West Virginia Day in the United States Date in the current year: June 20, 2024

West Virginia Day in the United States West Virginia Day is a state holiday in the state of West Virginia. It is celebrated annually on June 20 to commemorate the state’s admission to the Union in 1863, during the American Civil War.

West Virginia is a state in the American Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Appalachian regions of the United States It is bordered by Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. Because of its location in the Appalachian Mountains, the official nickname of West Virginia is the Mountain State. It is also known as the Switzerland of America, Almost Heaven, and the Panhandle State.

West Virginia is one of the two US states formed during the American Civil War (the other one is Nevada that separated from Utah Territory) and the only state to have seceded from a Confederate state. Before the American Revolution, the territory of West Virginia was part of the British Colony of Virginia, chartered in 1606, which encompassed the territories of present-day Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

On May 15, 1776, the Fifth Virginia Convention declared Virginia a free and independent state. On July 4, Virginia and the rest of the Thirteen Colonies adopted the United States Declaration of Independence. The social, political, economic, and cultural differences between the western and eastern parts of Virginia were already noticeable back then. Early in the American Revolution, there was even a proposition to create a new state named Westsylvania in what is now West Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Maryland, and Virginia, but it was rejected by the Congress.

The rift between eastern and western Virginia only grew after the end of the American Revolution. However, the United States Constitution did not allow the creation of a new state out of an existing state without the latter’s consent. The American Civil War allowed to get around this restriction.

When Virginia seceded from the Union along with other slave states, Unionists from the northwestern part of the state formed the Restored Government of Virginia. The Union government declared it the legitimate government of Virginia, which allowed to approve the secession of West Virginia. The Union Army drove the Southerners out of most of West Virginia, and on May 13, 1862, the formation of the new state was officially approved by the state legislature.

President Abraham Lincoln agreed to admit West Virginia to the Union on the condition that it would gradually abolish slavery. The state constitution containing a relevant provision was adopted on March 26, 1863, and West Virginia was admitted to the Union as the 35th state on June 20, 1863.

West Virginia Day, commemorating the state’s admission to the Union, had been informally celebrated for decades until the state legislature finally recognized it officially in 1927. The holiday is traditionally celebrated with flag raising ceremonies held across the state and various festivities honoring the history and culture of West Virginia.

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West Virginia Day in the United States, holidays in the United States, holidays in West Virginia, admission to the Union