Frequently Asked Questions: All About The History Of Las Vegas

By Christine
September 27, 2022
Las Vegas History FAQs
las vegas

Feel like falling down a rabbit hole with us? Well today we’re tackling some Las Vegas history FAQs.

Las Vegas is one of the most iconic places in the entire world. If you say Vegas to just about anyone, images of lights, kitsch signs, color and huge casinos will spring to mind.

But how did Las Vegas come to be such a special and unique place? How long has it been a mecca for gambling? Read our FAQs and find out lots more about Sin City and its fascinating past…

Las Vegas history FAQs: the area

How old is Las Vegas?

Las Vegas was first settled by First Nations peoples about 10,000 years ago. However, the first evidence of significant tribe settlements dates back around 2,000 years.

When did non-indigenous peoples first visit the area?

The first record of a non-Native American to come to the area of Las Vegas was the Mexican scout Rafael Rivera. He visited the area in 1829.

When did the area first get the name Las Vegas?

In 1905, Las Vegas was officially founded. The name means The Meadows in Spanish. A bit different from the loveably garish town we know today.

And in 1911, it was officially incorporated as a city. And this is one of the most important points in our Las Vegas history FAQs.

How fast did Las Vegas’ population grow?

The population of Las Vegas has and continues to grow pretty fast. In fact, it’s the fastest growing US city founded in the 20th century.

It was a slow start for the first 50 years or so, but from the 1960s the rate of growth was pretty exceptional. In fact, the population almost doubled between 1990 and 2000.

What is the current population of Las Vegas?

At the moment, the metropolitan area of Las Vegas has roughly 2,000,000 residents. Meanwhile, the city has almost 650,000 inhabitants.

Las Vegas history FAQs: gambling

When was gambling legalized in Nevada?

The state of Nevada legalized casino gambling in 1931.

However, it wasn’t like the legalization of gambling automatically turned Las Vegas into a gambling hub.

In fact, it wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s when Las Vegas really started to become known for its casinos.

At this time, military bases and big civil construction projects were opening in the area. And with that, came more people. And with more people, there was opportunity for leisure time. That’s what the casinos capitalized on.

What’s the oldest hotel in Las Vegas?

Incredibly, the oldest hotel in Las Vegas is still there. And it even pre-dates Las Vegas’s city status. The Hotel Nevada opened its doors in 1906. The name has changed, but you can still visit today. Just look out for the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino.

What was the first legal casino in Las Vegas?

There were many illegal casinos and card rooms in Las Vegas in the early years of the city due to prohibition.

But as soon as Nevada legalized statewide gambling, the first casino to get a licence in 1931 was the Northern Club, which was a big provider of illegal drinking and gambling during prohibition. It went through many name changes over the years, with the final one being La Bayou. It shutdown for good in 2016.

When did the Welcome to Las Vegas sign get put up?

Now this is one of our favorite Las Vegas history FAQs. The Welcome to Las Vegas sign is one of our very favorite pieces of design.

Designed by Betty Willis, it was first erected in 1959. And instantly, an icon was born.

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