Las Vegas, with almost 405,000 inhabitants, is the largest city in the state of Nevada, which is located in the southwestern USA.
Founded in 1855 as a Mormon colony, the city expanded rapidly, following the construction of Hoover Dam on the Colorado River and the subsequent formation of Lake Mead. Construction of the dam began in 1931 and was completed in 1936. Another significant event in 1931 was the formal legalization of gambling by the Nevada legislature.
The city is home to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (1957), and the Nevada State Museum and Historical Society, the latter containing interesting exhibits about the history of the state.
Famed for its large casinos and luxurious hotels in vegas. The first casino was The Flamingo Hotel, built in 1946 and owned by Bugsy Siegel. A renowned gangster, Bugsy invested money gained from a life of crime in the sumptuous interior of the hotel and its dazzling pink neon façade.