Las Vegas, city in the United States of America, in the state of Nevada, with 260,000 inhabitants. Las Vegas is the capital of County Clark, which also includes Henderson and North Las Vegas, and is home to approximately 80% of Nevada’s population.
The city is primarily important as a tourist center. Due to the flexible legislation on some controversial points (marriage status, legal gambling) that has made the city almost synonymous with everything that is banned in the rest of the country, the city attracts about 10 million tourists every year, good for a turnover of more than $4 billion. Also important for tourism are the mild climate (in January an average of 10 °C; little precipitation) and, in the area, Lake Mead, with the Hoover Dam, and Death Valley.
The main source of income is therefore the service sector; The center of tourism is the several kilometers long Strip, along which the famous hotels, casinos (including Golden Nugget, Caesar’s Palace, Luxor Las Vegas, Excalibur, MGM Grand) and nightclubs are located. In the vicinity of the city cattle ranching and mining. There is a branch of the University of Nevada (1957) and a center for research on desert areas. McCarran International Airport and Air Force Base.
The city was founded on a waterhole on the route to Southern California. The first inhabitants were the Mormons (1855–1857), followed in 1864 by American troops (Fort Baker). The development followed after the construction of the railway (1905) and thanks in particular to liberal legislation. After the Second World War, the population grew explosively (1940: 8,400 inhabitants; 1950: 24,000; 1960: 64,000; 1970: 124,000; 1980: 164,000).