Lourdes Gutierrez Najera
West Virginia chronology
1800s- 1900s As West Virginia’s railroad, coal, and zinc production industries boom at
the turn of the century, the state embarks on recruitment campaigns to attract European migrants. Spanish migrants, many from the region of Asturias, migrate to West Virginia.
1903 Clarksburg becomes an important fuel producer rich in coal, natural gas,
and petroleum. The area’s mines attract Spanish miners.
1900-1920 The zinc industry booms in West Virginia. Zinc production and smelting
plants heavily recruit Spanish employees who were familiar with this type of work.
Spanish migrants from the southern region of Andalusia, Galicia, and the northern region of Asturias migrate to southern West Virginia to work in the coal mines.
The state census shows 464 Spaniards living in the state, with the majority living in Harrison County’s mining towns.
According to the United States census, the Spanish population of West Virginia has risen to 1,543 persons. At the same time, the United States census lists 80 Mexicans living in the state.
A Spanish vice consulate is established in Clarksburg, West Virginia, by the Spanish government in order to serve Spanish migrants.
The West Virginia Department of Mines records show 2,212 Spanish laborers distributed throughout the state’s mines.
Scotts Run, a coal-mining community in Monongalia County, peaked in coal production during the 1920s and is reported as having 12 Mexican families living in the area.
The West Virginia Department of Mines annual report lists 233 Mexicans working in state mines.
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