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Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Where the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers meet at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, 1912

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West Virginia Admitted as the 35th State in the Union
June 20, 1863

"Mountaineers Are Always Free" is the state motto of West Virginia. The phrase reflects the history and identity of the state and indicates how West Virginia became the 35th state in the Union on June 20, 1863. The land that formed West Virginia used to be part of Virginia, but the two areas differed in both surroundings and people. Pioneering individuals, mountaineers, settled in the western portion, while a slave-holding aristocratic society developed in the eastern portion. Westerners wanted to separate from Virginia, and first tried to in 1769, but were unsuccessful.
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