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The South > West Virginia > Background

SOURCES: Wikipedia: U.S. state; StateMaster; Wikipedia: List of North American area codes
Date of join 1863-06-20
Landscapes and History
A landlocked and mountainous state in Appalachia, West Virginia is relatively isolated and straddles the regions of the Midwest, the Northeast and the South. The Ohio and Potomac rivers form part of the state's boundaries. Nearly every corner of the state is mountainous, thus developing a climate similar to that of the New England states. West Virginia enjoys rich biodiversity and scenic beauty, with New River Gorge National River a popular natural attraction. Harper's Ferry, a historic town at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, was the site of a U.S. Armory which was the target for John Brown's famous raid in 1859. West Virginia was originally part of the state of Virginia until the outbreak of the Civil War, where residents in the West Virginian region overwhelmingly voted to stay with the Union. A break with Virginia then became inevitable, and on June 20th, 1863, it became the 35th state to join the nation.
North American area codes > Codes
People and Politics
Arguably the most isolated state east of the Mississippi River, West Virginia has the lowest percentage of the population born in a foreign country. Most West Virginians identify themselves as being from American ancestry, though there are large numbers of people with German and Irish heritage. Health is one area where West Virginia consistently lags behind the rest of the nation, with a relatively high death rate from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Coal mining is still a major industry in the state, the largest exporter in the nation, although its dominance has waned in recent years. The economy of West Virginia is considered one of the weakest in the Union, with one of the lowest per capita incomes and one of the highest percentages of residents below the poverty level. Traditionally a Democratic stronghold from its long history of unionization, West Virginia has recently given its 5 electoral votes to George W. Bush by relatively wide margins in both 2000 and 2004.

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