The Fascinating Past Of Sin City

history of Las Vegas

Sin City is an extremely interesting place to visit, to gamble, to have fun. The history of Las Vegas is just as interesting. Learning a little bit about this Nevada city’s past will give you an extra appreciation of The Strip and beyond.

10,000 years of Las Vegas history

The history of Las Vegas, of course, starts in the Mojave Desert. Over 10,000 years ago, Native American tribes came to this area. And archaeological evidence reveals that there were major settlements here from at least 2,000 years ago.

A Mexican scout called Ravael Rivera is credited as the first non-Native American on record to visit the area, back in 1829. The city of Las Vegas was officially founded in 1905, its name meaning The Meadows in Spanish. The very next year, Hotel Nevada opened and with that, Las Vegas got its first hotel. It is, in fact, still operating under the name the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino.

And in 1911, Las Vegas became incorporated as a city.

1920s prohibition and 1930s legalization

People were gambling in Vegas long before it was legalized. During the 1920s prohibition era, the Northern Club (which first opened in 1913 under the name the Las Vegas Coffee House) was known as a hotspot for drinking and gambling illegally.

However, gambling in casinos was legalized in the state of Nevada from 1931 and, of course, the Northern Club became the first spot to get a Nevada gaming licence. However, it was only when the population started to increase that people started to truly capitalize on gambling in Vegas.

Post-war years

The population of Las Vegas slowly climbed up in its first fifty years or so. But in the post-war years, people started flocking here at a pace thanks to large scale construction nearby and military bases. One of those military operations was the Nevada Test Site, where nuclear weapons were tested just miles away from Las Vegas. It was so close by that you could see the mushroom clouds from the strip. During this time, Vegas was nicknamed Atomic City. Overground testing ceased in 1963, but the name stuck around a little longer than that.

During the 1950s, luxury casinos and hotels started opening to cater to the new locals and visitors from further afield.

The 1960s golden age of Las Vegas

From the 1960s, gambling and Las Vegas were firmly established as a match made in heaven (or Sin City, as the case may be). This is when the Strip and surrounding areas started to take shape into what we recognize as classic Las Vegas.

Betty Willis designed one of the most iconic pieces of Las Vegas architecture and in 1959, it was put up for the first time. The classic Welcome to Las Vegas sign. Howard Hughes built lavish and ambitious complexes. The 1960s was an exciting time in the history of Las Vegas.

1990s to the present day

From 1990 to 2000, the population nearly doubled in less than a decade. Now the metropolitan area of Las Vegas has over 2,000,000 residents, while 650,000 people call the city itself home.

Of course we can’t all up sticks and check out Las Vegas whenever we want. But we do think it’s somewhere everyone should try to visit at least once in their life. However, you can get a little flavor of Las Vegas from the comfort of your own home by heading to an online casino.

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