A list of original Union states can mean either the first 13 states admitted to the Union or those states that remained loyal to the U.S. government during the Civil War. Both lists point to important moments in the history of the United States.
The 13 Colonies
British settlers founded the first of the 13 colonies in Virginia in 1607. Settlements grew across the eastern coast of the modern United States. An ocean away from their rulers, the colonists began to feel a lack of representation in their government. In 1775, a bloody Revolutionary War began to win the colonists' freedom. With the signing of The Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, they officially declared a new government. With the war's end in 1783, the colonies had won their independence from Britain and were free to found a nation.
List of Original Union States in the Colonies
For the original 13 colonies, their date of statehood comes from the date on which the state ratified the U.S. Constitution.
- Delaware - December 7, 1787
- Pennsylvania - December 12, 1787
- New Jersey - December 18, 1787
- Georgia - January 2, 1788
- Connecticut - January 9, 1788
- Massachusetts - February 6, 1788
- Maryland - April 28, 1788
- South Carolina - May 23, 1788
- New Hampshire - June 21, 1788
- Virginia - June 25, 1788
- New York - July 26, 1788
- North Carolina - November 21, 1789
- Rhode Island - May 29, 1790
The territory of the 13 colonies eventually gave rise to five other states:
- West Virginia split from Virginia in 1863.
- Kentucky was also part of the original Virginia colony.
- The state of Maine was once part of Massachusetts.
- Tennessee was born from a portion of North Carolina.
- Vermont began as part of New York and was involved in territorial disputes between New Hampshire and New York.
Download a printable list of original Union states. If you need help downloading the printable, check out these helpful tips.
The Civil War
In 1861, 11 southern states broke away from the United States and declared their own government, the Confederate States of America. The Confederacy was concerned with the division between slave and free states and issues of states' rights. These southern states no longer felt that they were being represented in government. The result was a devastating Civil War that lasted until 1865. The country was torn apart, with 23 states remaining loyal to the U.S. government. These states were known as Union states.
Alphabetical List of Union States in the Civil War
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
- The border states of Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and West Virginia were contested areas. Although they never formally seceded from the Union, there were pockets of unrest and Confederate sympathizers. This was especially true in the slave states of Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri.
- Kansas and Nevada did not become states until after the conflict began.
Download a printable list of Union states in the Civil War.