The History of Las Vegas – Who Founded It in 1829?

Petr Novák

When you think of Las Vegas, your mind likely conjures images of a neon-glowing metropolis dotted with skyscrapers, whimsical structures, vibrant streets, and an aura of extraordinary excitement. Naturally, casinos, late-night parties accompanied by the rustling sound of cards and chips, and hasty, impromptu weddings also feature prominently. As the old adage goes, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

The History of Las Vegas – Who Founded It in 1829? | ©

  1. Table of Contents
    1. The History of Las Vegas: How a Settlement Became Sin City
    2. Las Vegas, America’s Gambling Capital
    3. What to Do in and Around Las Vegas
    4. What to Watch Out for in Las Vegas
    5. Photos of Las Vegas

    The History of Las Vegas: How a Settlement Became Sin City

    Las Vegas is easily the largest city in the state of Nevada, with over six hundred thousand residents. Nevada, the USA’s driest state, positions Las Vegas as a somewhat of an oasis in the middle of the Mojave Desert. If you enjoy saunas, you will certainly love the climate. In fact, temperatures can rise to 50 degrees Celsius. However, as with any desert, temperatures can plummet significantly at night. The state also boasts significant gold and silver production.

    The area was settled 10,000 years ago, but it wasn’t until 1829 that the name Las Vegas was given by explorer Rafael Rivera. Throughout the 19th century, the city saw an influx of Mormons whose communities grew swiftly due to the mining industry. The area was also recognized for the railroad, completed in 1905, creating a connection between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.

    However, the settlement known as Las Vegas was not established until 1905, and the first hotel, now known as the Hotel Nevada (presently the Golden Gate), was constructed a year later. As early as the early 20th century, Las Vegas attracted couples seeking expedited divorces. The city gradually morphed into a haven of debauchery, in part because gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931, leading to an increase in casinos and hotels.

    Nonetheless, it was in the 1940s that Las Vegas experienced its most significant boom. It started being seen as a destination where everyone could fulfill their wildest dreams.

    The legendary Las Vegas we now know began to form in 1989, when Steve Wynn opened the first hotel complex, The Mirage. This initiated an era of colossal hotels and casinos, which now immediately come to mind when thinking of Las Vegas.

  2. Las Vegas, America’s Gambling Capital

    Las Vegas is justifiably referred to as a casino paradise, with approximately 60 large casinos; you cannot avoid them. It also hosts various gaming tournaments, the most renowned of which is probably the World Series of Poker. The Main Event of this series is viewed as the World Championship of Poker, and therefore, it holds significant prestige. But don’t despair; even if you’re not a famed poker player, the tournament may not be too difficult to enter.

    In fact, the tournament features not only the world’s most famous poker players but also lesser-known yet highly skilled players. These players gain entry through qualifying, and if successful, they get a chance to compete at the same prestigious table as top professionals. Nothing is impossible.

    If you wish to try your luck, check out our guide to casinos in Las Vegas.

  3. What to Do in and Around Las Vegas

    Casinos are not the only attraction in Las Vegas. A tourist can gain much more from a visit to the area, whether it’s within the city or the adjacent attractions throughout Nevada and the surrounding regions.

    Las Vegas is home to luxurious hotels and hotel complexes, often boasting some truly extraordinary attractions. From the mesmerizing singing fountains of the Bellagio to the heart-stopping adrenaline-rush attractions atop the Stratosphere, the city promises to keep you entertained. Hotel New York, New York even entices tourists with its roller coaster, the Big Apple Coaster.

    In the vicinity of Las Vegas, you can visit the Hoover Dam, expansive Lake Tahoe, Red Rock Canyon Nature Preserve, explore gold mines, or even embark on a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon.

  4. What to Watch Out for in Las Vegas

    While it’s almost a fairytale city where nearly anything seems possible, it’s wise to exercise caution in Las Vegas. The influx of tourists can be easily exploited, with many falling victim to the varied tricks of local fraudsters. Stay vigilant.

    Be wary of seemingly easy wins in card games offered on the streets. There’s a high likelihood that it’s a scam and that you’ll never actually win. Another trick is being conned into inviting a stranger to lunch or dinner, ostensibly to celebrate their winnings. The person may not have won anything, but after enjoying a meal and a drink with you, they’ll “pop off” to the restroom, never to be seen again, leaving you with their hefty bill.

  5. Photos of Las Vegas

    Hotel Golden Gate in Las Vegas | © Time Anchor

    Poker in Las Vegas | © Alfonso Jimenez

    Hotel Stratosphere in Las Vegas | © Stuart Seeger

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