneumoconiosis, or black lung, as an occupational disease and set up a fund to support afflicted miners. A year later, the state established a Black Lung Fund.

One of the most distinctive events in the state’s labor history occurred in the early 1980s when workers of the Weirton Steel Company purchased its properties and prevented the plant’s closing. For a time, the new company was the largest employee-owned business in the nation, before suffering serious setbacks at the end of the 20th century. Employee ownership ended when Weirton Steel was sold to the International Steel Group early in the 21st century.

Political affairs since 1863 have reflected both changes and continuities in life in West Virginia. In the years immediately following statehood, the state was profoundly affected by the problems and tensions of Reconstruction. Partisan politics agitated discussions regarding the location of a permanent state capital. Republicans favored Wheeling, their center of influence. Democrats wanted the capital in southern West Virginia, where their party was strong. In 1877, the matter was submitted to the voters, who chose Charleston over Clarksburg and Martinsburg as the permanent seat of government. The move was made in 1885.

In 1871, following the troubled eight years of Radical Reconstruction, the Democratic Party, augmented by disfranchised ex-Confederates and by Liberal Republicans, captured the governorship and the legislature. The so-called Bourbon Democrats often clung to the ideals of the rural South but promoted the development of industry, and their rule coincided with the beginnings of the industrial revolution in West Virginia.

Party labels in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are not always enlightening. Bourbon Democrats and conservative Republicans shared many of the same ideas and policies, and favored the development of the state’s resources. The political and business relationships between Henry Gassaway Davis, who had enormous power in the Democratic Party, and his son-in-law, Stephen B. Elkins, who after 1894 had similar control over Republican affairs, illustrate the degree to which politics was tied to industrial welfare and influenced by great industrial tycoons. Four governors—George W. Atkinson, Albert B. White, William M. O. Dawson, and William E. Glasscock—are commonly known as ‘‘Elkins governors.’’ Relations between West Virginia industrialists and those on the national scene often brought temporary prosperity and opportunities but in the long run helped move the state toward economic dependency.

Concerns over unbridled industrial exploitation of both natural and human resources, as well as government neglect of many vital services, helped set the stage for the Progressive Movement in West Virginia. From 1900 to 1920, progressive ideals were at the center of state affairs. Although the movement transcended party lines, the greatest gains were made during the tenure of the Republican governors, particularly Henry D. Hatfield. One student of the period observed that at the end of the Hatfield administration West Virginia had as much progressive legislation as any state in the nation. Except for the Cornwell administration (1917–21), Republicans continued to control the governorship until 1933.

Like many other Americans, West Virginians were beguiled by the prosperity of the 1920s. In 1924, when John William Davis of Clarksburg received the Democratic nomination for president of the United States, West Virginia nonetheless gave its electoral votes to incumbent Republican Calvin Coolidge, whom they associated with the good times. Republican administrations in West Virginia during the 1920s were conservative, and the laissez-faire philosophy of government and economic affairs was the order of the day.

The Great Depression brought wide-scale unemployment, with thousands of people reduced to penury, and proved to be a watershed in American and West Virginia history. Laissez-faire doctrines fell before the activist philosophy of Roosevelt’s New Deal, which projected an expanded role for government in economic, social, and cultural matters and allowed the Democratic Party to regain control over national and state affairs. The New Deal and the measures taken by Governor Kump and the legislature brought new hope to economically distressed West Virginians. Through such agencies as the National Industrial Recovery Administration, Works Progress Administration, Public Works Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps, National Youth Administration, and others, unemployment diminished and the economy improved. The easing of the Great Depression paved the way in West Virginia for a new Democratic era that continued into the 21st century. The period following World War II witnessed troubling new economic problems in West Virginia. The unsettled conditions, along with the popularity of Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, interrupted Democratic trends in the state and helped Republican Cecil Underwood capture the governorship in 1956.

While state politics have normally had little impact on the rest of the nation, the West Virginia primary of 1960 attracted national interest when it became a battleground between John F. Kennedy and Hubert H. Humphrey for the Democratic nomination for president. Kennedy’s landslide victory in West Virginia proved to be a turning point in his campaign for the presidency.

During the 1960s, policies of the federal government exerted major impact upon conditions in West Virginia. President Kennedy’s New Frontier and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty pumped millions of federal dollars into the state. Among the most important new federal agencies was the Appalachian Regional Commission ( ARC ), established in 1965. Although it helped develop health-care centers, and supported vocational training, erosion control, and other projects, four-fifths of the ARC budget was devoted to construction of highways. At the close of the 20th century, more than 300 miles of Appalachian Corridor highways had been completed in the state.

Since the 1960s, one of the most significant changes in West Virginia government has been the emergence of a strong chief executive. The Modern Budget Amendment of 1968 made the governor responsible for preparation of the state budget. In 1970, the Governor’s Succession Amendment permitted a governor to serve two consecutive terms. These amendments have led to a sharp increase in the influence and prestige of the governorship. Unlike other branches of state government, which have been dominated by Democrats, the governor’s office since 1968 has alternated between Republicans and Democrats.

Leaders in both parties were deeply concerned about the condition of the state’s economy. Economic improvements were sometimes made at high costs to the environment, and government officials sought ways to balance economic gains against environmental concerns. One controversial issue was strip mining, which liberals maintained must either be abolished or strictly regulated. Young John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, who came to rural Kanawha County as a social worker in the 1960s, endeared himself to liberals by boldly advocating the abolition of strip mining. Following the energy crisis of 1973 and his election to the governorship, Rockefeller became a proponent of regulation rather than abolition. By the early 1990s, continued complaints over the destructive practices of coal operators led to threats by the federal government to take over regulation of surface mining in West Virginia. The actions of Governor Gaston Caperton and the legislature, which appropriated more funding for the employment of additional state inspectors, averted federal actions. By the late 1990s, mountaintop removal, the most profitable and arguably the most damaging form of surface mining, had become common and led to sharp public debate.

Public demands for greater access to education, health care, and other services produced rapid growth in both the size and costs of state government. In an effort to streamline administration, Governor Caperton reorganized the executive branch under seven ‘‘super secretaries,’’ each responsible for several formerly separate agencies. His action, however, aroused criticism that another layer of expensive bureaucracy had been established.

In recent decades the state’s governors, congressional representation, and other officials have made concerted efforts to promote economic development, including foreign investments. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, known nationally as an authority on Senate history and the U.S. Constitution, won federal appropriations in excess of $1 billion and brought numerous federal projects and facilities to West Virginia. By the mid-1990s, the state’s economy bore signs of improvement although some ground was later lost in the recession that followed the national boom of the late 1990s. Between 1988 and 1997, the state budget more than doubled, rising from about $3.3 billion to approximately $7 billion.

As the 20th century slipped away, West Virginians could reflect upon the great changes that it had brought. The automobile, radio, motion pictures, television, computers, and other inventions had opened vistas little dreamed of when the century began. It had brought new opportunities for education and self-fulfillment, recognition of human rights for all people, and ever-increasing prospects for more people to share in the blessings the state had to offer. As always, however, problems remained. West Virginians had deep apprehensions about the future. Their concerns included the quality of education the availability of health care, especially for children and the elderly environmental matters threats to cherished traditional values and fears that the nation might not have in the future the prescience or the strength to manage the responsibilities of world power.

Last Revised on October 16, 2014

Cite This Article

Rice, Otis K. and Stephen W. Brown "History of West Virginia." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 16 October 2014. Web. 25 June 2021.


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