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5 Fun Facts About April 11 In West Virginia History

---Learn Every Day: WV Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history wv To: 618-270-4005---

1. On April 11, 1861, the first shots of the American Civil War were fired in West Virginia at the Battle of Philippi. Union forces, under the command of General George B. McClellan, defeated Confederate soldiers in the first land battle of the war.

2. The West Virginia state motto, "Montani Semper Liberi" which means "Mountaineers are always free," was adopted on April 11, 1863, during the Civil War. It reflects the state's independent spirit and its role as a key Union state during the war.

3. On April 11, 1930, the state legislature passed the West Virginia Coal Mine Health and Safety Act, which established important safety standards for miners. The law helped to improve working conditions for miners and reduce the number of accidents and deaths in the coal mining industry.

4. On April 11, 1945, West Virginia native and World War II veteran Charles "Chuck" Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound. Yeager achieved this milestone in a Bell X-1 aircraft, breaking the sound barrier at an altitude of 45,000 feet.

5. April 11, 1989, saw the signing of the Elk River Agreement, a landmark environmental agreement to clean up the Elk River and improve water quality in the Kanawha Valley. The agreement was reached between the state of West Virginia, the federal government, and private industry, and resulted in significant improvements in water quality and the protection of wildlife and habitats in the area.
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