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History and Facts of Nevada Counties

Today’s Nevada counties did not always exist in the present form. They went through many different changes in the space of a few short years.

On November 25, 1861, the first Nevada Territorial Legislature established nine counties.

The Nevada Territory, was organized on March 2, 1861. Nevada was admitted to the Union on October 31, 1864 as the 36th State with 11 counties.

Nevada is currently divided into 16 counties and 1 Independent City. States bordering Nevada are  ArizonaCaliforniaIdaho,  Oregon and Utah.

Carson City, the state capital, is also an independent city, which doesn’t belong to any county. However, it has a similar status to that of the 16 counties in the state.

Carson City used to be the county seat of Ormsby County, but the two were consolidated in 1969.

Nevada is divided into political jurisdictions designated as counties. Carson City is officially a consolidated municipality; however, for many purposes under state law it is considered to be a county.

There are some Nevada counties that no longer exist because they were discontinued, renamed or merged with another county. These are important for genealogy research purposes.

Fun Facts about Nevada Counties

 

Counties by Year

County Size Facts

  • Nye County (18,147 sq mi) is the largest county in Nevada.
  • Carson City (144 sq mi) is the smallest county in Nevada.

County Population Facts

Nevada City Facts

Nevada’s 10  largest cities (2010 est.) are:

  1. Las Vegas (583,756) is in Clark County
  2. Henderson (257,729) is in Clark County
  3. Reno (225,221) is in Washoe County
  4. North Las Vegas (216,961) is in Clark County
  5. Sparks (90,264) is in Washoe County
  6. Carson City (55,274) is a Independent City
  7. Fernley (19,368) is in Lyon County
  8. Elko (18,297) is in Elko County
  9. Mesquite (15,276) is in Clark County
  10. Boulder City (15,023) is in Clark County

Boundary Changes of Nevada Counties from 1852 to 1969

This Interactive Map of Nevada Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of Nevada from 1852-1969.

List of Nevada Counties

List of Old Former / Extinct Nevada Counties

The below Nevada counties no longer exist:

Bullfrog County, Nevada

Created on June 29, 1987 from a portion of Nye County. This creation was an effort by Nevada to discourage construction of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal site.

On May 3, 1889, it was abolished and lost all territory to Nye County, following a Nevada District Court ruling that the creation was unconstitutional.

Carson County, Utah Territory

Created on January 17, 1854 from the far western parts of WeberDesertTooeleJuabMillard, and Iron counties. It was attached to Millard County for election, revenue and judicial purposes.

It was enlarged in 1856, then discontinued in 1857. It was reorganized as part of Utah in 1859. On March 2, 1861, it was eliminated.

Humboldt County, Utah Territory

was  created in 1856 by Utah Territory with jurisdiction over an area now in Churchill, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, and Pershing counties; abolished in 1861

Lake County, Nevada

was created in 1861 as an original county; renamed Roop in 1862; annexed in 1883 by Washoe County

Ormsby County, Nevada

was created in 1861 as an original county; combined with Carson City to form the independent municipality of Carson City in 1969

Roop County, Nevada

was Created in 1861 as an original county called Lake; renamed Roop in 1862; annexed in 1883 by Washoe County.

Saint Mary’s County, Utah Territory

was created in 1856 by Utah Territory with jurisdiction over an area now in Elko, Eureka, and White Pine counties; abolished in 1861.

  • Pah-Ute County was created in 1864 by Arizona Territory with jurisdiction over an area now in Clark County; abolished in 1871
  • Rio Virgin County was created in 1869 by Utah Territory with jurisdiction over an area now in Clark County; abolished in 1872