West Virginia, ranked 41st in total area, is located along the Appalachian and Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania and Maryland to the north, Virginia to the east, Kentucky to the south, and Ohio to the west. The city of Charleston is both state capital and the largest city. Its location makes it the southern most northern state and the northern most southern state. The only state to be located entirely within the Appalachian Mountain range, West Virginia was nicknamed the Mountain State, with the motto “Montani semper liberi”, which means “Mountaineers are always free”.
West Virginia was formed when several northwestern Virginia counties chose to stay with the Union when the state of Virginia seceded and joined the Confederates. It is the only state that was formed by seceding from a Confederate state. It is also one of the only two states that were formed during the Civil War.
The state is blessed by countless mountains, plateaus, rivers, and lakes. These sites are being protected by the National Park Service. Some of these places are:
• New River Gorge National River
• Appalachian National Scenic Trail
• Bluestone National Scenic River
• Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
• Chesapeake and Ohio National Historical Park
• Gauley River National Recreation Area
• George Washington National Forest
• Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
• and Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge.
West Virginia’s economy is dependent on coal production. Second only to Wyoming in coal production, nearly all of the electricity generated here come from coal power plants. The state also produces oil and natural gas.