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Explore the States Nevada
Photo of reconstruction at the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park
Reconstruction of bastion and walls at the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park, January 2000

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Re-Discover Nevada 2000
A Local Legacy

If you think of Nevada only as the state where the city of Las Vegas is located, you'd be ignoring its long and interesting history. Originally, many Native American tribes occupied the area that is now Nevada. Ancient Native American culture goes back at least 10,000 years, and still today, the state is home to more than a dozen tribes.

In 1855, a group of Mormon missionaries were the first non-natives to settle in the Las Vegas Valley. They built an adobe fort, which is now a museum. The area appealed to them because of the valley located along the Old Spanish Trail. In fact, Las Vegas means "the meadows" in Spanish.

In addition to the Mormons, pioneers moving westward sometimes settled in the area, and the Pony Express riders cut through hundreds of miles of what is now Nevada to deliver mail. After the discovery of large gold and silver deposits in 1859, more people arrived in the hopes of striking it rich. In the early 1900s, Las Vegas became a railroad town and then in the 1930s the town grew further when gambling was legalized.

Nevada is an attractive place to live for a lot of people. It grew by a whopping 66 percent from 1990 to 2000 -- the fastest of any state.

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