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"Las Vegas, the seat of San Miguel County in New Mexico, dates back to 1850. The community was originally known as San Miguel del Bado, founded in 1794. Spanish settlers and officials saw the plains near the Rio Gallina to the north as an outlet for expansion, so in 1821 Luis Maria Cabeza de Baca petitioned for a land grant at Las Vegas Grandes, the ""big meadow."" The formal name of the resulting settlement was Nuestra Senora de Las Vegas or ""Our Lady of the Meadows."" An 1829 military report referred to the area as Begas de Las Gallinas, and sometimes residents referred to the area simply as Las Gallinas. In later years, Las Vegas became an important stop on the Santa Fe Trail. With the arrival of the Atlantic & Santa Fe Railroad in 1879, Las Vegas quickly evolved into three towns: W...

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