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Las Vegas (often informally abbreviated to "Vegas") is the most populous city in the state of Nevada, and an internationally known vacation, shopping, entertainment, and gambling destination. It was established in 1905 and officially became a city in 1911. It is the largest U.S. city founded in the 20th century.
The center of gambling in the United States, Las Vegas is marketed as The Entertainment Capital of the World, also commonly known as Sin City, due to the popularity of legalized gambling, availability of alcoholic beverages at any time (as is true throughout Nevada), and various forms and degrees of adult entertainment. The city's glamorous image has made it a popular setting for films and television programs.
Las Vegas is one of the most dynamic cities in the world, "reinventing" itself as a gambling mecca, family destination, capital of hedonism ("What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas"), or hotspot for dining and shopping over the years.
Several events stand out as turning points:
- The floods of 1955, 1984, 1999, and 2003.
- Establishment of Las Vegas as a railroad town (May 15, 1905).
- Legalization of gambling (March 19, 1931).
- Completion of Hoover Dam (October 9, 1936).
- Opening of Bugsy Siegel's Flamingo Hotel on what would become the Las Vegas Strip (December 26, 1946).
- Atmospheric nuclear testing (1951 to 1962).
- Elvis Presley returns to live performances in August 31, 1969 by opening the International Hotel
- MGM Grand Hotel fire the worst disaster in Nevada history on (November 21, 1980).
- Opening of The Mirage which began the era of megaresort casinos on (November 22, 1989).
- The Dunes became the first Strip property to be imploded on October 27, 1993.
- 100th birthday, or Centennial, of Las Vegas (May 15, 2005).
Las Vegas started as a stopover on the pioneer trails to the west and became a popular railroad town in the early 1900s. It was a staging point for all the mines in the surrounding area, especially those around the town of Bullfrog, that shipped their goods out to the rest of the country. With the growth of the railroads, Las Vegas became less important, but the completion of the nearby Hoover Dam resulted in substantial growth in tourism, which, along with the legalization of gambling, led to the advent of the casino-hotels for which Las Vegas is famous.
The constant stream of tourist dollars from the hotels and casinos was augmented by a new source of federal money. This money came from the establishment of what is now Nellis Air Force Base. The influx of military personnel and casino job-hunters helped start a land building boom which still goes on today.
Las Vegas' climate is typical of the Mojave Desert, in which it is located, marked with hot summers, mild winters, abundant sunshine year-round, and very little rainfall. High temperatures in the 90s F are common in the months of May, June, and September and temperatures normally exceed 100 F most days in the months of July and August, with very low humidity, frequently under 10%.
Winters are cool and windy, with the majority of Las Vegas' annual 4.49 in of rainfall coming from January to March. Winter daytime highs are normally around 60 F and winter nighttime lows are usually around 40 F.
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