State: West Virginia – WV

Published on October 16th, 2015 | by Brandon Ramsey in Geography


West Virginia is located in the Appalachian region of the United States. The state of Virginia is to the southeast, and it is bordered by four other states in total. Today we’ll discuss a variety of information about the history, geography, and climate here.

Before we begin however, we will first take a look at some key information:

  • Abbreviation: WV
  • Capital: Charleston (also the largest city)
  • Total area: 24,230 square miles (ranked 41st)
  • Population: 1,850,326 (ranked 38th)
  • Nickname: The Mountain State
  • Motto: Montani semper liberi (English: Mountaineers Are Always Free)
  • Highest point: Spruce Knob (4,863 ft)
  • Admitted to the Union: June 20, 1863 (35th)
  • Time zone: Eastern UTC -5/-4
  • State flag
  • Official Website: wv.gov
  • State bird: Northern cardinal
  • Butterfly: Monarch butterfly
  • Fish: Brook trout
  • Flower: Rhododendron
  • Insect: Western honey bee
  • Mammal: Black bear
  • Reptile: Timber rattler
  • Tree: Sugar maple
  • State slogan: “Wild and Wonderful”

map of west virginia in the United States

 

An Overview of WV

The state is located in the Southern region of the United Sates, near the Appalachian area. The state is bordered to the southeast by Virginia, to the southwest by Kentucky, to the northwest by Ohio, and to the north, northeast by Pennsylvania and Maryland.

In the United States, WV is the 38th most populated state and the 41st largest by area. The state’s total area is 24, 230 square miles. The estimated population in the year 2014 was over 1.85 million people. The median household income was $38,029, ranking this state 49th on the list of all the states.

It became a state after breaking away from Virginia. This occurred after the Wheeling Conventions of 1861.  WV entered into the Union on June 20 1863. The state played an important part in the American Civil War as a Civil War border state. This state was also the only state to separate from a Confederate entity, thereby creating a completely new state.

The state is known for its mountains and forest covered hills. It has a history of coal mining and logging industries. Due to the states lush landscape, popular outdoor recreational sports include skiing, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, hunting, and whitewater rafting.

map of West Virginia

Climate and Geographical Features

This state is located in the Appalachian Mountain range. Out of the state’s total area of 24,230 square miles, there are 152 square miles of water. The state has been given the nickname “The Mountain State” due to its vast mountain range. The state motto is “Montani Semper Liberi”, which translates from Latin to English as “Mountaineers are always free”.

Two of the state’s large rivers are the Ohio River and the Shenandoah River. About 75% of the state lies between the Cumberland Plateau and the Allegheny Plateau regions. The state’s average elevation is approximately 1,500 feet above sea level. The highest point is on top of Spruce Knob of Spruce Mountain, which lies at 4,863 feet above sea level.

Monongahela National Forest is home to Spruce Mountain. There are a total of six different wilderness areas located within the Monongahela National Forest area. Just south of this area lies the New River Gorge, which is a 1,000-foot deep canyon. This canyon was naturally created from the New River, also known as the New River Gorge National River. This river is protected by the National Park Services.

The high peaks of the Monongahela Nation Forest region and the mountains give this state a colder climate and ecosystems. This climate is similar to the climate of New England or Eastern Canada. The lower sections of the state have slightly more humidity and higher temperatures.

Average temperatures range near 26 °F in January to 76 °F in July. The mountainous sections of the state are cooler than the lower sections. The lowest recorded temperature was -37 °F in Lewisburg on December 30, 1917. The highest recorded temperature was 112 °F in Martinsburg on July 10, 1936.

Due to the climate and the geography of the state it is home to many different types of trees, natural resources, and animals. Common trees found here are oak, maple, beech, white pine, willow, and American sycamore. Common natural resources found are sandstone, coal, limestone, and wood.

The state is full of wildlife, such as birds, mammals, and reptiles. Common mammals are mountain lions, wolves, foxes, coyotes, and black bears. Common birds are different types of geese, duck, and hawks, as well as cardinals. Cardinals are also the state bird. This state is also home to the venomous snakes the Timber Rattlesnake and the Northern Copperhead.

A Divided History

Before the arrival of European settlers, this state’s land was home to numerous Native American tribes and people.  Over 12,500 archaeological sites have been discovered and documented as of the year 2009. Paleo-Indian culture has been found and appears to go back to 10,500 BC.

The New River and Kanawha Falls was discovered in an expedition in 1671 by Thomas Batts and Robert Fallum, from the Virginia Colony. Much of the state was not occupied during this time due to the Native American Tribes. In 1725 an Indian trader, John Van Metre traveled into the northern section. This was about the same time that New Mecklenburg was founded by German settlers from Pennsylvania.

In 1739, Thomas Shepherd built a flour mill, which was powered by water from the Potomas River. That area of the state is now known as the present-day town of Shepherdstown. In 1750 many settlers traveled into the state’s mountains. However, they were met with resistance from the Native Americans who used this area for hunting.

This was one of two states which were formed during the American Civil War, the other state was Nevada. WV was original part of the British Virginia Colony. It broke out from the state of Virginia, and was formally admitted into the Union as a new and separate entity in 1863. It was also one of the Border states in the Civil War.

Final Thoughts

This is a unique place with a lot of culture and history to offer both visitors and residents alike. Now that we’ve covered this information on the state, you should head on over to our West Virginia state facts page to discover even more information about this, one of the 50 U.S. States. Thanks for reading and be sure to share your own info in the comments below!

printable map of West Virginia



About the Author
Brandon Ramsey

Brandon Ramsey is the head author and editor of The Time Now Blog. Be sure to follow us via social media!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑