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. See name origins for all 50 states.
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. See All State Name Origins.