Evidence has been found placing humans in the Kanawha County area as long as 10,000 years ago. Artifacts found at St. Albans places the Paleo-Indians in the area around 8,000 BC.
White settlement of the area did not begin in earnest until after Chief Cornstalk and the Shawnees were defeated in 1774 in the Battle of Point Pleasant.
Kanawha County was formed in 1788 from parts of Greenbrier and Montgomery (Virginia) counties and was named for the river that flows through it.
State government is based out of Charleston. (Photo courtesy W.Va. Department of Tourism)
Since the county was formed,16 other counties have been carved from it.
Beneath Kanawha County are vast resources of salt brine, coal, oil and gas. These resources have help drive the economy of the state since the early 1880s.
The county has been the most populated in the state since 1880 when it surpassed Ohio County. Charleston has been the center of state government since 1885 when voters chose to have the capital relocate there from Wheeling.
Land in square miles: 903
Number of people per square mile: 221.5
Other communities in the county include South Charleston, St. Albans, Cross Lanes and Dunbar.
Source: The 55 West Virginias: A guide to the State's Counties, by E. Lee North, Published by The West Virginia University Press.