From the Mitchell World Atlas of 1874,this map of Virginia and West Virginia is a hand-colored beauty. The map shows both geological & political features. Geological features - the coastal plain, Piedmont, Blue Ridge Mountains, the Great Appalachian Valley, and the Cumberland and Allegheny Plateaus. Water features include 5 peninsulas into Chesapeake Bay, as well as historic rivers with watersheds divided between the Chesapeake and Ohio River systems. County divisions are shown by line, and hand coloring that was applied to the original edition one atlas at a time, mostly by women and children.
In 1742, coal was discovered in western Virginia, which hadn't yet separated from Virginia. After the Civil War, the coal industry underwent explosive growth. Large-scale mechanization took place in the early twentieth century. As the region began producing an increasing amount of coal, wages rose for the coal miners. With this, the potential for personal danger intensified. In 1907, the worst mining disaster in American history killed 362 coal miners in West Virginia. Coal mining disasters claimed the lives of 1,455 in the region between 1900 and 1920. Massive labor battles marked the early days of coal mining. With the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933, however, labor unions became legally recognized. Dramatic improvements were seen over the next years in both wages and conditions.
West Virginia became a separate state from Virginia after the Wheeling Conventions, and officially broke away during the Civil War. During the War, Virginians occupying the western region grew unhappy with the state's government. They criticized the taxes and laws forced upon them. Attitudes towards slavery were an additional dividing force. Virginia was a Confederate Sate, having seceded from the Union, while West Virginia formed its own government and was accepted into the Union.
Archival reproduction print from high resolution scan. 12" x 15"