Teri Vance: Celebrating Nevada on her birthday | NevadaAppeal.com

Teri Vance: Celebrating Nevada on her birthday

By Teri Vance

Today is officially Nevada Day! It looks different than any other in the recent past — there’s no parade, and all other activities have been scaled down.

But that doesn’t mean we still can’t honor the state we live in and love.

In honor of that, I thought I’d share a little history about the Silver State.

Nevada officially became a state Oct. 31, 1864, days before the Nov. 8 election.

However, Nevada was populated long before that.

Archeological evidence dates back more than 200,000 years showing prehistoric Indian settlements.

Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe tribes inhabited the land before the first Europeans explorers from Spain gave the region the name of Nevada, meaning snow-capped. The area became a part of Mexico when it gained independence from Spain in 1821.

The United States acquired the territory in 1848 following its victory in the Mexican-American War, and the area was eventually incorporated as part of Utah Territory in 1850. Nevada became its own territory after the discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1859.

Nevada was one of two states — the first was West Virginia — admitted into the Union during the Civil War, hence the nickname, “Battle Born.” President Lincoln needed Nevada’s three electoral votes to ensure re-election.

Nevada became the 36th state after telegraphing the entire Constitution of Nevada to the Congress, the lengthiest and most expensive telegraph ever.

Nevada ranks seventh among the 50 U.S. states in terms of physical size, but it is one of the most sparsely populated.

Here are some additional facts of interest about the Battle Born state:

The largest known Shonisaurus popularis ichthyosaur fossils can be found at Nevada’s Berlin-Icthyosaur State Park. These extinct marine reptiles ranged in size from 2 feet to over 50 feet long. They lived in the ocean that covered central Nevada 225 million years ago during the Triassic Period.

Nevada was the first state to ratify the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave African-American men the right to vote, on March 1, 1869.

The Comstock Lode produced about $36 million worth of silver ore each year from 1876 to 1878. By 1882, the Comstock had produced more than $300 million in both gold and silver.

Nevada is the fourth-largest producer of gold in the world following China, Australia and South Africa. It supplies three-quarters of all gold mined in the United States.

The federal government owns nearly 85 percent of all land within Nevada.

Nevada’s harsh climate varies widely, with temperatures reaching up 118 degrees and dipping down to 50 degrees below zero.

Nevada is the fourth most seismically active state in the U.S.

Nearly 400,000 acres burn annually – that’s the third highest in the U.S.

Twelve of the world’s largest hotels are in Las Vegas.

Nevada consist of 17 counties, and there are 27 recognized tribes.