- Population: 2,700,551 (2010 Census)
- Rank: 35th largest state (2010 Census)
- Capital: Carson City, population - 55,274 (2010 Census)
- Most populous city: Las Vegas, population - 583,756 (2010 Census)
- Most populous county: Clark County, population - 1,951,269 (2010 Census)
- Area: 109,781 square miles
- Rank: 7th largest (87 percent of Nevada's land area is federally controlled)
- Highest elevation: Boundary Peak in Esmeralda County - 13,140 feet
- Lowest elevation: On the Colorado River in Clark County - 470 feet
- Battle-Born State
- Sagebrush State
- Silver State
The origin of the state's name is Spanish, meaning "snow-capped."
The presence of Nevada's earliest inhabitants, beginning about 12,400 years ago, is marked by many petroglyphs and archaeological sites. Baskets, decoys, and ingenious traps are evidence of the resourcefulness of these early people in a harsh and arid environment.
European explorers traveled through Nevada in the early 19th century, but it was not until 1851 that the first settlements were established. An Act of Congress created the Territory of Nevada on March 2, 1861. James W. Nye of New York was appointed Nevada's first Territorial Governor by President Abraham Lincoln later that year. On October 31, 1864, President Lincoln proclaimed Nevada's admission to the Union as the 36th state. The State's first elected Governor, Henry Blasdel, took office on December 5, 1864.
Today, Nevada is the nation's seventh largest state in land area. Several hundred mountain ranges cross its landscape, many with elevations over 10,000 feet. In contrast, the State's lowest point (along the Colorado River) is only 470 feet above sea level. From majestic mountains to desert valleys, nature has endowed Nevada with diverse and unique ecosystems.
The Nevada Legislature has honored the State's natural resources and cultural heritage with a variety of State designations described below.
Click on an emblem for more information.State Seal
In mid-1864, Nevada's Constitutional Convention adopted a description of the features to be placed on Nevada's Great Seal. The Territorial Legislature had approved the description of the seal for the Territory of Nevada on November 29, 1861. The Territorial Seal included the motto "Volens et Potens," which means "Willing and Able," expressing the ideas of loyalty to the Union and the mineral wealth to sustain it.
On February 24, 1866, the Legislature changed the motto on the seal to "All for Our Country." In 1969, Nevada Revised Statutes 235.010 was amended by Assembly Bill 157 to make the legal description conform to the actual features of the seal.
The design of The Great Seal of the State of Nevada is described as follows:
In 1999, the Nevada Legislature formally defined in the Nevada Revised Statutes the colors of the seal, including the yellow band highlighting the words "All for Our Country."
Two large metal versions of the seal may be found on both the north and south exterior faces of the Legislative Building, a gift from the Government of Taiwan to the Nevada Legislature. Taiwan was designated as Nevada's sister state in 1985.
Nevada has had four flags in its history. The Legislature did not adopt the design of the first flag until 1905, more than 40 years after Nevada entered the Union. Governor John Sparks and Colonel Henry Day of Carson City, a member of the Governor's staff, designed this flag. It had a blue background with the words "Nevada" in the center, "silver" at the top, and "gold" at the bottom. Thirty-six silver and gold stars represented that Nevada was the 36th state admitted to the Union.
In 1915, the State Legislature repealed the 1905 Flag Act and created a new official flag, which was much different from the original. Clara Crisler of Carson City designed the new flag. It had a blue background with the State seal in the center. The design featured 18 gold stars arranged around the word "Nevada," and 18 silver stars below the words "All for Our Country." Again, the 36 stars indicated that Nevada was the 36th state admitted to the Union. When Miss Crisler added an extra star for a total of 37, the meaning of the stars was lost. This flag now hangs in the Nevada State Museum located in Carson City.
The Legislature adopted the design of Don Louis Shellback III for the third flag in 1929. The background color of the flag remained blue, but the flag's design changed dramatically. Two sprays of sagebrush crossed to form a wreath in the upper left portion of the flag. A five-pointed star appeared at the center of the wreath with "Nevada" spelled out between the points of the star. A scroll with the motto "Battle Born" signified that Nevada entered the Union during the Civil War.
The 1991 Legislature approved a bill, sponsored by Senator William J. Raggio, to alter the way that "Nevada" is depicted on the State flag. Since October 1, 1991, the name "Nevada" has been positioned underneath instead of interspersed between the points of the star. Verne R. Horton created the current design of the flag.
Silver and Blue (NRS 235.025)
"Home Means Nevada" (NRS 235.030)
In 1933, the Legislature adopted "Home Means Nevada" as the official state song. Mrs. Bertha Raffetto of Reno wrote the song to honor the State. The refrain of the song is as follows:
"Home" means Nevada, "Home" means the hills,
(Special thanks to Mrs. Alami's and Paragini's 3rd Grade classes at Greenbrae Elementary for recording the state song).
"Silver State Fanfare" (NRS 235.035)
Sagebrush (NRS 235.050)
The Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata or trifida) grows abundantly in the deserts of the western U.S. A member of the wormwood family, sagebrush is a branching bush (1 to 12 feet high) and grows in regions where other kinds of vegetation cannot subsist. Known for its pleasant aroma, gray green twigs, and pale yellow flowers, sagebrush is an important winter food for sheep and cattle.
Image credit: Ed Kleiner at comstockseed.com.
Indian Ricegrass (NRS 235.055)
Indian Ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides), once a staple food source for Nevada Indians, now provides valuable feed for wildlife and range livestock. This tough native grass, which is found throughout the State, is known for its ability to reseed and establish itself on sites damaged by fire or overgrazing.
Image credit: TribalWisdomFoundation.org.
Silver (Ag) (NRS 235.090)
Image credit: Silver Bars, photo no. 1141878 by Can Stock Photo, Inc., 2010.
State Precious Gemstone
State Semiprecious Gemstone