Nevada's name comes from the Spanish word meaning "snow clad"--a reference to the snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada.
The discovery of the Comstock Lode, a massive deposit of silver, in 1859 brought many fortune seekers.
Statehood followed shortly afterwards in 1864, when Nevada was admitted as the 36th state.
Nevada is in a mountain region that includes semiarid grasslands and sandy deserts, and is the most arid (dry) state in the nation.
Like oases in the desert, Nevada's two main cities--Las Vegas and Reno--attract fortune seekers from around the world hoping to strike it rich in the many casinos located there.
The capital is Carson City, and the state flower is the sagebrush.