West Virginia (/vərˈdʒɪniə/ (listen)) is a state located in the Appalachian region of the Southern United States, though it is also considered to be a part of the Mid-Atlantic Southeast Region. It is bordered by Pennsylvania to the northeast, Maryland to the east and northeast, Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, and Ohio to the northwest. West Virginia is the 41st largest state by area and ranks 38th in population, with around 1.791 million residents. The capital and largest city is Charleston.
West Virginia became a state following the Wheeling Conventions of 1861, at the start of the American Civil War. Delegates from the Unionist counties of northwestern Virginia decided to break away from Virginia, which also included secessionist counties in the new state. West Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, and was a key border state during the war. It was the only state to form by separating from a Confederate state, the first to separate from any state since Maine separated from Massachusetts, and was one of two states (along with Nevada) admitted to the Union during the American Civil War. While a portion of its residents held slaves, most of the residents were yeoman farmers, and the delegates provided for gradual abolition of slavery in the new state Constitution and the state’s legislature completely abolished slavery before the end of the war.