The State of Nevada can trace its origins to the Utah Territory in the mid 19th century. The state was ceded from the Utah Territory and became a Nevada Territory in 1861 and a state in 1864. At the time it was believed that it was needed to help president Lincoln to get re-elected but wasn't necessary after all.
Nevada has large number of mines most notably Gold and silver and currently being the 4th largest producer of Gold in the world. However, during the Great Depression the industry took a hit and in 1931 the ban on gambling which was enacted in 1909 has been reversed as well as lenient marriage and divorce laws were introduced, which largely made Nevada into what we know today. One of the other things that came out of the Great Depression and its public works project was creation of one of the most important Nevada landmarks The Hoover Dam and until the 1992 also a home to a US Nuclear test site located 65miles North West of Las Vegas.
Nevada also is the only state in the United States that has legalized prostitution.