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West Virginia Economy
About half of Alabama
Coal, a mineral that significantly
affected West Virginia's history, was discovered there in 1742. Other important
natural resources are oil, natural gas, and hardwood forests, which cover about
75% of the state's area.
The state's rapid industrial expansion began in the 1870s, with the increase of
railroad access to this rugged state. Industry drew thousands of European
immigrants and African Americans into the region. Miners' strikes between 1912
and 1921 required the intervention of state and federal troops to quell the
violence. Today, the state ranks second in the U.S. in total coal production,
with about 15% of the U.S. total. It is also a leader in steel, glass, aluminum,
and chemical manufactures. Major agricultural commodities are poultry and eggs,
dairy products, and apples. Tourism is increasingly popular in mountainous West
Virginia. More than a million acres have been set aside in 37 state parks and
recreation areas and in 9 state forests and 2 national forests.
West Virginia Economic Information from
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Monongahela National Forest