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Striking miners drawing rations, West Virginia
Striking miners in West Virginia collect their rations, 1920

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

With the outbreak of the Civil War, Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861. Very few of the residents of the western counties owned slaves, so they decided to stay with the Union. As a result, West Virginia, where "Mountaineers Are Always Free," was formed.

The Appalachian Mountains have always been an important resource in West Virginia. Beneath them is the largest supply of coal in the nation. Until the 1940s, many West Virginians worked as miners. Nowadays, the tops of West Virginia's mountains are blasted off to expose the coal inside for extraction. The mountains have also attracted different kinds of residents and travelers.

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