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Las Vegas : US State

Las Vegas (/lɑːs ˈveɪɡəs/) is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and the county seat of Clark County.[5] Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city known primarily for gambling, shopping, and fine dining and is the leading financial and cultural center for Southern Nevada. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its consolidated casino–hotels and associated entertainment. A growing retirement and family city, Las Vegas is the 31st-most populous city in the United States, with a population at the 2010 census of 583,756. The 2010 population of the Las Vegas metropolitan area was 1,951,269.[4] Today, Las Vegas is one of the top tourist destinations in the world.[6]

Established in 1905, Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1911. At the close of the 20th century, Las Vegas was the most populous American city founded in that century (a distinction held by Chicago in the 19th century). The city's tolerance for various forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City, and this image has made Las Vegas a popular setting for films and television programs. There are numerous outdoor lighting displays on Fremont Street, as well as elsewhere in the city.

Las Vegas often refers to the city plus some areas beyond the city limits, especially the resort areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip, and sometimes the entire Las Vegas Valley. The 4.2 mi (6.8 km) stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard known as the Strip is mainly in the unincorporated communities of Paradise, Winchester, and Enterprise.
 History
Main article: History of the Las Vegas Valley
Southern Paiutes at Moapa wearing traditional Paiute basket hats with Paiute cradleboard and rabbit robe

The first reported European visitor to the Las Vegas Valley was Raphael Rivera in 1829.[9] Las Vegas was named by Spaniards in the Antonio Armijo party,[10] who used the water in the area while heading north and west along the Old Spanish Trail from Texas. In the 19th century, areas of the valley contained artesian wells that supported extensive green areas or meadows (vegas in Spanish); hence the name Las Vegas.

On May 3, 1844, while it was still part of Mexico, John C. Frémont led a group of scientists, scouts, and observers for the United States Army Corps of Engineers into the Las Vegas Valley.[11] On May 10, 1855, following annexation by the United States, Brigham Young assigned 30 missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints led by William Bringhurst to the area to convert the Paiute Indian population to Mormonism. A fort was built near the current downtown area that served as a stopover for travelers along the "Mormon Corridor" between Salt Lake and the briefly thriving colony of saints at San Bernardino, California. Mormons abandoned Las Vegas in 1857, during the Utah War. Las Vegas was established as a railroad town on May 15, 1905, when 110 acres (45 ha) owned by the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad in what is now downtown Las Vegas was auctioned off. Among the railroad's most notable owners and directors were Montana Senator William A. Clark, Utah Senator Thomas Kearns, and R.C. Kerens of St. Louis.[12] Las Vegas was part of Lincoln County until 1908, when it became part of the newly established Clark County. The St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church near 4th and Bridger in downtown was founded in 1910.[13] Las Vegas became an incorporated city on March 16, 1911; Peter Buol was the first mayor.

Las Vegas started as a stopover on the pioneer trails to the west, and became a popular railroad town in the early 20th century. It was a staging point for mines in the surrounding area, especially those around the town of Bullfrog, that shipped goods to the rest of the country. With the proliferation of the railroads, Las Vegas became less important, but the completion of the nearby Hoover Dam in 1935 resulted in growth in the number of residents and increased tourism. The dam, located 30 mi (48 km) southeast of the city, formed Lake Mead, the largest man-made lake and reservoir in the US. Today, tours are offered into lesser-known parts of the dam. The legalization of gambling in 1931 led to the advent of the casino hotels for which Las Vegas is famous. Major development occurred in the 1940s, "due almost entirely" to the influx of scientists and staff from the Manhattan Project, an atomic bomb research project of World War II. Atomic test watching parties were sometimes thrown.[14] American organized crime figures such as Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel and Meyer Lansky managed or funded most of the original large casinos.[15] The rapid growth of Las Vegas is credited with dooming Galveston, Texas; Hot Springs, Arkansas; and other major gaming centers in the 1950s.[16]
Geography and climate
Desert scene in the Las Vegas area

Las Vegas is situated within Clark County in an arid basin on the desert floor, surrounded by dry mountains. The Spring Mountains lie to the west. Much of the landscape is rocky and dusty; the environment is dominated by desert vegetation and some wildlife, and the area is subject to torrential flash floods. The elevation is around 2,030 ft (620 m) above sea level. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 135.86 sq mi (351.9 km2), of which 135.81 sq mi (351.7 km2) is land and 0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2) (0.03%) is water.

Within the city there are many lawns, trees, and other greenery. Due to water resource issues, there is now a movement to encourage xeriscapes. Another part of the water conservation efforts include scheduled watering groups for watering residential landscaping. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant in 2008 funded a program that analyzed and forecast growth and environmental impacts through the year 2019.
Climate
Remnants of a rare snowfall in Las Vegas, December 2008

Las Vegas' climate is a subtropical desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh), typical of the Mojave Desert in which it lies. The city enjoys abundant sunshine year-round: it has an average of about 300 sunny days per year with more than 3,800 hours of sunshine.[17]

The summer months of June through September are very hot and mostly dry, with a July daily average temperature of 92.5 °F (33.6 °C), while night-time temperatures often remain above 80 °F (27 °C). There are an average of 131 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs, and 70 days of 100 °F (38 °C)+ highs, with most of the days in July and August exceeding the latter benchmark, and only occasionally failing to reach the former. Humidity is very low, often under 10%.

Las Vegas' winters are of short duration and the season is generally mild, with December, the coolest month, averaging 47.7 °F (8.7 °C). The mountains surrounding Las Vegas accumulate snow during the winter but snow is rare in the Las Vegas Valley itself. Although, on December 16, 2008, Las Vegas received 3.6 inches (9.1 cm).[18] Temperatures reach the freezing mark on 7.5 nights of the year but rarely sink to 20 °F (−7 °C).

Annual precipitation in Las Vegas is about 4.2 in (110 mm), which on average occurs on 26–27 days per year.[19] Most of the precipitation falls in the winter, but the wettest month (February) has on average only 4 days of precipitation.

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Anika Devi received her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University in 2012. She began freelancing for Business Solutions BD in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor.
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