Nevada is a state located in the western region of the United States of America. The capital is Carson City and the largest city is Las Vegas. The state's nickname is "The Silver State," due to the large number of silver deposits that were discovered and mined there. In 1864, Nevada became the 36th state to enter the union, and the phrase "Battle Born" on the state flag reflects the state's entry on the Union side during the American Civil War. Its first settlement was called Mormon Station.
Nevada is the seventh-largest state in area, and geographically covers the Mojave Desert in the south to the Great Basin in the north. About 86% of the state's land is owned by the U.S federal government under various jurisdictions both civilian and military. As of 2006, there were about 2.6 million residents, with over 85% of the population residing in the metropolitan areas of Las Vegas and Reno. The state is well known for its easy marriage and divorce proceedings, entertainment, legalized gambling and, in a few counties, legalized brothels.
Etymology and pronunciation
Much of the northern part of the state is within the Great Basin Desert, a mild desert that experiences hot temperatures in the summer and cold temperatures in the winter. Occasionally, moisture from the Arizona Monsoon will cause summer thunderstorms; Pacific storms may blanket the area with snow. The state's highest recorded temperature was 125 ?F (52 ?C) in Laughlin (elevation of 605 feet (184 m)) on June 29, 1994.
The Humboldt River crosses from east to west across the northern part of the state, draining into the Humboldt Sink near Lovelock. Several rivers drain from the Sierra Nevada eastward, including the Walker, Truckee and Carson rivers.
The mountain ranges, some of which have peaks above 13,000 feet (4,000 m), harbor lush forests high above desert plains, creating sky islands for endemic species. The valleys are often no lower in elevation than 3,000 feet (900 m).
The southern third of the state, where the Las Vegas area is situated, is within the Mojave Desert. The area receives less rain in the winter but is closer to the Arizona Monsoon in the summer. The terrain is also lower, mostly below 4,000 feet (1,200 m), creating conditions for hot summer days and cool to chilly winter nights (due to temperatureinversion).
Nevada and California have by far the longest diagonal line (in respect to the cardinal directions) as a state boundary at just over 400 miles (640 km). This line begins in Lake Tahoe nearly 4 miles (6 km) offshore (in the direction of the boundary), and continues to the Colorado River where the Nevada, California, and Arizona boundaries merge 12 miles (19 km) southwest of the Laughlin Bridge.
The largest mountain range in the southern portion of the state is the Spring Mountain Range, just west of Las Vegas. The state's lowest point is along the Colorado River, south of Laughlin.
Las Vegas: Summer daytime highs average 94-104 degrees, and summer nighttime lows average 69-77 degrees. Winter daytime highs average 57-69 degrees, and winter nighttime lows average 37-47 degrees.
Reno: Summer daytime highs average 81-91 degrees, and summer nighttime lows average 43-51 degrees. Winter daytime highs average 45-57 degrees, and winter nighttime lows average 20-29 degrees.
Elko: Summer daytime highs average 78-89 degrees, and summer nighttime lows average 38-48 degrees. Winter daytime highs average 37-51 degrees, and winter nighttime lows average 13-26 degrees.
The separation of the territory from Utah was important to the federal government because of the Nevada population's political leanings, while the population itself was keen to be separated because of animosity (and sometimes violence) between the non-Mormons who dominated Nevada, and the Mormons who dominated the rest of the Utah territory. Animosity between non-Mormon settlers and Mormons was particularly high after the Mountain Meadows massacre of 1857 and the Utah War in 1857-58.
Nevada achieved its current southern boundaries on May 5, 1866 when it absorbed the portion of Pah-Ute County in the Arizona Territory west of the Colorado River, essentially all of present day Nevada south of the 37th parallel. The transfer was prompted by the discovery of gold in the area, and it was thought by officials that Nevada would be better able to oversee the expected population boom. This area includes most of what is now Clark County.
In 1868 another part of the western Utah Territory, whose population was seeking to avoid Mormon dominance, was added to Nevada in the eastern part of the state, setting the current eastern boundary.
Mining shaped Nevada's economy for many years (see Silver mining in Nevada). When Mark Twain lived in Nevada during the period described in Roughing It, mining had led to an industry of speculation and immense wealth. However, both mining and population declined in the late 19th century. However, the rich silver strike at Tonopah in 1900, followed by strikes in Goldfield and Rhyolite, again put Nevada's population on an upward trend.
Gaming and labor
Unregulated gambling was common place in the early Nevada mining towns but outlawed in 1909 as part of a nation-wide anti-gaming crusade. Due to subsequent declines in mining output and the decline of the agricultural sector during the Great Depression, Nevada re-legalized gambling on March 19, 1931, with approval from the legislature. 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 the industry has become Nevada's primary source of revenue today.
The Hoover Dam, located outside Las Vegas near Boulder City, was constructed in the years 1932-1935. Thousands of workers from across the country came to build the dam, and providing for their needs in turn required many more workers. The boom in population is likely to have fueled the re-legalization of gambling, alike present-day industry. Both Hoover Dam and later war industries such as the Basic Magnesium Plant first started the growth of the southern area of the state near Las Vegas. Over the last 75 years, Clark County in Southern Nevada has been experiencing strong population growth and today encompasses most of the state's residents.
Over 80% of the state's area 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 desert 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. This debate continues to be argued among some state historians today.
The center of population of Nevada is located in southern Nye County. This area the unincorporated town of Pahrump located 60 miles (97 km) west of Las Vegas on the California state line has grown 26 times in size from 1980 to 2000. In the year 2006, the town may have over 50,000 permanent residents. Las Vegas was America's fastest-growing city and metropolitan area from 1960 to 2000, but has grown from a gulch of 100 people in 1900 to 10,000 by 1950 to 100,000 by 1970 to have 2.5 million in the metro area today.
According to the census estimates the racial distributions were as follows: 65% White American, 7.1% African-American, 6% Asian-American (estimates placed them at 10%), 2% others (American Indians and Pacific Islanders) and the remaining 20% were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.
Nevada also has a sizable Basque ancestry population. In Douglas and Pershing Counties, a plurality of residents are of Mexican ancestry with Clark County (Las Vegas) being home to over 200,000 Mexican Americans alone; Nye County and Humboldt County have a plurality of Germans; and Washoe County has many of Irish ancestry. Las Vegas is home to rapid-growing ethnic communities like Scandinavians, Italians, Poles, American Jews and Armenians.
Largely African-American sections of Las Vegas ("the Meadows") and Reno can be found, but many African-Americans in Nevada are newly transplanted residents from either California and the East Coast, but the US Armed forces, hotels and domestic services attracted black Americans since the 1950s.
Since the California Gold Rush of the 1850s brought thousands of Chinese miners in Washoe county, Asian Americans lived in the state followed by few hundreds of Japanese farm workers in the late 1800s. In the late 20th century, many immigrants from China, Japan, Korea, Philippines and recently from India and Vietnam came to the Las Vegas metropolitan area with one of America's most prolific Asian-American communities, with a mostly Chinese and Taiwanese area known as "Chinatown" west of I-15 on Spring Mountain Boulevard, and an "Asiatown" shopping mall for Asian customers on Charleston Avenue/Paradise Boulevard.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 16.19% of the population aged 5 and over speak Spanish at home, while 1.59% speak Filipino and 1% speak Chinese languages, the majority of foreign languages are found in ethnic sections of Central Las Vegas.
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. As a result of its rapid population growth, Nevada has a higher percentage of residents born outside of the state than any other state. Las Vegas was a major destination for immigrants seeking employment by the gaming and hospitality industries from South Asia and Latin America during the 1990s and 2000s, but farming and construction is the biggest employer of immigrant labor.
From about the 1940s to 2003, Nevada was the fastest-growing state in the US percentage-wise. Between 1990 and 2000, Nevada's population increased 66.3%, while the USA's population increased 13.1%. Over two thirds of the population of the state live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area.
* Roman Catholic - 27%
The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 331,844; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 116,925; and the Southern Baptist Convention with 40,233. 77,100 Nevadans belong to Jewish congregations.
In portions of the state outside of the Las Vegas and Reno metropolitan areas, mining and cattle ranching are the major economic activities. By value, gold is by far the most important mineral mined. In 2004, 6.8 million ounces of gold worth $2.84 billion were mined in Nevada, and the state accounted for 8.7% of world gold production (see Gold mining in Nevada). Silver is a distant second, with 10.3 million ounces worth $69 million mined in 2004 (see Silver mining in Nevada). Other minerals mined in Nevada include construction aggregates, copper, gypsum, diotomite and lithium. Despite its rich deposits, the cost of mining in Nevada is generally high, and output is very sensitive to world commodity prices.
As of January 1, 2006 there were an estimated 500,000 head of cattle and 70,000 head of sheep in Nevada. Most of these animals forage on rangeland in the summer, with supplemental feed in the winter. Calves are generally shipped to out-of-state feedlots in the fall to be fattened for market. Over 90% of Nevada's 484,000 acres (1,960 km2) of cropland is used to grow hay, mostly alfalfa, for livestock feed.
Nevada is also one of only a few states with no personal income tax and no corporate income tax. The state sales tax in Nevada is 6.5%. Counties can assess option taxes as well, making the combined state/county sales taxes rate in some areas as high as 7.75%. Sales tax in Carson City is 7.125% in Clark County 7.75%, in Washoe County 7.375%, while sales tax in Douglas County is 6.75%.
Union Pacific Railroad has some railroads in the north and in the south. Greyhound Lines provides some bus services.
Interstate 15 passes through the southern tip of the state, serving Las Vegas and other communities. I-215 and spur route I-515 also serve the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Interstate 80 crosses through the northern part of Nevada, roughly following the path of the Humboldt River from Utah in the east and passing westward through Reno and into California. It has a spur route, I-580. Nevada also is served by several federal highways: US 6, US 50, US 93, US 95 and US 395. There are also 189 Nevada state highways. Nevada is one of a few states in the U.S. that does not have a continuous interstate highway linking its major population centers of Reno/Carson City and Las Vegas. Even the non-interstate federal highways aren't contiguous between its two largest metropolitan areas, though they are well marked by signs showing where to turn.
The state is one of just a few in the country that allow semi-trailer trucks with three trailers-what might be called a "road train" in Australia. However, American versions are usually smaller, in part because they must ascend and descend some fairly steep mountain passes.
Citizens Area Transit (CAT) is the public transit system in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The agency is the largest transit agency in the state and operates a network of bus service across the Las Vegas Valley, including the use of double-decker buses on the Las Vegas Strip and a few outlying routes. RTC RIDE operates a system of local transit bus service throughout the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area. Other transit systems in the state include Carson City's JAC. Most other counties in the state do not have public transportation at all.
Additionally, a four mile monorail system provides public transportation in the Las Vegas area. The Las Vegas Monorail line services several casino properties and the Las Vegas Convention Center on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip, running near Paradise Road, with a possible future extension to McCarran Airport. Several hotels also run their own monorail lines between each other, which are typically several blocks in length.
McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is one of the busiest airports in the nation. The Reno-Tahoe International Airport (formerly known as the Reno Cannon International Airport) is the other major airport in the state.
Law and government
The state supreme court is the Supreme Court of Nevada. Unlike other state supreme courts, the Supreme Court of Nevada lacks the power of discretionary review, so it must hear all appeals; as a result, Nevada's judicial system is congested.
There have been several articles accusing judges in Nevada of making biased or favored decisions as the result of case outcomes and reporting done by the Los Angeles Times newspaper (in which it raised the issue of justice for sale).
Original jurisdiction is divided between the District Courts (with general jurisdiction), and Justice Courts and Municipal Courts (both of limited jurisdiction).
"Nevada, in a burst of ingenuity, built an economy by exploiting its sovereignty. Nevada began to legalize or liberalize various institutions in comparison to other states including neighboring California."
Prostitution is legal in some parts of Nevada (under the form of licensed brothels). It is, however, illegal in Clark County, which contains Las Vegas; Washoe County, which contains Reno; Carson City; and some other counties.
Drug and alcohol laws
Nevada has very liberal alcohol laws. Bars are permitted to remain open 24 hours, with no "last call". Liquor stores, convenience stores and supermarkets may also sell alcohol 24 hours per day, and may sell beer, wine and spirits.
Clark and Washoe counties-home to Las Vegas and Reno, respectively-have long dominated the state's politics. Between them, they cast 87 percent of Nevada's vote, and elect a substantial majority of the state legislature. The great majority of the state's elected officials are either from Las Vegas or Reno.
Registration is nearly evenly split between the two major parties. According to official statistics, 38.1% of voters are registered Republicans, 41.7% are Democrats and the remaining 20.1% are considered Independents. As a result, Nevada remains a swing state in both state and federal politics. Democrat Bill Clinton won the state in the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections, Republican George W. Bush won in 2000 and 2004, and Democrat Barack Obama won the state in 2008.
Nevada has voted for the winner in every presidential election since 1908, except in 1976 when it voted for Gerald Ford over Jimmy Carter. This gives the state status as a political bell whether.
The state's U. S. Senators are Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, and Republican John Ensign, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Both are from Las Vegas. The Governorship is held by Jim Gibbons, a Republican from Reno.
Unincorporated towns are settlements eminently governed by the county in which they are located, but who, by local referendum or by the act of the county commission, can form limited local governments in the form of a Town Advisory Board (TAB)/ Citizens Advisory Council (CAC), or a Town Board.
Town Advisory Boards and Citizens Advisory Councils are formed purely by act of the county commission. Consisting of three to five members, these elected boards form a purely advisory role, and in no way diminish the responsibilities of the county commission that creates them. Members of advisory councils and boards are elected to two year terms, and serve without compensation. The councils and boards, themselves, are provided no revenue, and oversee no budget.
Town Boards are limited local governments created by either the local county commission, or by referendum. The board consists of five members elected to four-year terms. Half the board is required to be up for election in each election. The board elects from within its ranks a town chairperson and town clerk. While more powerful than Town Advisory Boards and Citizens Advisory Councils, they also serve a largely advisory role, with their funding provided by their local county commission. The local county commission has the power to put before residents of the town a vote on whether to keep or dissolve a town board at any general election. Town boards have the ability to appoint a town manager if they choose to do so.
10 richest places in Nevada
Ranked by per capita income
1. Incline Village-Crystal Bay $52,521 Washoe County, Nevada
??? * Nevada System of Higher Education
??? * California National Historic Trail
UNLV is most remembered for their basketball program, which experienced its height of supremacy in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Coached by Jerry Tarkanian, the Runnin' Rebels became one of the most elite programs in the country. In 1990, UNLV won the Men's Division I Championship by defeating Duke University 103-73, which set tournament records for most points scored by a team and largest margin of victory in the national title game. In 1991, UNLV finished the regular season undefeated. Forward Larry Johnson won several awards, including the Naismith Award. UNLV reached the Final Four yet again, but lost their national semifinal against Duke 79-77, and is referred to as one of the biggest upsets in the NCAA Tournament. The Runnin' Rebels were the Associated Press pre-season #1 back to back (1989-90, 1990-91). North Carolina is the only other team to accomplish that (2007-08, 2008-09).
Complete List of Nevada sports teams.
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