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Nevada History Timeline

1200s - 1700s
  • (1200's) Mojave Indians inhabited the land, planted crops along river banks
  • (1519) Area claimed by Spain
  • (1609) Town of Santa Fe established as Spanish-Indian trade center
  • (1776) Spanish missionaries arrived in southern Nevada
  • (1821) Mexico took control of the Nevada area
  • (1826) Peter Skene Ogden explored the Snake River; Jedediah Smith led expedition to Muddy River
  • (1828) Ogden discovered Humboldt River
  • (1830) Santa Fe merchant, Antonio Armijo, led first pack train from Santa Fe to Los Angeles
  • (1833) Joseph Walker led expedition along Humboldt River
  • (1841) Earliest immigrants, the Bartleson-Bidwell party, passed through Nevada
  • (1842) Capt. John Fremont and party were first white men to view Lake Tahoe
  • (1843) Joseph Walker led first group of wagons across the Sierra
  • (1846) Donner party became trapped in the Sierras. 47 out of 87 perished.
  • (1848) The United States gained control of Nevada after the Mexican-American War ended
  • (1849) Over 60,000 settlers in covered wagons (49ers) passed through Nevada on their way west
  • (1851) Gold was discovered near Dalton
  • (1859) Silver discovery brought thousands into the state; Virginia City developed almost overnight
  • (1860) The Nevada Territory was created
  • (1864) Nevada became 36th state
  • (1869) Gambling was legalized; an earthquake shook Reno; transcontinental railroad crossed Nevada for the first time
  • (1870) U S Mint established in Carson City; first train robbery in the Western U S occurred
  • (1875) Virginia City was consumed by the great fire
  • (1888-90) Nearly 100 inches of snow fell in northern Nevada - the "White Winter"
  • (1890) Elizabeth Potts first woman to be executed in Nevada
  • (1894) The Great Meteor fell
  • (1902) Wyatt Earp arrived in Tonopah
  • (1910) Gambling was abolished
  • (1912) The last Indian uprising occurred; Shoshone Mike and family members were killed
  • (1914) Women won right to vote
  • (1916) Last stage robbery in the country took place at Jarbidge Canyon
  • (1918) State prohibition law went into effect
  • (1931) State legalized six-week divorce law and gambling
  • (1935) Hoover Dam completed; dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt
  • (1941) Las Vegas strip was estabished
  • (1946) Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel opened the Flamingo Hotel
  • (1951) The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission began testing in newly established Nevada Proving Grounds
  • (1954) Ronald Reagan performed at the Last Frontier
  • (1955) Riviera Hotel became first high-rise
  • (1956) Nellis Air Force Base became home of Thunderbirds - Air Force aerobatic team
  • (1959) Wayne Newton opened at the Fremont Hotel in Las Vegas
  • (1966) Howard Hughes moved to Las Vegas; Circus Circus Casino opened
  • (1969) MGM Grand opened
  • (1986) Great Basin National Park became the first national park in Nevada
  • (1990) U.S. census population figures showed Nevada was fastest growing state
  • (1997) First supersonic land speed record set in Black Rock Desert; Mandalay Bay and Venetian opened in Las Vegas
  • (1998) The Bellagio opened
  • (2002) Fight between Hell's Angels and Mongols in Laughlin Casino resulted in three dead and 13 wounded; B-29 Superfortress bomber discovered in Lake Mead
  • (2003) Flooding in Las Vegas Valley caused millions of dollars in damages; Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy mauled onstage by tiger during show
  • (2006) US polygamist sect leader on FBI's Ten Most Wanted List arrested in Las Vegas
  • (2007) Grand Canyon Skywalk Bridge opened; aviation adventurer, Steve Fossett, reported missing
  • (2008) Steve Fossett declared dead after missing five months
  • (2009) OJ Simpson found guilty of kidnapping, armed robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in Las Vegas, sentenced to 33 years in prison
  • (2010) Nevada had highest population of illegal immigrants in US; both houses of Nevada Legislature impacted by 12-years term limits; Tea Party targeted Harry Reid
  • (2011) Crash at Reno air race killed three, over 50 injured, some critically
  • (2011) Dan Wheldon, Indianapolis 500 winner, killed in accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Nevada Photographs

donner partyShoshoni indianshumboldt riversilver mineb29 flying fortresscarson city mintnuclear testhoover damgreat basinlake tahoefrontier hotelnellis air force basesteve fossettthunderbirds

Nevada Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Carson City Carson City 775
Fallon Churchill 775
North Las Vegas Clark 702
Henderson Clark 702
Las Vegas Clark 702
Gardnerville Douglas 775
Elko Elko 775
Dyer Esmeralda 775
Eureka Eureka 775
Winnemucca Humboldt 775
Battle Mountain Lander 775
Caliente Lincoln 775
Fernley Lyon 775
Hawthorne Mineral 775
Pahrump Nye 775
Lovelock Pershing 775
Virginia City Storey 775
Sparks Washoe 775
Reno Washoe 775
Ely White Pine 775

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.