Nevada is the seventh-largest of the 50 states but is one of the most sparsely populated. Carson City, in the western part of the state, is the capital. Gambling is legal in Nevada, and Las Vegas, the state’s largest city, is known internationally for its opulent casinos and as an entertainment destination. Nevada is also home to the Hoover Dam, which was the single largest public works project in the history of the United States, and Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the country.

Date of Statehood: October 31, 1864

Capital: Carson City

Population: 2,770,551 (2010)

Size: 110,572 square miles

Nickname(s): Battle-Born State; Sagebrush State; Silver State

Motto: All for Our Country

Tree: Single-Leaf Piñon and Bristlecone Pine

Flower: Sagebrush

Bird: Mountain Bluebird

Interesting Facts

  • Nevada’s Berlin-Icthyosaur State Park contains the largest known Shonisaurus popularis ichthyosaur fossils. These extinct marine reptiles, which ranged in size from 2 feet to over 50 feet long, swam in the ocean that covered central Nevada 225 million years ago during the Triassic Period.
  • Nevada was the first state to ratify the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave African-American men the right to vote, on March 1, 1869.
  • Discovered near Virginia City in June 1859, the Comstock Lode produced about $36 million worth of silver ore each year from 1876 to 1878. By 1882, the Comstock had produced more than $300 million in both gold and silver.
  • Although legal between 1869 and 1910, gambling was banned in Nevada in October 1910. Much like the national prohibition on alcohol that soon followed, the law was largely ignored as machines, wheels and tables simply moved to more discreet locations. On March 19, 1931, in the midst of the Great Depression, gambling was re-legalized.
  • Located in a remote desert northwest of Las Vegas, Area 51 was established in 1955 by the Central Intelligence Agency to develop and test covert military projects. One of those projects resulted in the Archangel-12 (A-12) stealth plane, which traveled at speeds of over 2,000 miles an hour and could traverse the continental U.S. in 70 minutes. After only a year in active service, the A-12 was decommissioned in 1968.
  • Nevada is the fourth-largest producer of gold in the world following China, Australia and South Africa, and supplies three-quarters of all gold mined in the United States.
  • The federal government owns nearly 85 percent of all land within Nevada.
  • In 1864, in an effort to hasten its admission to the union, Nevada’s entire state constitution was sent to Washington, D.C., by telegram.