U.S. state of Nevada

Nevada (Listeni/nəˈvædə/) is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. Nevada is the 7th most extensive, the 35th most populous, and the 9th least densely populated of the 50 United States. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in one single county, Clark County, which contains the Las Vegas–Paradise metropolitan area,[6] where the state's three largest incorporated cities are located.[7] Nevada's capital is Carson City. Nevada is officially known as the "Silver State" due to the importance of silver to its history and economy. It is also known as the "Battle Born State", because it achieved statehood during the Civil War; "Sagebrush State", for the native eponymous plant; and "Sage hen State."[8]

Nevada is largely desert and semiarid, with much of it located within the Great Basin. Areas south of the Great Basin are located within the Mojave Desert, while Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountains lie on the western edge. Approximately 86% of the state's land is owned by various jurisdictions of the U.S. federal government, both civilian and military.[9]

The name Nevada is derived from the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains, which means "snow-capped mountain range" in Spanish. The land comprising the modern state was inhabited by Native Americans of the Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe tribes prior to European contact.[10] It was subsequently claimed by Spain as a part of Alta California until the Mexican War of Independence brought it under Mexican control. The United States gained the territory in 1848 following its victory in the Mexican-American War and the area was eventually incorporated as part of Utah Territory in 1850. The discovery of silver at the Comstock Lode in 1859 led to a population boom that was an impetus to the creation of Nevada Territory out of western Utah Territory in 1861. Nevada became the 36th state on October 31, 1864.[11]

The establishment of legalized gambling and lenient marriage and divorce proceedings in the 20th century transformed Nevada into a major tourist destination.[12][13] Nevada is the only state in the U.S. where prostitution is legal. The tourism industry remains Nevada's largest employer,[14] with mining continuing to be a substantial sector of the economy as Nevada is the fourth largest producer of gold in the world.
Etymology and pronunciation
The quartzite of the Prospect Mountain Formation on top of Wheeler Peak, the highest peak entirely within Nevada

The name "Nevada" comes from the Spanish Nevada [neˈβaða], meaning "snow-covered",[16] after the Sierra Nevada ("snow-covered mountains") mountain range.

Nevadans normally pronounce the second syllable of their state name using the /æ/ vowel of "bad". Many from outside the Western United States pronounce it with the /ɑː/ vowel of "father" /nəˈvɑːdə/. Although the latter pronunciation is closer to the Spanish pronunciation, it is not the pronunciation preferred by locals. Notably, George W. Bush made this faux pas during his campaign for the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election. Vindication later came when President Bush campaigned at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center on June 18, 2004. The president opened his talk by proclaiming that "It's great to be here in Nevada /nəˈˈvædə/," emphasizing the correct 'a' – the crowd roared its approval when he light-heartedly noted, "You didn't think I'd get it right, did ya?"[17] Bush subsequently carried the state in the election. Assemblyman Harry Mortenson has proposed a bill to recognize the alternate (quasi-Spanish) pronunciation of Nevada.[18]
Geography
A topographic map of Nevada

Nevada is almost entirely within the Basin and Range Province, and is broken up by many north-south mountain ranges. Most of these ranges have endorheic valleys between them, which belies the image portrayed by the term Great Basin.

Much of the northern part of the state is within the Great Basin, a mild desert that experiences hot temperatures in the summer and cold temperatures in the winter. Occasionally, moisture from the Arizona Monsoon will cause summer thunderstorms; Pacific storms may blanket the area with snow. The state's highest recorded temperature was 125 °F (52 °C) in Laughlin (elevation of 605 feet or 184 metres) on June 29, 1994.[19] The coldest recorded temperature was −52 °F (−47 °C) set in San Jacinto in 1972, in the northeastern portion of the state.[19]

The Humboldt River crosses from east to west across the northern part of the state, draining into the Humboldt Sink near Lovelock. Several rivers drain from the Sierra Nevada eastward, including the Walker, Truckee and Carson rivers.
Mountains west of Las Vegas in the Mojave Desert

The mountain ranges, some of which have peaks above 13,000 feet (4,000 m), harbor lush forests high above desert plains, creating sky islands for endemic species. The valleys are often no lower in elevation than 3,000 feet (910 m).

The southern third of the state, where the Las Vegas area is situated, is within the Mojave Desert. The area receives less rain in the winter but is closer to the Arizona Monsoon in the summer. The terrain is also lower, mostly below 4,000 feet (1,200 m), creating conditions for hot summer days and cool to chilly winter nights (due to temperature inversion).

Nevada and California have by far the longest diagonal line (in respect to the cardinal directions) as a state boundary at just over 400 miles (640 km). This line begins in Lake Tahoe nearly 4 miles (6.4 km) offshore (in the direction of the boundary), and continues to the Colorado River where the Nevada, California, and Arizona boundaries merge 12 miles (19 km) southwest of the Laughlin Bridge.

The largest mountain range in the southern portion of the state is the Spring Mountain Range, just west of Las Vegas. The state's lowest point is along the Colorado River, south of Laughlin.

Nevada has 172 mountain summits with 2,000 feet (610 m) of prominence. Nevada ranks second in the US, behind Alaska, and ahead of California, Montana, and Washington. This makes Nevada the "Most Mountainous" state in the country, at least by this measure.
Climate

Nevada is the driest state in the United States.[20] It is made up of mostly desert and semiarid climate regions, daytime summer temperatures sometimes may rise as high as 125 °F (52 °C) and nighttime winter temperatures may reach as low as −50 °F (−46 °C). While winters in northern Nevada are long and fairly cold, the winter season in the southern part of the state tends to be of short duration and mild. Most parts of Nevada receive scarce precipitation during the year. Most rain that falls in the state falls on the lee side (east and northeast slopes) of the Sierra Nevada.

The average annual rainfall per year is about 7 inches (18 cm); the wettest parts get around 40 inches (100 cm). Nevada's highest recorded temperature is 125 °F (52 °C) at Laughlin on June 29, 1994 and the lowest recorded temperature is −50 °F (−46 °C) at San Jacinto on January 8, 1937. Nevada's 125 °F (52 °C) reading is the third highest temperature recorded in the U.S. just behind Arizona's 128 °F (53 °C) reading and California's 134 °F (57 °C) reading.

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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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