Origin of "West Virginia"

West Virginia State Name Origin


West Virginia quarter

The U.S. Mint's bicentennial commemorative quarter for West Virginia; features the New River Gorge bridge (the New River Gorge area is protected by the National Park Service). West Virginia became the 35th state on June 20, 1863.   Photo by United States Mint/Wikipedia (Public Domain Image).

What does "West Virginia" mean?

Although the name "Kanawha" was considered, West Virginia was chosen to name the western counties of Virginia which refused to secede from the Union in 1863.

"Virginia" is in honor of England's Queen Elizabeth I. In the early 1600's, all of North America that wasn't Spanish or French was called Virginia after "The Virgin Queen," and the earliest English colonial expeditions were sent by the Virginia Company of London.

West Virginia


Painting of Queen Elizabeth I (public domain image on Wikipedia).

Painting of Queen Elizabeth I

New River Gorge bridge in West Virginia (The "New River" is actually one of the oldest rivers in the world) ; photo by ds4832 on Flickr - noncommercial use permitted with attribution /no derivative works.