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Learn about Lehman Caves in Nevada's Great Basin National Park

Nevada History

1542: Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo explores and names the area Sierras Nevadas.

1609: The town of Santa Fe was established as a Spanish-Indian trade center.

1826: Jedadiah Smith is reported to be the first "White" man to enter Nevada.

1829: Modern-day Las Vegas (Spanish for "The Meadows") is named by explorers on the Old Spanish Trail. The travelers found an abundance of water in the region that enabled a trail to Los Angeles.

1833: John C. Fremont and his party discover Lake Tahoe.

1846: The Infamous Donner Party became trapped in the snows of the Sierra Nevadas and resorted to cannibalism to survive.

1848: United States acquires Nevada as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, as a result of the Mexico War.

1849: First recorded discovery of gold in Nevada was in Gold Canyon near present day Dayton.

1851: Carson City is founded as a trading post.

1859 - 1878: Comstock Silver Load discovered in Virginia City. Thousands of prospectors descend upon the "boomtown." Over $400 million of silver and gold is extracted from the region marking the nation's first major silver deposit discovery. Wealth from the Comstock Load greatly contributed to the growth and development of San Francisco, California and Nevada.

1861: Nevada separates from the land referred to as "Utah Territory" and adopts the name Nevada.

1864: Nevada becomes the 36th state.

1935: Construction on the Hoover Dam begins attracting thousands of workers from across the country and likely fueling the propagation of legal gambling.

1951: The Nevada Test Site is built for the purposes of testing Nuclear Weapons.


Nevada Extras

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