Las Vegas, Nevada is a unique city in the West, located in the Mojave Desert and surrounded by mountains. Home to the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, Las Vegas is a city without watches, where a multi-million dollar economy is dedicated to satisfying a wide range of impulses and addictions. It is also home to Touro University of Nevada, a private, nonprofit institution under Jewish auspices. Nevada is largely desert and semi-arid, with much of it lying within the Great Basin.
The areas south of the Great Basin are within the Mojave Desert, while Lake Tahoe and Sierra Nevada are at the western end. The Las Vegas Valley is an ecologically part of the Mojave Desert, whose characteristic plant is the Joshua tree. Surrounded by mountains, the Las Vegas Valley is a basin that collects the scarce rainwater and thaw that reach it. Rural Nevada is conservative, while cities are more liberal. However, due to its population size (Las Vegas and Reno), cities outnumber cowboys.
The discovery of silver at Comstock Lode in 1859 triggered a population boom that prompted the creation of the Nevada Territory from western Utah Territory in 1861. Nevada became the 36th state on October 31, 1864. Las Vegas was founded in the 20th century and quickly grew from a small hub for railroad services to a major metropolis. It is now Nevada's main financial, commercial and cultural center. The College of Southern Nevada is a community college with one of the highest enrollments in the United States. In 1951, nuclear weapons testing began at the Nevada test site, 65 miles (105 km) northwest of Las Vegas. Because of its altitude, which ranges from 610 to 910 m (2000 to 3000 ft), winters in Las Vegas are noticeably colder than in other areas of the Mojave Desert and the adjacent Sonoran Desert that are closer to sea level.
Since divorce is easier in Nevada than in most other states, many people come from all over the country to make the process easier.