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Although native people have inhabited the area where the city lies for hundreds of years, the history of the city of Charleston, West Virginia dates back only around 200 years ago, to the times of the American Revolutionary War. In 1788, five years after the war ended, the first permanent settlement was established in Charleston by Col. Clendenin.
In the year of 1794, the Town of Charleston was established by the Virginia General Assembly. At the time, the total population of the town was a meager 35 people, who lived in only seven homes.
During the early 19th century, Charleston became a major salt producer, thanks to the discovery of a number of salt brines along the Kanawha River. Salt production fueled the local economy, and during the following 50 years the population grew greatly. The discovery of coal and natural gas added to the city’s industrial progress.
The Civil War was a time of division for the city of Charleston. After West Virginia seceded from the Union, part of its inhabitants still stood behind the Union, while others favored the Confederates. The Battle of Charleston is the city’s most famous battle, from which the Confederates came out victorious. However, Union troops soon after took control of the city.