By Adel Awwad
Las Vegas can be found in the western United States and is
located in the state of Nevada. Las Vegas, Spanish for 'The
Meadows', was originally discovered in 1829 by a party of
explorers led by Antonio Armijo, a Mexican trader searching
a route to Los Angeles. Before the discovery of the valley the
route, Las Vegas was referred to as the 'journey of death'.
However, exploration for water revealed an abundance of
in the valley that reduced the journey by several days.
Las Vegas remained virtually unknown until 1844, when explorer
John C. Fremont, made an entry in his travel log detailing how
his expedition camped at the springs. Nevertheless, it was
another ten years before Las Vegas became a permanent
settlement for Mormon missionaries from Salt Lake City. They
built a fort to create a mail stop between Los Angeles and
Lake City, becoming the first non-Indian settlement to do so.
was also the Mormons' intention to teach farming to the Paiute
Indians. However, in 1857 this was abandoned when the Paiutes
raided the fort and rejected their teachings.
In 1902, U.S. Senator William Clark from Montana bought the
rights to the Mormon settlement, along with water rights and
2,000 acres of land. It was his intention to develop a town
he managed to construct a railroad for steam locomotives.
The town was officially founded in 1905 and incorporated in
1911 with a population of only 800. Initially strict
anti-gambling laws governed the state of Nevada but this all
changed in 1931 when gambling was legalized throughout the
state of Nevada. That same year divorce laws were liberalized
in Nevada, making Las Vegas the place to obtain a divorce
only six weeks of residency.
It was after World War II that Las Vegas began to develop its
reputation of 'Sin City'. Hotels and casinos were developed
entertainment and tourism became the valley's largest
Accordingly, by the 1960s wealthy businessmen were being
attracted to the city. Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian was a major
player in developing the modern city; he bought the Flamingo
and in 1968 opened the biggest hotel in the world, the
Now, a hundred years after its conception, Las Vegas is one of
the largest cities of the 20th Century with a population
exceeding two million. Wonderful resorts are still being
created, all bigger and more luxurious than ever. Finally, Las
Vegas remains the strongest contender for the world's major
international tourist attraction.
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