Nevada (Nevah'da), one of the Pacific states of the American Union, is bounded by Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and California. Its greatest length from north to south is a little less than 500 miles, and its greatest width more than 300 miles. In area (110,700 sq. m.) it is the fourth largest state of the Union ; in population it is the lowest of all the states and territories - (1870) 42,491; (18S0) 62,266 ; (1900) 42,335. Nearly the whole of Nevada is included in the Great Basin (q.v.), once occupied by a vast inland sea, whose deepest depressions are yet marked by Walker, Humboldt, Carson, Pyramid, and Winnemucca lakes, and by other 'sinks' and playas, while the ancient shore-lines are clearly visible in places. The climate, now nearly rainless, was once moist; the soil of the Great Basin is now almost totally unfit for agriculture. At present Nevada is a high plateau with an average altitude of 4000 feet, crossed by numerous ranges of mountains, separated by valleys from 5 to 20 miles in width. Some of these valleys are barren and desolate ; others, through which the rivers flow, have areas of arable land. The mineral production of Nevada, especially of silver, has been enormous in the past; and mining is still the chief interest. Nevada lies almost wholly in the great basin of interior drainage, where none of the water reaches the sea. The Humboldt River pursues a winding course of 350 miles. There are numerous hot springs. The atmosphere is dry, the temperature subject to extremes, and the rainfall exceedingly light. The Mormons established a few temporary camps in 1848, and in 1850 a settlement was made at Genoa ; but the real history of the state begins with the discovery of silver in 1859. Nevada was separated from Utah in 1861, and in 1864 was admitted a state. The larger towns are Reno, Virginia City, and Carson (the capital).