West Virginia abolished slavery by a gradual process and temporarily disenfranchised men who had held Confederate office or fought for the Confederacy.

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The unique position of West Virginia means that it is often included in several geographical regions, including the Mid-Atlantic, the Upland South, and the Southeastern United States.

It is the only state that is entirely within the area served by the Appalachian Regional Commission; the area is commonly defined as "Appalachia".

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Many ancient man-made earthen mounds from various prehistoric mound builder cultures survive, especially in the areas of present-day Moundsville, South Charleston, and Romney.

The artifacts uncovered in these give evidence of village societies.

Also continuing from ancient indigenous people of the state, they cultivated tobacco through to early historic times.

It was used in numerous social and religious rituals.

The residents of this area became more sharply divided after the planter elite of eastern Virginia voted to secede from the Union during the Civil War.

Residents of the western and northern counties set up a separate government under Francis Pierpont in 1861, which they called the Restored Government.

While a portion of its residents held slaves, most of the residents were yeomen farmers, and the delegates provided for gradual abolition of slavery in the new state Constitution.