Las Vegas

USA - California

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- Spanish traders were en route to Los Angeles anlong the Spanish Trial in the early 1700s and sought a route that would pass through the then unexplored Las Vegas Valley. At the time, the Spaniards referred to the route through the valley as "jornada de muerte" journey of death. A young scout named Rafael Rivera was the first person of European ancestry to look upon the valley. His discovery of a valley with abundant wild grasses growing and a plentiful water supply reduced the journey by several days. The valley was named LAS VEGAS, Spanish for "The Meadows".
- Las Vegas was founded as a city on May 15, 1905.
- In 1931, three events occurred that would forever change the face of Nevada and the city of Las Vegas. On March 19, 1931 gambling was legalized in the State of Nevada. One month later, the city issued six gambling licenses.
- Divorce laws were liberalized in the State of Nevada, making residency easier to attain. A "quickie" divorce could be attained after six weeks of residency.
- Beginning in 1931, the construction of Hoover Dam brought an influx of construction workers which started a population boom and gave the Valley's economy, which was in the grips of the Great Depression, a needed boost.
- The outbreak of WWII brought the defense industry to the valley. Las Vegas an ideal site for military and defense related industries.
- During the 1960s, a phenomenon lead by Howard Hughes, occurred in Las Vegas. Corporations were building and/or buying hotel/casino properties. Gambling had become "gaming" and was starting the transition into legitimate business.
- The growth of Las Vegas continues still. The population prediction in the Las Vegas Valley is 2 million people by 2005.

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This may come as a surprise to those of you not living in Las Vegas, but there are more Catholic churches there than casinos. Not surprisingly, some worshippers at Sunday services will give casino chips rather than cash when the basket is passed.
Since they get chips from so many different casinos, the churches have devised a method to collect the offerings. The churches send all their collected chips to a ne arby Franciscan Monastery for sorting, and then the chips are taken to the casinos of origin and cashed in. This is done by a chip monk.

Note: This story has some interesting facts in it but the translation of its funny last sentence into German or Italian may be difficult because in those languages there is no such word as 'Chip Monk', and its pronunciation means also a squirrel that collects food in its cheeks, but is spelled correctly 'Chipmunk'.”

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