West Virginia became the 35th state in the Union after President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation on April 20, 1863, although the proclamation would not become effective for another sixty days. This was after the people of Virginia seceded from the Union in 1840. The ones who opposed formed their own government and this formed the state of West Virginia. This is the only state to be proclaimed with a Presidential Proclamation.
West Virginia’s state flag is white with a navy blue border surrounding it. In the center is the coat of arms of West Virginia, while a wreath of rhododendron (the state flower) is on the lower half of the coat of arms. Above it is a red ribbon, reading the words “State of West Virginia”. Inside the coat of arms stands two men and in between them is a rock which has the date of West Virginia’s admission (June 20, 1863) inscribed and the state’s motto, Montani Semper Liberi, meaning “Mountaineers are always free”.
West Virginia adopted its state flag on March 7, 1929 by Senate Joint Resolution Number 18, which was approved by the Legislature. The proportions of the West Virginia state flag are the same as the United States national flag.
While coal was West Virginia’s biggest industry for years, tourism is now their biggest industry, placing coal in second. People visit popular attractions like the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Seneca Caverns, and New River (which is ironically one of the oldest rivers in the world).