Hidden Treasures: Uncovering Nevada’s Spanish Heritage and Culture

Hidden Treasures

Spanish explorers first arrived in Nevada in the late 1770s. However, it wasn’t until gold was discovered in the 1870s that would-be prospectors began making their way along the Old Spanish Trail. While present-day Nevada is perhaps best known internationally as the home of Las Vegas, there’s plenty to discover if you’re looking to learn more about the rich Hispanic heritage of this stunning corner of the United States. Looking to soak up all those hidden gems? Once you’ve brushed up on the basics with a private Spanish class, you’ll have no trouble immersing yourself in everything this state has to offer.

Hispanic Museum of Nevada

Latinos make up around 30% of Nevada’s population. Unsurprisingly, there’s more than one museum celebrating the contributions of people of Hispanic heritage to the region. However, the Hispanic Museum of Nevada is undoubtedly the best. Located in Las Vegas, it’s an essential stop if you’re looking to break away from the crowds in the City of Sin. Here, you’ll discover how Spanish settlers and Hispanic settlers have helped shape the region. A particular standout is the Casa de la Cultura Latina, a permanent exhibition that brings together the first historical artifacts and artworks from local creators.

Nelson Ghost Town

Nevada’s not short on ghost towns, but the one in Nelson is one of the best. Tucked away in the El Dorado Mountains, this corner of the state was first discovered by Spanish explorers back in the 1770s. For years, it was an important hub for the gold mining industry. In fact, locals were mining gold as recently as 1945. The township itself was abandoned in the 197-0s when a flood obliterated the area and forced the few remaining locals away for good.

Hispanic Heritage Month

More than 62.5 million Americans claim Hispanic or Spanish heritage. Since 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month has been an annual staple in the United States. The month-long celebration kicks off in the middle of September to commemorate the independence of Hispanic countries like Guatemala, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. Hispanic Heritage Month has exploded in popularity over the decades. With such a vibrant Hispanic population, it’s little wonder that Nevada goes all out to honor this annual celebration. The City of Reno plays host to one of the biggest heritage events in the state, while Las Vegas kicks off the festivities in style on September 16th to recognize Mexico’s own Independence Day.

Trace the Footsteps of Pioneers Along the Old Spanish Trail

While the Old Spanish Trail became an important trade and migratory route during the 1700s, they were following in the footsteps of Indigenous Americans who’d been using the trails for thousands of years. If you’re eager to get out and explore, you can take in the sights of this historic route yourself. Hiking enthusiasts can head to Blue Diamond in Clark County to join the trail. Here, you’ll find Cottonwood Spring, once a campsite and watering hole for exhausted travelers making the trip from New Mexico, California, and Colorado.

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