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State of Nevada
(Flag of Nevada ) (Seal of Nevada )
State nickname: Silver State, Battle Born State (official)
Other U.S. States
Capital Carson City
Largest city Las Vegas
Governor Kenny Guinn
Official languages None
Area 286,367 km² (7th)
 - Land 284,396 km²
 - Water 1,971 km² (0.7%)
Population (2000)
 - Population 1,998,257 (35th)
 - Density 7.03 /km² (43rd)
Admittance into Union
 - Date October 31, 1864
 - Order 36th
Time zone Pacific: UTC-8/-7
Mountain: UTC-7/-6
All but 5 locations (Duck Valley Indian Reservation, Jackpot, Mountain City, Owyhee, and West Wendover) are in Pacific
Latitude 35N to 42N
Longitude 114W to 120W
Width 519 km
Length 788 km
 - Highest 4,005 m
 - Mean 1,676 m
 - Lowest 146 m
 - ISO 3166-2 US-NV
Web site

Nevada is a state located in the western United States. The population as of July 2004 was estimated to be 2,334,771, up nearly 17% from the 2000 census figure of 1,998,257. Nevada is the fastest growing state in the country. Between 2000 and 2003, Nevada's population increased 12.2%, while the USA's population increased 3.3%. Between 1990 and 2000, Nevada's population increased 66.3%, while the USA's population increased 13.1%.

Nevada's nickname is "The Silver State" and the state's motto is "All for Our Country". The state song is "Home Means Nevada" by Bertha Rafetto . The phrase "Battle Born" is on the state flag; "The Battle Born State" is the official state slogan, as Nevada was admitted into the union during the American Civil War.

Despite the name's derivation from the Spanish word nevada meaning "snowy", the local pronunciation of the state's name is not "Ne-vah-da"; the middle syllable has a short "a" sound as in "cat" or "hat". (Residents often regard the pronunciation as a test of whether visitors such as presidential candidates, have informed themselves about the state.)

Several United States Navy ships have been named USS Nevada in honor of the state.



In 1850, the US Congress established the Utah territory which included the present day states of Utah, Idaho and Nevada. 1859 saw the discovery of the Comstock Lode, a rich outcropping of gold and silver, and Virginia City sprang up. This discovery brought a flood of miners, prospectors, merchants and others hoping to strike it rich.

On March 2, 1861, Nevada separated from the Utah territory and adopted its current name, shortened from Sierra Nevada (Spanish for "snowy range"). On October 31, 1864, just eight days prior to the presidential election, Nevada became the 36th state in the union. Statehood was rushed through despite Nevada's tiny population to help ensure Abraham Lincoln's reelection and post-Civil War Republican dominance in congress. As Nevada's mining-based economy tied it to the more industrialized Union, it was viewed as politically reliable (as opposed to the more agrarian and Confederate-sympathizing California).

Nevada achieved its current boundaries on May 5, 1866 when it absorbed the portion of Pah-Ute County in the Arizona Territory west of the Colorado River. The transfer was prompted by the discovery of gold in the area, and it was thought that Nevada would be better able to oversee the expected population boom. This area includes most of what is now Clark County, Nevada.

Negotiations are currently underway for Nevada to annex Wendover, Utah, which would be merged with West Wendover, Nevada. This deal will require the permission of both the Nevada and Utah legislatures and the U.S. Congress.

Despite Nevada being the third oldest western state, it is referred to as the "Permanent Colony" as over 87% of the land is owned by the Federal Government. The primary reason for this is that homesteads were not permitted in large enough sizes to be viable in the arid conditions that prevail throughout Nevada. Instead, early settlers would homestead land surrounding a water source, and then graze livestock on the adjacent public land, which is useless for agriculture without access to water (this pattern of ranching still prevails). The deficiencies in the Homestead Act as applied to Nevada were probably due to a lack of understanding of the Nevada environment, although some firebrands (so-called "Sagebrush Rebels") maintain that it was due to pressure from mining interests to keep land out of the hands of common folk.

Gambling was common in the early Nevada mining towns, but was outlawed in 1909 as part of a nation-wide anti-gaming crusade. Due to a sharp decline in mining output in the 1920s and the decline of the agricultural sector during the Great Depression, Nevada re-legalized gambling in 1931. At the time, the leading proponents of gambling expected that it would be a short term fix until the state's economic base widened to include less cyclical industries, however re-outlawing gambling has never been seriously considered since.

A fictional history (with a great deal of fact) titled Nevada was written by Clint McCullough .

Law and Government

Nevada's capital is Carson City and its governor is Kenny Guinn (Republican). Nevada's two U.S. senators are Harry Reid (Democrat) and John Ensign (Republican). See List of Nevada Governors

Due to the tremendous growth of Las Vegas in recent years, there is a noticeable divide between politics of Northern Nevada and Southern Nevada. The north has long maintained control of key positions in the state government even while the Las Vegas area is many times larger than Washoe County. This has fostered resentment as the north sees the south as a potential bully of majority rule and the south sees the north as the "old guard" trying to rule as an oligarchy. Most people outside the state are not familiar with this rivalry.


See List of Nevada counties

Nevada has borders with Oregon and Idaho to the north, California to the west, Arizona to the southeast and Utah to the east. The border with Arizona includes the Colorado River and Hoover Dam.

It is in a mountain region that includes semiarid grasslands and sandy deserts, and is the most arid (dry) state in the nation. Nevada is a land of rugged, snow-capped mountains, grassy valleys and sandy deserts. The northern and central portions of Nevada are mostly within the Great Basin Desert, while portions of the southern tip are within the Mojave Desert. See also list of mountain ranges of Nevada.

image:Nevada map showing counties.png


Nevada's total gross state product for 1999 was $69 billion placing it 32nd in the nation. Its 2000 Per Capita Personal Income was $30,529 or 14th in the nation. Its agricultural outputs are cattle, hay, dairy products, and potatoes. Its industrial outputs are tourism, mining, machinery, printing and publishing, food processing, and electric equipment. It is well-known for gambling and nightlife. Large, luxurious casinos in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Reno attract visitors from around the world.

Nevada is the only state with legalized Censored page: see Censored page.

see also Richest places in Nevada.


According to the Census Bureau, as of 2003, the population of Nevada was 2,241,154.

The racial makeup of the state is:

The 5 largest ancestry groups in Nevada are: German (14.1%), Irish (11%), English (10.1%), Italian (6.6%), American (4.8%).

6.8% of its population were reported as under 5, 26.3% under 18, and 13.6% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 50.7% of the population.


The religious affiliations of the citizens of Nevada are:

  • Protestant 45%
  • Roman Catholic 24%
  • Other Christian 10% (mostly Mormon)
  • Other Religions 2%
  • Non-Religious 15%

The three largest Protestant denominations in Nevada are: Baptist (8% of the total state population), Methodist (6%), Lutheran (6%).

Important cities and towns

The largest city is Las Vegas.

Nevada is also the home of Area 51, the top-secret installation the Government has always denied existed. Area 51 is supposedly located in Groom Lake, near Nellis Air Force Base.

See List of cities in Nevada.

25 Richest Places in Nevada

Ranked by per capita income

1 Incline Village-Crystal Bay, Nevada $52,521
2 Kingsbury, Nevada $41,451
3 Mount Charleston, Nevada $38,821
4 Verdi-Mogul, Nevada $38,233
5 Zephyr Cove-Round Hill Village, Nevada $37,218
6 Summerlin South, Nevada $33,017
7 Blue Diamond, Nevada $30,479
8 Minden, Nevada $30,405
9 Boulder City, Nevada $29,770
10 Spanish Springs, Nevada $26,908
11 Henderson, Nevada $26,815
12 Spring Valley, Nevada $26,321
13 Enterprise, Nevada $25,063
14 Johnson Lane, Nevada $24,247
15 Virginia City, Nevada $23,765
16 Indian Hills, Nevada $23,027
17 Reno, Nevada $22,520
18 Goodsprings, Nevada $22,282
19 Las Vegas, Nevada $22,060
20 Smith Valley, Nevada $21,940
21 Lemmon Valley-Golden Valley, Nevada $21,820
22 Winnemucca, Nevada $21,441
23 Paradise, Nevada $21,258
24 Sparks, Nevada $21,122
25 Laughlin, Nevada $21,097
See complete list of Nevada places

State symbols


Colleges and universities

Professional sports teams

Famous Nevadans


Union Pacific Railroad has some railroads in the north and in the south (map ).

Amtrak's California Zephyr uses one of the northern branches in a daily service from Chicago, IL to Emeryville, CA serving Elko, Winnemucca, Sparks, and Reno. [1]

Amtrak provides bus services from Las Vegas to Needles, California and Los Angeles ([2] ). Greyhound Lines also provides some bus services.

Las Vegas has a bus network, and a monorail system that is being extended.

There are also bus services in Reno/Sparks, and from there to Carson City. Some counties do not have public transport at all, e.g. Eureka County.

External links

  • Official web site of Nevada:
  • Nevada state symbols
  • Nevada State Library and Archives - Why Did Nevada Become a State?:
  • Photos of Nevada - Terra Galleria
  • US Census Bureau

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Last updated: 02-07-2005 00:00:17
Last updated: 02-20-2005 07:10:56