West Virginia History

There are numerous fascinating West Virginia facts that well-explain why the state is what it is today. All of the documented West Virginia facts combine to tell a story of the first settlers, farmers, hunters and Europeans. From there West Virginia state history reveals how the Europeans became settled in the mountains and carved out a good life for themselves. In West Virginia history, as the state became home to more and more new settlers, there were some clashes between Native Americans and white settlers. The Battle of Point Pleasant is just one examples of settlers that couldn't live harmoniously and ended up creating war and civil strife in the state.

Native Americans were the first in the history of West Virginia to settle in the area, many in the Canaan Valley where the Timberline Ski Resort and the Canaan Valley Ski Resort are now located. This is evident in West Virginia history because of the abundant burial mounds and many artifacts found throughout the region. The Native Americans that constructed these elaborate burial plots were called Mound Builders and were thought to be ancestors of the Adena and Hopewell tribes. In the history of West Virginia, around the year 1,000, the Mound Builders slowly disappeared. No West Virginia facts pertain to what actually happened to the tribe.

In West Virginia state history, after the Mound Builders ceased to be around, the hunting and farming tribe of the Shawnee arrived. West Virginia facts state the Shawnee were a part of the Woodland Indian tribes. The Shawnee lived in huts called wigwams which were built by hand out of thin, malleable tree branches and covered with animal pelts for protection against the elements. The tribe set forest fires to create fields in which they could grow their food. They typically grew pumpkins, beans and maize.

A large number of Europeans began heading into the Appalachian Mountains to explore the area further, circa 1600. Land was claimed for the English by Alexander Spotswood, who arrived in West Virginia about 1715.After that, West Virginia state history denotes English settlers started arriving by foot and horse-drawn transportation to join Spotswood in the mountains. It's these same mountains that are now home to a variety of beautiful state and national forests and parks, like Blackwater Falls State Park, excellent West Virginia campgrounds and one of the most favored areas for West Virginia cabins. The earliest settlers included English, Welsh, Dutch, German, Scottish and Irish immigrants

After this period in West Virginia history, a long list of events occurred. 1861 saw the start of the Civil War and many of the south lying states joined up with the Confederate States of America, including Virginia. East and West Virginia differed greatly, for many reasons, and eventually the western part of the state was cordoned off unto its own and officially became West Virginia. Religious beliefs and economics proved to be two major reasons for the split. New government was eventually formed because Virginia, who didn't want to lose the cheap labor the west afforded them, wouldn't approve the new state. The new government, the Restored Government of Virginia approved by the United States was formed and thus West Virginia was born.

Through WW1 water transportation became a new and effective way of travel and WWII saw the building of a much better road system. Around this time in the history of West Virginia there was great advancements in steel, tin, nickel and chemicals. Glass and pottery work became more and more common. With many sweeping forests offering the best of outdoor recreation, tourism has grown steadily. In West Virginia cultural heritage is still a very important aspect of everyday life. Mountain music is heard all over the state, from gospel to bluegrass to ballads. West Virginia music festivals happen throughout the year, exhibiting various forms of dance based on jigs and old reels. History also comes to life through the many museums, Civil War tours and sites, arts and crafts the large number of exciting festivals, events and fairs that kick off in every month of the year.

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