Nevada is a state located in the western region of the United States of America. The capital is Carson City and the largest city is Las Vegas.
The state’s nickname is “The Silver State” due to the large number of silver deposits that were discovered and mined there.
In 1864, Nevada became the 36th state to enter the union, and the phrase “Battle Born” on the state flag reflects the state’s entry on the Union side during the American Civil War.
Its first settlement was called Mormon Station.
Nevada is the seventh-largest state in area, and geographically covers the Mojave Desert in the south to the Great Basin in the north.
About 86% of the state’s land is owned by the US federal government under various jurisdictions both civilian and military.
As of 2006, there were about 2.6 million residents, with over 85% of the population residing in the metropolitan areas around Las Vegas and Reno.
The state is well known for its easy marriage and divorce proceedings, legalization of gambling and, in a few counties, legalized brothels.
Although the name is derived from the Spanish word Nevada, which is the feminine form of “covered in snow”, the local pronunciation of the state’s name is not IPA: (as in the “o” in “odd”), but IPA: [nvæ.d] (as in the “a” in “glad”).
In 2005, the state issued a specialty license plate via the Nevada Commission on Tourism that lists the name of the state as Nevăda to help with the pronunciation problem.
Local residents – particularly natives of the state – resent hearing Nevada’s name mispronounced in the national media, a problem that has crystallized with increased coverage of the state following the 2008 Presidential Primary Elections.
Nevada is almost entirely within the Basin and Range Province, and therefore is broken up by many north-south mountain ranges.
Most of these ranges have inland-draining (unconnected to the ocean by waterways) valleys between them, which belies the image portrayed by the term Great Basin.
Much of the northern part of the state is within the Great Basin Desert, a mild desert that experiences hot temperatures in the summer and sub-freezing temperatures in the winter.
Occasionally, moisture from the Arizona Monsoon will cause summer thunderstorms; Pacific storms may blanket the area with snow. The state’s highest recorded temperature was 125 °F (52 °C) in Laughlin (elevation of 605 feet (184 m)) on 29 June 1994.
The Humboldt River crosses from east to west across the northern part of the state, draining into the Humboldt Sink near Lovelock.
Several rivers drain from the Sierra Nevada eastward, including the Walker, Truckee and Carson rivers.
The mountain ranges, some of which have peaks above 13,000 feet (4,000 m), harbor lush forests high above desert plains, creating sky islands for endemic species. The valleys are often no lower in elevation than 3,000 feet (900 m).
The eastern parts of the state receive more summer moisture and have a slightly more verdant terrain.
Sagebrush grows everywhere and some rivers and streams break the desert terrain.
The southern third of the state, where the Las Vegas area is situated, is within the Mojave Desert. The area receives less rain in the winter but is closer to the Arizona Monsoon in the summer. The terrain is also lower, mostly below 4,000 feet (1,200 m), creating conditions for hot summer days and cool to chilly winter nights due to inversion.
Nevada and California have by far the longest diagonal line (in respect to the cardinal directions) as a state boundary at just over 400 miles (640 km). This line begins in Lake Tahoe nearly 4 miles (6 km) offshore (in the direction of the boundary), and continues to the Colorado River where the Nevada, California, and Arizona boundaries merge 12 miles (19 km) southwest of the Laughlin Bridge.
The largest mountain range in the southern portion of the state is the Spring Mountains, just west of Las Vegas. The state’s lowest point is along the Colorado River, south of Laughlin.
On March 2, 1861, the Nevada Territory separated from the Utah territory and adopted its current name, shortened from Sierra Nevada (Spanish for “snowy range”).
Eight days prior to the presidential election of 1864, Nevada became the 36th state in the union. Statehood was rushed to the date of October 31 to help ensure Abraham Lincoln’s reelection on 8 November and post-Civil War Republican dominance in Congress.
As Nevada’s mining-based economy tied it to the more industrialized Union, it was viewed as more politically reliable than other Confederate-sympathizing states such as neighboring California. It is a common misconception that one of the reasons Nevada was granted statehood was its large deposits of silver and gold.
This is merely a myth, however, and would have been illogical in that Congress had unlimited control over these resources when Nevada was a territory and only limited control after Nevada became a state.
Nevada achieved its current boundaries on May 5, 1866 when it absorbed the portion of Pah-Ute County in the Arizona Territory west of the Colorado River, essentially all of present day Nevada south of the 37th parallel.
The transfer was prompted by the discovery of gold in the area, and it was thought by officials that Nevada would be better able to oversee the expected population boom. This area includes most of what is now Clark County.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Nevada’s total state product in 2006 was $117 billion. Resort areas such as Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, attract visitors from around the world.
Per capita personal income in 2005 was $46,108, 11th in the nation. Its agricultural outputs are cattle, hay, alfalfa, dairy products, onions and potatoes.
Its industrial outputs are tourism, mining, machinery, printing and publishing, food processing, and electric equipment. Prostitution is legal in parts of Nevada, in the form of brothels, but only counties with populations under 400,000 residents can legalize it, and even those counties may choose to outlaw it if they wish.
Prostitution is illegal and offenders are prosecuted in Clark County (where Las Vegas is), Washoe County (where Reno is), and several other counties around the state.
In portions of the state outside of the Las Vegas and Reno metropolitan areas, mining and cattle ranching are the major economic activities. By value, gold is by far the most important mineral mined.
In 2004, 6.8 million ounces of gold worth $2.84 billion were mined in Nevada, and the state accounted for 8.7% of world gold production (see Gold mining in Nevada).
Silver is a distant second, with 10.3 million ounces worth $69 million mined in 2004 (see Silver mining in Nevada).
Other minerals mined in Nevada include construction aggregates, copper, gypsum, diotomite and lithium.
Despite its rich deposits, the cost of mining in Nevada is generally high, and output is very sensitive to world commodity prices.
As of January 1, 2006 there were an estimated 500,000 head of cattle and 70,000 head of sheep in Nevada.
Most of these animals forage on rangeland in the summer, with supplemental feed in the winter. Calves are generally shipped to out-of-state feedlots in the fall to be fattened for market. Over 90% of Nevada’s 484,000 acres (1,960 km²) of cropland is used to grow hay, mostly alfalfa, for livestock feed.
Nevada is also one of only a few states with no personal income tax and no corporate income tax.
The state sales tax in Nevada is 6.5%. Counties can assess option taxes as well, making the combined state/county sales taxes rate in some areas as high as 7.75%.
Sales tax in Carson City is 7.125% in Clark County 7.75%, in Washoe County 7.375%, while sales tax in Douglas County is 6.75%.