June 20 - Welcome, West Virginia!

Posted on June 20, 2018

Right now there is a proposition on the November ballot that California be carved up into three different states.

I think that would be a terrible idea - but that makes me wonder about all the times that states were carved up into smaller states. Like, what's with North Dakota and South Dakota, North Carolina and South Carolina, and today's statehood anniversary, West Virginia, and its original state home, Virginia?

These states are separate...for different reasons!

In the Dakotas' case, they split while territories rather than as states, and it was differences in economies and populations, and it was shenanigans over moving the capital of the territory, and it was cultural splits that made the territories want statehood at different times.

In the Carolinas' case, they also split before statehood, when they were just British colonies. South Carolina formed around rice cultivation, with a whole of slaves laboring in rice fields for British colonists who quickly grew rich. North Carolina had slavery as well, but the enslaved laborers were a much smaller percentage of the population. Instead, the bulk of the population was made up of small-time tobacco farmers, former indentured servants, and discontented people who felt slighted by their richer neighbors to the north (Virginia) and the south (South Carolina).

And now for today's special state, West Virginia. It really, truly was a part of the state of Virginia. When did it break away? And why?

Because of the Civil War.

Because of the South's secession from the Union.

Because of loyalty-to-country.

West Virginia is the only state that was formed by seceding from a Confederate state. In a convention in 1861, counties in northwestern Virginia decided to break away from Virginia, and the new state was formally admitted to the Union on this date in 1863.

The state is known for a BUNCH of outdoor opportunities, especially caving...

...and fishing...

...but also hiking, biking, rock climbing, and more!


Also on this date:

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