West Virginia Flag

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E pluribus unum


Theodore Roosevelt

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West Virginia State Motto

Motto and Nickname

The West Virginia State Motto
The West Virginia State motto was adopted in 1863 and is expressed in Latin as "Montani semper liberi" which means:

"Mountaineers are
always free"

The Meaning of the West Virginia State Motto
The motto was suggested by Joseph H. Diss Debar (1820-1905), the artist who created the state's Great Seal. French-born Joseph H. Diss Debar was a supporter of the movement to create West Virginia. The meaning of this famous motto reflects the character and beliefs of the citizens of the state and is a reference to the history and ideals fought for in the War of Independence (17751783).

"Mountaineers are always free"


The West Virginia State Nickname
The West Virginia Motto is complimented by a less formal, popular West Virginia nickname which, combined with the motto, are highly descriptive of the people, the geography and the history of the state. The names used as nicknames are:

West Virginia State Nickname List
Official Nickname: Mountain State
Switzerland of America
Panhandle State

George Washington


The Origin and Meaning of the West Virginia Nicknames
The American citizens who live in, or who come from West Virginia, are referred to as West Virginians. The history, origin and meaning of each of the state's nicknames are as follows:

The Mountain State
The official nickname of the Mountain State alludes to spectacular Allegheny Mountains that go through the lands of the region.

The Switzerland of America
The Switzerland of America is another reference to the mountainous eastern part of the Allegheny Plateau in the Appalachian Mountains. The Allegheny mountain range extends for more than 500 miles (800 km) from north-central Pennsylvania to Southwestern Virginia. Spruce Knob is the highest point in West Virginia (4,863 feet).

The Panhandle State
The Panhandle nickname is a direct reference to the physical shape of Virginia as it appears on a map. The name 'Panhandle' comes from the similarity of shape to the handle of a cooking pan. The two long slender land masses are called the Eastern and the Northern Panhandle.

Panhandle - West Virginia Map


The Constitution of West Virginia
The constitution of West Virginia establishes the basic rights of its citizens and echoes the words and sentiments of the motto. The preamble (opening) of the constitution is as follows:

"Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia, in and through the provisions of this Constitution, reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God and seek diligently to promote, preserve and perpetuate good government in the state of West Virginia for the common welfare, freedom and security of ourselves and our posterity."

Preamble of the Constitution of West Virginia


West Virginia State Motto for Kids

Learn the meaning of the motto for kids
"Mountaineers are always free"
Find the meaning of the Motto and nickname
Meaning, History and Origin of the motto for kids
Meaning, origin and history of the nickname
Interesting facts, info and picture of the flag
Official Nickname "Mountain State"
Meaning of the motto and nickname for schools, kids and children

Abraham Lincoln

West Virginia State Motto and Nickname for Kids

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