Las Vegas, located in southern Nevada, has become a sought-after tourist, business, and entertainment destination. From its humble beginnings as a railroad service centre in the early 20th century to an expansive metropolis with luxurious casinos and hotels that draw millions of visitors annually from around the globe. Due to its tolerance for multiple forms of adult entertainment it has earned itself the nickname “Sin City.”
Tourists in Las Vegas have their pick of entertainment, from live music and shows at the Smith Center to visiting one of many casino-hotels along the famed Strip. Additionally, the city is renowned for its hospitality industry with numerous restaurants, bars, and nightclubs tailored to suit all tastes.
The city’s economy is primarily driven by two sectors, gambling and tourism. Together they account for a substantial share of its GDP and support related service industries.
Gambling and tourism are the primary drivers of the city’s economy, but construction is also rampant across the city. This growth has been spurred by residential and commercial development around the area, including new or renovated hotels and casinos.
People living in the region can trace their roots back to a variety of cultures, such as Native American tribes, Spanish-speaking Mexicans, Basque sheepherders, Chinese immigrants and African Americans. While each ethnic group has had some influence over politics in the area, each has only a marginal presence.
At one time, Las Vegas was isolated from other population centres and it took weeks to travel to Salt Lake City or Los Angeles by wagon. But in 1904, the arrival of a railroad made traveling there much easier – now it serves as a regional hub served by Amtrak and Union Pacific Railroad trains.
The Las Vegas Valley has a fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. Canyon petroglyphs reveal human activity here as far back as 10,000 years, and members of the Paiute tribe lived here as early as 700 A.D. Rafael Rivera was the first European of European ancestry to visit this valley in 1821 when he scouted it out as part of his mission to open up trade between New Mexico and California.
Before the turn of the 20th century, much of this area was still a rural ranching and farming community. But with mining development came several industrial industries that attracted workers from other parts of America.
Thus, Las Vegas became an important trade hub for Nevada and the western United States. Additionally, it attracted an influx of immigrants, such as Chinese, Basque and African Americans, who worked on ranches or on the railroad linking Las Vegas to Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.
In the late 1800s, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chose Las Vegas as the site for a fort that would sit halfway between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. This Old Mormon Fort still stands today at Las Vegas Boulevard and Washington Avenue intersection.