Las Vegas


Las Vegas

The history of Las Vegas covers both the City of Las Vegas, as well as the Las Vegas Valley. In 1829, a New Mexico trading party by the name of Raphael Rivera, coined Las Vegas as he used water from the area as he headed north along the Old Spanish Trail. There were artisan wells in small parts of the valley that supported green areas, which is how the name Las Vegas was formed. Las Vegas is Spanish for “the meadows”. In the early 20th century, water was piped from these wells creating room for growth as it provided a reliable source of fresh water and a means of additional growth. In 1930, the population grew as a result of the production of the Hoover dam. People began to move to Las Vegas in search of work building the dam. With the advancement in population and the large number of males moving into the area for work, the need for entertainment grew. Local business owners, Mafia crime lords, and Mormon financiers, helped to develop casinos and showgirl live shows to entertain the dam crew.

As they realized the profitability of running casinos, Nevada legalized gambling on the local level in 1931. Las Vegas would begin making its mark in the gaming industry. Hoover Dam and its reservoir became a tourist attraction, and eventually the need for higher class hotels became a necessity. As the gambling and casino business grew, interest developed among mobsters who wanted a piece of the action. With institutional lending and money provided by the Mormon bankers and the Teamsters Union, they were able to build casinos such as: The Riviera, the Sahara, the Sands, the New Frontier, the Royal Nevada, the Showboat, the Fremont, Binion’s Horseshoe (or the Apache Hotel), and eventually The Tropicana.

A problem that occurred in Las Vegas is that the Strip did not reside in Las Vegas Proper, which resulted in the loss of tax revenue. There was a push to annex the city, but it did not happen. Las Vegas was made an unincorporated township and as a result they were not allowed to become annexed by law. To this very day, Las Vegas Strip remains outside the limits of Las Vegas.

As with every other state in the early part of the 1900’s, African Americans were not allowed into the venues in Las Vegas. However, as time grew things began to change. At some point, they realized that there were no advantages to excluding non-white customers from spending money in the establishments.

In the course of time, America had suffered from a great deal of setbacks including wars and recession, which caused a slowing down of growth and opportunity for Las Vegas. However, times are seeing a turnaround. As the economy began to recover, so did Las Vegas which eventually became the most famous gambling destination in the world. To give you an idea of how popular Las Vegas has become as an international entertainment and gambling destination, according to Las Vegas statistical reports, 39,727,022 people visited Las Vegas in 2012. Bear in mind that the total population of Las Vegas in 2012 was only 596,424.

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