State: Nevada – NVPublished on September 2nd, 2015 | by Brandon Ramsey in Geography
The state of Nevada is abbreviated NV. It is located in the conjunction of the Western, Mountain West, and Southwestern regions of the United States. It is the 7th largest and 35th most populated of the 50 U.S. States. Inversely, is if the 9th least densely populated.
Today we’ll take a look at the geography, history, and demographics of this state in more detail. First however, we will examine some key information that you should know:
- State abbreviation: NV
- Capital: Carson City
- Nickname: Silver State is the official name (others include Sagebrush State and Battle Born State)
- State Motto: All for Our Country
- Admitted to the Union: October 31, 1864 (36th, also Halloween)
- State Flower: Sagebrush
- Tree: Bristlecone Pine
- Bird: Mountain Bluebird
- Animal: Desert Bighorn Sheep
- Fish: Lahontan cutthroat trout
- Reptile: Desert Tortoise
- State website: nv.gov
An Overview of Nevada
Nearly three-fourths of the population in the state lives in the Clark County area. This also happens to be where the state’s largest incorporated cities are located. The nickname “The Silver State” was chosen since silver is a huge part of the state’s history and economy.
Other nicknames like the “Battle Born State” come from the fact that it statehood was given during the Civil War. The “Sagebrush State” comes from the native plants of the same name.
A large portion of the state is located within the Great Basin. Over 86% of the land is managed by various jurisdictions of the federal government, including civilian and military. Prior to the settlement of Europeans, there were tribes of Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe tribes living in the area.
The name was given to the area because of the snow that covered the mountains in winter. It was annexed to the United States from Mexico after the Mexican-American War. Originally it was part of the Utah Territory, but the discovery of silver at the Comstock Lode in 1859 led to the creation of the Nevada Territory in 1861.
In the year 1900, there were just 40,000 people in the state. The legalization of gambling and the inclusion of lenient marriage and divorce laws made the area a major tourist destination. It is also the only U.S. State where prostitution is legal, though it cannot be practiced in Reno or Las Vegas.
NV Geographical Features and Climate
The state is located almost entirely within the Great Basin and Range Province, broken apart by north-south mountain ranges. These mountain often have large valleys between them, which lent the concept for the name “Great Basin.”
Several major rivers in the state include the Walker, Truckee, and Carson. Many drain into the Humboldt Sink near Lovelock. While much of the state is composted of deserts, the mountain ranges which reach as high as 13,000 feet, have thick forests that grow above the desert plains below known as sky islands.
The southern portion of the state where Las Vegas is located, is within the Mojave Desert. This area has very little rain in the winter, but rains a lot during the summer. The highest point in the state is in the south in the Spring Mountain Range. The lowest point is along the Colorado River.
This is the driest state in the U.S. Temperatures during the summer can go as high as 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter temperatures can go as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit. The average amount of rainfall each year ranges from 7 inches to almost 40 inches in various parts of the state.
Francisco Garcés was the first European to set foot in the area. The area was annexed as part of the Spanish Empire afterward. After being formed as part of Western Utah, the territory then became the 36th state in the union. It’s statehood was rushed up to October 31st to ensure Abraham Lincoln’s reelection on November 8th.
This is one of only two states that expanded its borders after being admitted to the Union, the other being Missouri. Since mining was such a a large part of the economy, mining towns were prominent in the state. This resulted in a rash of unregulated gambling in these mining towns. The state tried to fix this by banned gambling after it showed a decrease in productivity and output.
This didn’t fix anything, and during the Great Depression, the state legalized gambling again in 1931. This was followed by Governor Fred B. Balzar’s extremely liberal divorce laws. This came eight days after the government presented a $49 million dollar contract for the Boulder Dam (now known as the Hoover Dam).
The Nevada Test Site is 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. It was founded on January 11, 1951 as a place to test nuclear weapons. It is 1,350 square miles of desert and mountainous area. Official testing began with a 1 kiloton of TNT bomb which was dropped on Frenchman Flat in 1951. Testing continued until 1992 and to this day the location is known for having the highest concentration of nuclear-detonated weapons in the nation.
Demographics and Major Cities
As of 2014, the estimated population of the state was 2,839,099. From 1960 to 2000, Las Vegas was the fastest-growing city in America. In terms of major cities, the top ten are the following:
- Las Vegas
- North Las Vegas
- Sunrise Manor
- Spring Valley
- Carson City
While most of the population lives in urban areas, the rural portions of the state offer a completely different scenario. In this places, much of the population is composed of people who are native to the state. In the urban areas like Las Vegas, this is not the case.
Mining plays a major role in these areas, tourism takes a backseat to things like ranching and mining. There are a wide variety of cultures and nationalities that make up the people of the state. Here are some examples of the various ones as of a 2009 survey:
In terms of religion, there is a presence of Mormons, Roman Catholics, and Evangelicals in the state. A large portion of the elderly adult population is made up of American Jews. Beyond these, there are populations of Southern Baptists, Buddhists, and Muslims as well.
The next step in your journey of knowledge is to check out our page of Nevada state facts. Before you go, tell us some things you know about this state in the comments below!