Reno ( REE-noh) is a city in the northwest section of the U.S. state of Nevada, about 22 miles (35 km) from Lake Tahoe, known as "The Biggest Little City in the World". Known for its casino and tourism industry, Reno is the county seat and largest city of Washoe County and sits in a high desert river valley at the foot of the Sierra Nevada. Its downtown area (along with the neighboring city Sparks) occupies a valley informally known as the Truckee Meadows, which because of large-scale investments from Greater Seattle and San Francisco Bay Area companies such as Amazon, Tesla, Panasonic, Microsoft, Apple, and Google has become a new major technology hub in the United States. The city is named after Union Major General Jesse L. Reno, who was killed in action during the American Civil War at the Battle of South Mountain on Fox's Gap.
Reno is part of the Reno–Sparks metropolitan area, the second-most populous metropolitan area in Nevada after the Las Vegas Valley. Known as Greater Reno, it includes Washoe, Storey, and Lyon Counties, as well as the state capital, Carson City.
Archaeological finds place the eastern border for the prehistoric Martis people in the Reno area. As early as the mid-1850s, a few pioneers settled in the Truckee Meadows, a relatively fertile valley through which the Truckee River made its way from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake. In addition to subsistence farming, these early residents could pick up business from travelers along the California Trail, which followed the Truckee westward, before branching off towards Donner Lake, where the formidable obstacle of the Sierra Nevada began.
Gold was discovered in the vicinity of Virginia City in 1850, and a modest mining community developed, but the discovery of silver in 1859 at the Comstock Lode led to a mining rush, and thousands of emigrants left their homes, bound for the West, hoping to find a fortune.
To provide the necessary connection between Virginia City and the California Trail, Charles W. Fuller built a log toll bridge across the Truckee River in 1859.