State of Nevada

History of Nevada

The U.S. State of Nevada (NV) was admitted as the 36th state of the union on October 31st, 1864.  Before its history as a United States territory and its admission to the union as an official state, Nevada was part of the Spanish Empire of New Spain.  Francisco Garcés was the first European explorer to set foot in the area of modern-day Nevada.  Originally it belonged to the Spanish province of Alta California, or Upper California until Mexico won its independence from Spain, upon which Nevada came under Mexican control.

The area of Alta California that included Nevada remained largely uninhabited while under Mexican rule.  However, in the early 1800s, an explorer from New York named Jedediah Smith made his way into the Las Vegas Valley, paving the way for future growth and settlement.  As a result of their loss in the Mexican – American War, Mexico ceded the entire territory of Alta California to the United States.  The Mormons moved into the area shortly after and founded a settlement near modern-day Genoa in 1851.

The area of modern-day Nevada was first considered part of the Utah Territory.  However, it wasn’t until 1861 that Nevada was recognized as an individual territory.  A short time later, during the American Civil War, Nevada received its admission into statehood as the 36th state of the union on October 31st, 1864.


The state of Nevada is the 7th largest by area of the fifty states and the 34th most populous.  In 2016, the United States Census Bureau estimated the population of Nevada to be 2,940,058.  The largest metropolitan area is Las Vegas, where nearly two-thirds of the population resides.  In addition, the city of Las Vegas is the most populated city in Nevada, with a population upwards of 600,000.

Nevada’s economy has for decades been built around mining and cattle ranching.  The state’s mining industry is a multi-billion dollar industry every year.  Everything from gold and silver to copper and gypsum is mined regularly in Nevada.

However, in addition to its mining and agriculture industries, Nevada generates billions of dollars in revenue every year through heavy tourism and gambling.  The city of Las Vegas has become world-famous for its “strip” of casinos, hotels, convention centers, and various attractions.  It has become the third most popular destination for business conventions and has become a global leader in the hospitality industry with its numerous state-of-the-art, AAA-rated hotels.  The city ranks as the 28th most populated city in the United States of America and has shown consistent growth in population in recent years.

Along with Las Vegas, the cities of Reno and Lake Tahoe have proven themselves to be popular tourist destinations.  Nevada is home to various outdoor recreation destinations, including two National Parks, Death Valley National Park and Great Basin National Park.  To add to that, there are multiple National Historical Trails through the Sierra Nevada mountain range that offers stunning views of the high peaks.