Las Vegas, Nevada History

Discover The Amazing History Of Las Vegas, Nevada

When it comes to a city in the world that is unique beyond comparison, then it has to be Las Vegas. Built in a valley in the middle of a hot and dry desert, Vegas has a rich history, even though its life has been relatively short. The first time the area was referred to as Las Vegas was back in 1829 when Raphael Rivera, who was a Mexican Scout, stopped there for water on his way to Los Angeles. The old Spanish trail passed through the valley from New Mexico to California. Las Vegas in Spanish actually means the meadows.

The marshland in the valley, which is where the traders stopped for water, are now used to filter used water prior to it running into the Colorado River. The natural wetlands still host diverse flora and fauna to this day. Evidence of Native Americans living in the valley dates back around 10,000 years. Petroglyphs and pictographs can be found all around the area, such as those in Red Rock Canyon. Archaeologists have discovered many artifacts from the time before westerners first appeared in the area.

When trade routes were established in the area, the Las Vegas area was still part of Mexico. When war broke out with Mexico, it was Las Vegas Springs where the US army based itself. This gave them access to water and the trade trails, and ensured that they had plenty of supplies. After the war, the area became part of the United States, and the fort was used by traders. It was not until 1855 when William Bringhurst, a Mormon, arrived in the area that a true settlement started to appear, although he returned to Utah after a couple of years as he could not handle the heat.

The fort changed hands during the American Civil War, but by 1865, the US government was back in control, and a truce had been made with the Native Americans in the area. The population grew slowly, and it was not until 1905 that the Las Vegas everyone knows of today started to appear. The railroad helped to bring in many more settlers, and expansion was quick to follow. In 1930, President Hoover gave the authority for a dam to be built. It was initially supposed to be called Boulder Dam, but was later renamed to honor the President.

By 1931, the population had grown to over twenty-five thousand. With so many men in the area who worked on the dam, illegal gambling happened on a large scale, mostly run by the mafia. To try and take back control, gambling was legalized on a local level so that business could benefit from the profits. Many of the original casinos were built in the early 1950’s, and some still stand to this day. These days, Vegas is in a continual renewal process with old casinos demolished, and new ones built. Its future looks assured, and millions visit the city every year.