Nevada State History

Nevada State collage of images.

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General State History
Historic Figures

General Nevada State History

There were many Spanish explorers in the 1770s who came near the Nevada area, but it wasn't until 50 years later that fur traders venturing into the Rocky Mts. publicized the region.

Nevada's first settlement was Genoa, near Carson City, settled by Mormons in 1849, then called Mormon Station.

Nevada's name was adopted in 1861 when territory was established. The name was derived from the Spanish language, meaning "snow-capped".

Nevada was admitted as part of Utah Territory in 1854 and then as the Territory of Nevada on March 2, 1861.

On October 31, 1864 the territory was then admitted as the State of Nevada. This date is now celebrated as a state holiday.

Nevada was made famous by the discovery of the fabulous Comstock Lode in 1859 and its mines have produced large quantities of gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, mercury, barite, and tungsten. Oil was discovered in 1954. Gold now far exceeds all other minerals in value of production.

As an act of 1986 federal legislation, Great Basin National Park was created, the only national park in the state, which includes the area around Wheeler Peak and Lehman Caves in eastern Nevada.

Nevada Historic Figures

Kit Carson
1809-68: U.S. frontiersman and scout. Born in Madison co., Kentucky. After Los Angeles was taken in 1846 by U.S. military forces, he was ordered to Washington with dispatches. In New Mexico he met Gen. Stephen Kearny's troops, and Kearny commanded him to guide his forces to California.


John C. Fremont
1813-90: American explorer, soldier, and political leader. Born in Savannah, Georgia. He taught mathematics to U.S. naval cadets, then became an assistant on a surveying expedition (1838-39) between the upper Mississippi River and the Missouri. He eloped (1841) with Jessie, daughter of Senator Thomas H. Benton, who, after he became reconciled to the match, helped his son-in-law secure command of an expedition to explore the Des Moines River. The next year (1842) Fremont headed an expedition to the Rocky Mts. with Kit Carson as guide, and in 1843-44, with first Thomas Fitzpatrick and then Carson as guide, he went to Oregon. He explored the Nevada country, crossed the Sierra Nevada to California, and returned home by a more southerly route. His enthusiastic reports created wide interest in Western scenery and Western concerns.