Frequently Asked Questions about Nevada


Reference and Circulation

P: 775-684-3360 | F: 775-684-3330
100 N. Stewart Street
Carson City, Nevada 89701

E-Mail Reference

Quick Access to Frequently Used Services

What are Nevada's State Symbols?

Nevada has a number of interesting state symbols, from State Animal and State Bird, to State Semiprecious Gemstone, State Fossil and even a State March and State Christmas Tree.  You can find a complete list of symbols at the Nevada Legislature's Nevada State Symbols and Facts page.

    What is the Nevada State Flag?

    The new Nevada State Flag; cobalt blue background; in upper left quarter is a five-pointed star between two sprays of sagebrush crossed to form a half wreath; across the top of the wreath is a golden scroll with the words in black letters "Battle Born."  The name "Nevada" is below the star and above the sprays in golden letters.  Designed modified June 8, 1991, original design approved on March 21, 1929.

    Other flags include the Nevada Centennial Flag and flags of Nevada counties.  Also see "When is a State Flag Official" by former Nevada State Archivist Guy Rocha.

      When was Nevada admitted to the United States?

      Nevada was admitted to the United States on October 31, 1864, becoming the 36th state. This date has been celebrated as the state holiday, Nevada Day, since 1939.

        What is the Nevada State Seal?

        The Nevada State Seal was designed in July 1864 and adopted February 24, 1866.  It features a gold seal with the words, "The Great Seal of the State of Nevada" embossed around the outer edge.  Within this is a composite picture showing the mining, industry and scenery of Nevada, under which is a scroll with the State motto, "All for our Country".

          What is Nevada's State Song?

          The Nevada State Song is called "Home Means Nevada."  It was composed by Bertha Raffetto.  Please see "How and Why "Home Means Nevada" Came To Be Written" and listen to "Home Means Nevada" from the Nevada State Legislature's website.

            What is the capital of Nevada?

            Carson City is Nevada's state capital.  It has been the state capital since Nevada became a state in 1864.

              How did Nevada get its name and what does it mean?

              The name Nevada was officially adopted in 1861 when the territory was estabished by Congress.  Nevada comes from the Spanish word nieve meaning "snow-capped."

                Does Nevada have any nicknames?

                Nevada is known by the three following nicknames: "Battle-Born State", "Sagebrush State" and the "Silver State".  Battle-Born State refers to Nevada becoming a state during the Civil War.  Sagebrush State comes from the State Flower, one of the most common plants in the state.  Silver State refers to Nevada being a well known producer of the metal and silver has played an important part in state history.

                  What is Nevada's State Motto?

                  Nevada's State Motto is "All for Our Country."  The motto has always been part of the State Seal but there is no documented source of its origin. 
                   
                  Nevada entered the Union as a state during the Civil War just before the Presidential election of 1864. The Constitutional Convention met in Carson City on July 4, 1864 just one year after the terrible battle at Gettysburg. The Union needed another state, another supporter of President Lincoln, to prove to the Confederacy that the Union was strong.  Patriotism was running high here and those assembled for the Convention felt very loyal to the Union and were quite willing to do what they could to support it.

                  Article V, Section 15 of the Nevada Constitution states that there is to be a state seal. In the second legislative session (1866), Assemblyman A. B. Elliot of Storey County introduced Assembly Bill 26. It was read and referred to the Committee on State Library. The committee returned it to the Assembly for another reading. There it passed and went to the Senate.

                  In the Senate, AB26 was referred to the Committee on State Affairs. On February 19, 1866, Senator Lockwood reported that the Committee had AB26 under consideration, had come to a favorable conclusion thereon, and directed their chairman to report the same to the Senate, without amendment, and recommended its passage. On the third reading it passed 12-1.

                  The statutes of 1866 (chapter 41) gives a complete description of the design. The last sentence reads "In an outer circle, the words, 'The Great Seal of the State of Nevada,' to be engraven with these words, for the motto of our State, "All for Our Country."

                  Unfortunately, there are no records of the committee proceedings, discussions, nor any legislative discussion of the seal, to tell us how or why or who came up with "All for our country."

                    What are Nevada's main industries?

                    Mining and tourism are Nevada's two most important industries. Nevada has an abundance of natural resources making it one of the most important states in the country for mining. Minerals mined in Nevada include gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, tungsten, uranium, manganese and opal. Tourism related businesses make up the largest sector of Nevada's economy. The most important businesses in Nevada are large hotel casinos in Las Vegas and Reno, along with a wide array of businesses that cater to outdoor recreation.

                      What types of agriculture does Nevada produce?

                      Nevada produces a wide variety of agricultural products. The state is probably best known for cattle ranching, but other products include horses, sheep, hogs, poultry, hay, wheat, corn, potatoes, rye, oats, alfalfa, barley, vegetables, dairy products and some fruits.

                        What are Nevada's geography and climate like?

                        Nevada consists of mostly mountainous and desert terrain. Altitudes vary widely from 1,000 feet to over 13,000 feet above sea level. The climate is arid with abundant sunshine, light rainfall and often snow in the winter. Average temperature varies from 70 degrees Fahrenheit in southern Nevada to 45 degrees Fahrenheit in northern Nevada.

                        Nevada contains a number of large, pristine natural lakes including world famous Lake Tahoe, Topaz Lake, Walker Lake and Pyramid Lake, the state's largest. There are also several large manmade lakes in Nevada including Lake Mohave, Lake Lahontan and the largest lake, Lake Mead.

                        Nevada is well known for its mountainous terrain with 51 peaks above 9,000 feet in elevation.  Among the tallest peaks are Wheeler Peak in Great Basin National Park at 13,061 feet, Mt. Charleston at 11,910 feet, North Schell Peak at 11,890 feet and Boundary Peak, the state's highest point, lying on the Nevada-California border at 13,145 feet.

                        Nevada's rivers include the Carson River, the Truckee River, the Walker River, the Colorado River. The states's longest river, the Humboldt River, runs 500 miles from the Humboldt Mountains east of Elko to the Humboldt Sink south of Lovelock.

                          How big is Nevada?

                          Nevada emcompasses 110,540 square miles, making it the seventh largest state by area. Nevada is roughly 483 miles long and 320 miles wide.

                            What is the population of Nevada?

                            The 2010 United States Census gives Nevada's population as 2,700,551, making it the 35th largest state.

                              Who makes the laws in Nevada?

                              The Nevada Legislature make the laws in Nevada. Nevada's Legislature meets every two years.

                                Who are Nevada's elected officials?

                                Nevada's Governor and other elected state officials can be found here.

                                  Are there any famous people from Nevada?

                                  From tennis star Andre Agassi (born in Las Vegas) to Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (from the small town of Searchlight), there are a number of famous people in Nevada.

                                    What kinds of natural resources does Nevada possess?

                                    Nevada has an abundance of natural resources making it one of the most important states in the country for mining.

                                    Minerals extracted in Nevada include gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, tungsten, uranium. manganese, titanium, iron, mercury, opal, barite, molybdenum, magnesite, diatomite, talc, gypsum, dalmoite, lime, turquoise, fluorspar, brucite, antimony, perlite, pumice, salt and sulfur oilshale. Oil is also found in central and eastern Nevada.

                                    Nevada contains two national forests, the Toiyabe National Forest and the Humboldt National Forest, each comprising about 2.5 million acres.

                                    The Truckee, Carson, Walker and Humboldt Rivers provide 2,000,000 acre-feet of water annually. The Colorado River provides 300,000 acre feet of water annually and generates about 100,000 kilowatts of hydroelectric power. Four other hydroelectric plants also provide electricity for the state.

                                      What are some other resources I can explore?

                                      Here are some websites that we recommend to help you learn more about our great state.