America’s western state of Nevada is known for many things, iconic scenery, Area 51, and having 50,000 square miles of desert.
The state is also known for having a rich history and culture that includes Native American tribes, Atomic bombs, gambling, Spanish explorers, and more.
Keep reading to explore Nevada’s diverse and interesting past and culture.
Native American Heritage
Before European settlers arrived in Nevada, the area was home to at least four federally recognized Native American tribes, the Washoe, Northern Paiute, Southern Paiute, and Western Shoshone.
These tribes were deeply rooted in the land and used skills such as fishing, hunting, and gathering for self-sustainable living. Each tribe is known for its own set of incredible skills which are still appreciated today.
The Washoe people are known for their basket weaving, which is thought to be among some of the best in the world.
The Northern Paiute people are known for their petroglyph rock carving which tells stories detailing their history.
The Southern Paiute people are known for their music and dance.
The Western Shoshone people are known for beadwork which is often used in clothing and accessories.
Luckily, Nevada takes action to preserve these Native American cultures by enforcing laws that protect their landmarks, graves, and sovereignty. Nevada also celebrates Native American cultures with festivals, museums, and events.
Mining and the Comstock Lode
Nevada is known as the “silver state” because of the riches that came from mining the Comstock Lode, a lode of silver ore located under Mount Davidson in Virginia City.
In 1859, the Comstock Lode was discovered and miners quickly found that the ore was one of the largest silver and gold deposits of its time. This realization attracted thousands of miners and entrepreneurs from around the world.
The discovery of the Comstock Lode brought many great things to Nevada such as infrastructure and wealth that helped fund the civil war. Nevada mineral deposits have remained one of the state’s most valuable resources. Today, Nevada is the leading producer of gold, silver, and lithium.
Tourists and locals may visit the Comstock Lode and even take a guided tour featuring antique equipment, square-set timbering, and silver ore itself.
During the 18th century, Spanish exploration began in Nevada. With the hopes of discovering new territories and wealth, notable explorers such as Fransico Garcés and Antonio Armijo ventured to the area.
During their journey, major contributions were made that eventually led to the statehood of Nevada.
Francisco Garcés traveled through the Mojave Desert and into the western regions of the state. His maps and reports of the land provided information on the terrain, and its indigenous people.
Antonia Armijo led an expedition known as the Armijo route, which was a trade route connecting California, Santa Fe, and New Mexico. This route became a valued and important corridor for trade and exploration.
Military Bases and Atomic Bombs
Historically, Nevada has been home to many prominent military bases such as the Nellis Air Force Base, Hawthorne Army Depot, and Fallon Navy Air Station, which serve as advanced training centers.
Nevada also has the Nevada Test Site, also known as the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS).
The NNSS located in Southeastern Nevada, was established in 1951 to test nuclear devices. At this site, over 900 nuclear tests took place, including both atmospheric and underground tests with the last underground test taking place in 1992.
The work and training completed on the military bases and the NNSS played a major role in the trajectory of America’s military future and success.
The state’s present-day culture primarily consists of its entertainment scene.
Las Vegas is the most notable entertainment area and is often referred to as the entertainment capital of the world. Vegas is home to world-class shows, casinos, concerts, magic acts, comedy clubs, and more.
Reno is another well-known town in Vegas. Reno is referred to as the “biggest little city in the world” and features its own music and art scene that attracts millions annually. Reno is also where many Native American Festivals and PowWows take place.
Additionally, Nevada was one of the first states to hop on board with the legalization of marijuana, which means that for over two decades, the cannabis entertainment scene has been evolving. Throughout the state, you find hundreds of cannabis lounges and dispensaries that attract tourists from all over America. For information on obtaining a Nevada MMJ, visit MarijuanaDoctors.com.
Nevada’s gambling has been a part of its identity since the early years of its statehood.
The first gambling establishments such as saloons and gambling halls began to appear in the mining towns of Comstock Lode and before long, gambling was a common pastime throughout the state.
Gambling became illegal in Nevada between 1909 and 1931, but it was still widely practiced. Therefore, when the great depression began taking a toll on Nevada’s economy, they were able to give it an enormous boost by making gambling legal again. This decision is what led to Las Vegas becoming the gambling capital of the world.
Today, Nevada’s multi-billion dollar gambling industry attracts between 40-50 million tourists annually.