Las Vegas History

Early History

Did you know the earliest inhabitants of Southern Nevada were not the Rat Pack, but the Tudino, known as the Desert people, and their descendants the Paiutes. Information about the modern day Paiute Tribe of Las Vegas is available from their online portal, including history, initiatives and their tribal council membership.

The history about the Paiutes is worth a read, details about their history, culture, survival methods and the impact of railroad development on the tribe is available here.

Arizona State University (ASU) also offers great information on the history of the Paiutes in “Southern Paiute“, by Patricia Bigg. An excerpt is included below:

The Las Vegas Paiutes’ ancestors had adapted their lifeways to survive in the harsh desert environment, but the growth of a Nevada railroad town virtually ended that way of life. In 1911, rancher Helen J. Stewart gave ten acres of land in Las Vegas to the Paiutes.

Recommended Reads

It’s encouraging to have access to the history of Las Vegas and the Southern Nevada region pre-dating the influx of concrete, neon, the mob and mass consumerism. DenverGambler, a writer on VegasChatter notes: “It’s no secret that a large part of what we love about Las Vegas is its history. Las Vegas, however, is a town that respects its history by tearing it down and replacing it.” Click here for his writeup on a Video Tour of Las Vegas.

An excellent book detailing the history of modern Las Vegas is Sun, Sin & Suburbia, The History of Las Vegas, by Geoff Schumacher. An excerpt from this site summarizes his work which is well worth the read:

This carefully documented history tracks the rise of Las Vegas from its vital role during World War II to the arrival of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack to the explosive growth of the 1990s. Schumacher surveys the history of the iconic Strip from the early ’40s to the present, debunking myths and highlighting key players such as Howard Hughes, Kirk Kerkorian, and Steve Wynn.

Sun, Sin and Surburbia is available in paperback and Kindle format through Amazon.

True or False?

Las Vegas translates to The Meadows in Spanish.

Rafael Rivera, part of a Spanish expedition team, stumbled across an oasis in 1829. Until then this invaluable water resource was known only to the Paiutes. With this discovery the area was recognized as Las Vegas or The Meadows. The answer is True.

The History of Las Vegas offers an interesting summary of the valley from pre-historic times to the late 1990s.

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