If you enjoy playing online casino games, there’s little doubt that you’ll also have dreams of one day making your way to the bright lights and gambling delights promised in Las Vegas. But how much do you really know about this ever-popular gambling mecca? Now known as the entertainment capital of the world, it’s safe to say that this vibrant city wasn’t always quite as glitzy and glamorous as it is today.
Read on to learn more about the rich Las Vegas history as well as who and what played a role in its dramatic evolution over the years.
Believe it or not, but there was a time when Las Vegas was completely devoid of any signs of human civilization. Before its first inhabitants, the Southern Nevada Native Americans made their home there, Vegas was actually a thriving marshland. Over time, the marsh began to recede, temperatures increased and the space transformed into a stretch of arid desert, with a few hardy plants surviving due to the water trapped beneath the ground’s surface, creating an oasis.
The beautiful region remained largely untouched until the 19th century, when brave Mexican explorer Rafael Rivera, who was traveling alongside Antonio Armijo, veered off the beaten track to explore the mysteries of the desert on his own. He discovered the sprawling oasis, later naming it “Las Vegas,” after the flourishing valley grasses. Translated from Spanish, it means: “the meadows.”
A stop-off town
Long before Vegas became a primary attraction for casino and gambling lovers all around the globe, it was very much an area that catered to the needs of travelers who were simply passing through en route to somewhere more exciting. Mexican and Mormon travelers used the beginnings of the city as a stop-off when making their way to California throughout the times of the Gold Rush in that state. Some Mormons eventually made the decision to settle down in the area to protect their mail route and slowly built up the city before completely vacating the area throughout the late 1850s.
Welcome to the railroad
In 1890, railroad developers opted to extend the local route, moving through Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. A decision was made for Las Vegas to operate as a prime stop on the route, and construction began quickly after that.
By 1905, the updated railroad route was complete, leading to a massive increase in development within the area. This is when Vegas really began to blossom, with stores and saloons emerging seemingly overnight and plenty of visitors around to enjoy them! Understandably, investors rushed in to take full advantage of the arising opportunities, purchasing sought-after lots at various auctions and using them to create fresh attractions and residential buildings, which were mainly occupied by ranchers and railroad workers at the time.