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Nevada facts and history plus travel and tourism information.
Nevada's barren deserts and rugged mountains were once inhabited by the Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe tribes. The Spanish, during the 17th century, were the first Europeans to arrive, but Nevada was later given up to the United States in 1848, following the US-Mexican War. When silver was discovered in 1849, prospectors flocked to Nevada. Many of the mining towns of yesteryear are ghost towns today, but mining still contributes to the state's economy.
The Great Basin Desert and Mojave Desert dominate the land, discouraging human settlement. Cacti, Joshua trees, sagebrush, and yucca plants grow in the desert sands, and rattlesnakes, bobcats, antelope, and deer are among the few species of wildlife that survive in these arid conditions.
Las Vegas is Nevada's major attraction, drawing about 40 million gamblers and curious tourists each year. Slot machines, neon lights, and hopes to get rich quickly characterize this famous city. North of Carson City, Reno is another gaming destination with various recreational activities.
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Nevada History and Geography