%> Nevada Riches: The Land and People of the Silver State
The Landscape
Territory & Statehood

Myths and Truths

Misconceptions and misunderstandings are common when talking about the Sierra Nevada.  Padre Pedro Font gave the name SIERRA NEVADA to the mountain range on the fringe of Spanish California in 1776.  In Spanish, sierra means mountains and nevada means snow-covered.  Many times, people unfamiliar with the Spanish language refer to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which translates to "snow-covered mountain mountains."  Or sometimes they mention the Sierra Mountains which actually means "mountains mountains."

Further complicating the issue is the fact that the Sierra Nevada is not in Nevada!  The crestline of the mountain range is in California.  All of this would have been much easier if California had agreed to the language in Nevada's Organic (1861) and Enabling (1864) Acts.  That would have made the land east from the crest of the Sierra a part of Nevada.  Of course, California was not about to part with Lake Tahoe and part of its eastern border which now includes the communities of Susanville, Truckee, Tahoe City, South Lake Tahoe, and many others to the south.

So remember -- Sierra is plural for mountains, and Nevada is not to be made plural, and you will sound very wise!

Photo Credit:
Library of Congress