The name Nevada is derived from the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains, which means "snow-capped mountain range" in Spanish. The land comprising the modern state was inhabited by Native Americans of the Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe tribes prior to European contact. It was subsequently claimed by Spain as a part of Alta California until the Mexican War of Independence brought it under Mexican control. The United States gained the territory in 1848 following its victory in the Mexican-American War and the area was eventually incorporated as part of Utah Territory in 1850. The discovery of silver at the Comstock Lode in 1859 led to a population boom that was an impetus to the creation of Nevada Territory out of western Utah Territory in 1861. Nevada became the 36th state on October 31, 1864.
Nevada has 110,561 square miles which is largely arid desert land. Approximately 86% of the state's land is owned by the US government under various jurisdictions, both civilian and military.
The Old Spanish Trail (1829-1848) passed through the southeastern part of the state. Starting with the California Gold Rush, The California Trail and its variants passed through the northern portion of the state. (See The California Trail through the Great Basin, at Wikipedia.) Later the Pony Express Trail (1860-1861) passed through the middle of this state.
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Updated March 20, 2015
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The flanking images in the header banner were created originally by POOF then modified by me. The headframe image in the center is by Lydia Warner Miller, Fine Art America. The background tartan in the footer logo is the Nevada State Tartan, adopted in 2001.
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