A Brief History
of Las Vegas
The name Las Vegas comes from Spanish for "the
meadows". The land was originally the home to the
Navajo and other nomadic American Indians. In 1829 a
Mexican trader by the name of Antonio Armijo came across what he
called a grassland meadow hence the name Las Vegas for that
area. In 1855, the Mormons sent a small group of settlers
to help the local Indians plant crops and set up a safe way
station between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, but by 1857 the
way station was abandoned (www.overview).
Then in 1905 the city of Las Vegas was established. In 1931 two things happened that would forever change Las Vegas and help to shape the city's future path. Construction on the Hoover Dam began and thousands of workers were brought in to the city. At the same time casino gambling was legalized. For years the city struggled as a small town until Bugsy Siegel, the infamous New York mobster, opened his Flamingo Hotel in 1946 (www.timeline).
Today Las Vegas is the fastest growing city in the United States, and it is estimated that between 4000 and 8000 people move there each month. Tourism and Gaming are the two major employers. 30 Million people visited Las Vegas in 1996, and over $5.5 billion were raised through gaming. Las Vegas is home to more hotel rooms than any other resort city in the world, and that number just continues to grow. The greater Las Vegas area is made up of the cities of Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City and a substantial portion of land that is managed by Clark County (www. about).
Aside from the gambling on of the biggest draws to Las Vegas for tourists is the entertainment. From the beginning of the casino era, some of the top talents in show business have performed in Vegas. Stars like Barbra Striesand, the Rat Pack including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr., Tom Jones, The Rolling Stones, and Wayne Newton have all thrilled audience and casinos alike with sold out shows and record breaking concerts. Visitors to Las Vegas can find any and all types of entertainment from Magic Acts to Comedians to Broadway Musicals to Showgirl Revues. The modern day Vegas is a vacation dreamland (www.overview)!