Las Vegas

Las Vegas (US: ; Spanish for "The Meadows"), often known simply as Vegas, is the 25th-most populous city in the United States, the most populous city in the state of Nevada, and the county seat of Clark County. The city anchors the Las Vegas Valley metropolitan area and is the largest city within the greater Mojave Desert. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city, known primarily for its gambling, shopping, fine dining, entertainment, and nightlife. The Las Vegas Valley as a whole serves as the leading financial, commercial, and cultural center for Nevada.

The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its luxurious and extremely large casino-hotels together with their associated activities. It is a top three destination in the United States for business conventions a...Read more

Las Vegas (US: ; Spanish for "The Meadows"), often known simply as Vegas, is the 25th-most populous city in the United States, the most populous city in the state of Nevada, and the county seat of Clark County. The city anchors the Las Vegas Valley metropolitan area and is the largest city within the greater Mojave Desert. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city, known primarily for its gambling, shopping, fine dining, entertainment, and nightlife. The Las Vegas Valley as a whole serves as the leading financial, commercial, and cultural center for Nevada.

The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its luxurious and extremely large casino-hotels together with their associated activities. It is a top three destination in the United States for business conventions and a global leader in the hospitality industry, claiming more AAA Five Diamond hotels than any other city in the world. Today, Las Vegas annually ranks as one of the world's most visited tourist destinations. The city's tolerance for numerous forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of "Sin City", and has made Las Vegas a popular setting for literature, films, television programs, and music videos.

Las Vegas was settled in 1905 and officially incorporated in 1911. At the close of the 20th century, it was the most populated North American city founded within that century (a similar distinction was earned by Chicago in the 19th century). Population growth has accelerated since the 1960s, and between 1990 and 2000 the population nearly doubled, increasing by 85.2%. Rapid growth has continued into the 21st century, and according to the United States Census Bureau, the city had 641,903 residents in 2020, with a metropolitan population of 2,227,053.

As with most major metropolitan areas, the name of the primary city ("Las Vegas" in this case) is often used to describe areas beyond official city limits. In the case of Las Vegas, this especially applies to the areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip, which are actually located within the unincorporated communities of Paradise and Winchester. Nevada is the driest state, and Las Vegas is the driest major U.S. city. Over time and influenced by climate change, droughts in Southern Nevada have been increasing in frequency and severity, putting a further strain on Las Vegas' water security.

 
Southern Paiutes at Moapa wearing traditional Paiute basket hats with Paiute cradleboard and rabbit robe

Nomadic Paleo-Indians traveled to the Las Vegas area 10,000 years ago, leaving behind petroglyphs. Ancient Puebloan and Paiute tribes followed at least 2,000 years ago.[1]

A young Mexican scout named Rafael Rivera is credited as the first non-Native American to encounter the valley, in 1829.[2] Trader Antonio Armijo led a 60-man party along the Spanish Trail to Los Angeles, California in 1829.[3][4] In 1844, John C. Frémont arrived, and his writings helped lure pioneers to the area. Downtown Las Vegas's Fremont Street is named after him.

Eleven years later, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chose Las Vegas as the site to build a fort halfway between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, where they would travel to gather supplies. The fort was abandoned several years afterward. The remainder of this Old Mormon Fort can still be seen at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Washington Avenue.

Las Vegas was founded as a city in 1905, when 110 acres (45 ha) of land adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks were auctioned in what would become the downtown area. In 1911, Las Vegas was incorporated as a city.[5]

 
Golden Nugget and Pioneer Club along Fremont Street in 1952

1931 was a pivotal year for Las Vegas. At that time, Nevada legalized casino gambling and reduced residency requirements for divorce to six weeks. This year also witnessed the beginning of construction on nearby Hoover Dam. The influx of construction workers and their families helped Las Vegas avoid economic calamity during the Great Depression. The construction work was completed in 1935.

In late 1941, Las Vegas Army Airfield was established. Renamed Nellis Air Force Base in 1950, it is now home to the United States Air Force Thunderbirds aerobatic team.[6]

Following World War II, lavishly decorated hotels, gambling casinos, and big-name entertainment became synonymous with Las Vegas.

 
This view of downtown Las Vegas shows a mushroom cloud in the background. Scenes such as this were typical during the 1950s. From 1951 to 1962, the government conducted 100 atmospheric tests at the nearby Nevada Test Site.[7]

In 1951, nuclear weapons testing began at the Nevada Test Site, 65 miles (105 km) northwest of Las Vegas. During this time, the city was nicknamed the "Atomic City". Residents and visitors were able to witness the mushroom clouds (and were exposed to the fallout) until 1963 when the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty required that nuclear tests be moved underground.[7]

In 1955, the Moulin Rouge Hotel opened and became the first racially integrated casino-hotel in Las Vegas.

The iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign, which has never been located within municipal limits, was created in 1959 by Betty Willis.[8]

 
Fremont Street in the late 1960s

During the 1960s, corporations and business tycoons such as Howard Hughes were building and buying hotel-casino properties. Gambling was referred to as "gaming", which transitioned it into a legitimate business. Learning from Las Vegas, published during this era, asked architects to take inspiration from the city's highly decorated buildings, helping to start the postmodern architecture movement.

In 1995, the Fremont Street Experience opened in Las Vegas's downtown area. This canopied five-block area features 12.5 million LED lights and 550,000 watts of sound from dusk until midnight during shows held at the top of each hour.

Due to the realization of many revitalization efforts, 2012 was dubbed "The Year of Downtown". Projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars made their debut at this time, including the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the DISCOVERY Children's Museum, the Mob Museum, the Neon Museum, a new City Hall complex, and renovations for a new Zappos.com corporate headquarters in the old City Hall building.[9][10]

^ Cordell, Linda (1994). Ancient Pueblo Peoples. St. Remy Press and Smithsonian Institution. pp. 18–19. ISBN 0-89599-038-5. ^ Land, Barbara; Land, Myrick (March 1, 2004). A Short History of Las Vegas. University of Nevada Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0874176438. Retrieved December 18, 2020. ^ "FAQs/History". Clark County, Nevada. Retrieved December 4, 2008. ^ Ponce, Victor Miguel. "Las Vegas, how did Las Vegas get its name, groundwater depletion". San Diego State University. Retrieved September 13, 2014. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1941). Origin of Place Names: Nevada (PDF). Works Progress Administration. p. 16. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 9, 2018. ^ "Home". United States Air Force Thunderbirds. Archived from the original on October 20, 2019. Retrieved October 25, 2019. ^ a b Simon, Steven; Bouville, Andre (January–February 2006). "Fallout from Nuclear Weapons Tests and Cancer Risks". American Scientist. 94 (1): 48. doi:10.1511/2006.57.48. Archived from the original on July 9, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2020. Exposures 50 years ago still have health implications today that will continue into the future...Deposition...generally decreases with distance from the test site in the direction of the prevailing wind across North America, although isolated locations received significant deposition as a result of rainfall. Trajectories of the fallout debris clouds across the U.S. are shown for four altitudes. Each dot indicates six hours. ^ Brown, Patricia Leigh (January 13, 2005). "A Neon Come-Hither, Still Able to Flirt". The New York Times. Retrieved December 18, 2020. ^ Cite error: The named reference History was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Segall, Eli; Subrina Hudson (October 22, 2020). "Zappos' new landlord is a familiar face". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
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