Idaho History

Idaho History

Idaho State Information

Idaho Official Language(s) English
Idaho Demonym Idahoan
Idaho Capital Boise
Idaho Largest City Boise
Idaho Largest Metro Area Boise metropolitan area
Idaho Area  Ranked 14th in the US
 - Total 83,642 sq mi
(216,632 km2)
 - Width 305 miles (491 km)
 - Length 479 miles (771 km)
 - % water 0.98
 - Latitude 42° N to 49° N
 - Longitude 111°03′ W to 117°15′ W
Idaho Population  Ranked 39th in the US
 - Total 1,545,801 (2009 est.)
1,293,953 (2000)
- Density 15.64/sq mi  (6.04/km2)
Ranked 44th in the US
Idaho Elevation  
 - Highest point Borah Peak
12,662 ft  (3,862 m)
 - Mean 5,000 ft  (1,524 m)
 - Lowest point Snake River
710 ft  (217 m)
Idaho Before Statehood Idaho Territory
Idaho Admission to Union  July 3, 1890 (43rd)
Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter (R)
Idaho Lieutenant Governor Brad Little (R)
Legislature Idaho Legislature
 - Upper house Senate
 - Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R)
Jim Risch (R)
U.S. House delegation 1-Walt Minnick (D)
2-Mike Simpson (R) (list)
Idaho Time zones  
 - north of Salmon River Pacific: UTC−8/−7
 - remainder Mountain: UTC−7/−6
Idaho Abbreviations ID US-ID
Idaho Website

Early History of the State:

  • It was on July 3rd 1890, that the then President of the United States of America, Benjamin Harrison signed the law which admitted Idaho as a state in the country.

  • The history of Idaho easily predates this important event. According to historical findings by archeologists, human presence in the state of Idaho goes back to nearly 14,500 years.

  • The first ‘people’ of Idaho were predominantly the Native American tribes like Shoshone, Bannock and Nez Perce etc.

  • The predecessors in this area were European settlers, merchants in search of resources to expand their trade. Proper chronological, detailed research would give us a better understanding of their rich cultural and social history

European Settlers of Idaho:

  • The state of Idaho was one of the last 50 states to be explored by Europeans. The first expedition entered Idaho on August 12, 1805. About 8,000 Native Americans dwelt in Idaho around this time.

  • Fur trading was carried on by European merchants in 1810 and the following years as well. Andrew Henry was one of the first European merchants to set camp in Idaho and trade in these parts of America. Slowly yet surely, people like Donald Mackenzie followed in his footsteps. However, covering the long journey by water transport was the biggest obstacle that these companies faced.

  • In the 1830’s many Europeans also came to Idaho with the goal of spreading Christianity among the Native American population. The history of Idaho clearly denotes that.

  • Reverend Henry H. Spalding was credited with opening a Protestant mission in 1836 in the Lapwai region along with the first school. Irrigation along with agricultural production of potatoes was also introduced during this period. The oldest standing structural building in Idaho was also built by missionaries. These places served to benefit the miners, traders etc in the region as a place to procure supplies.

  • The territory of the present state of Idaho fell under Oregon territory. However, in the later stages, it was divided into many parts leading to the birth of Idaho. The 1860’s also saw an influx of settlers due to the gold rush.

Different Ethnicity, One State:

  • It is to be remembered, that America was considered to be a land of opportunities by people from across the world. Thus it attracted people from various parts of the world who were looking to establishing a new life and a new business to enhance their lives.

  • Idaho’s history clearly shows documentation of settlements of people pertaining to different ethnic groups. One of the main reasons behind Irish folk immigrating to North America was the Potato Famine. This was further boosted by the presence of Christian missions in Idaho as Catholic Church had a strong foundation in this area by then. Southern Idaho and Boise had a considerable Irish population and most of them got involved in agriculture.

  • The abolition of slavery was the reason due to which a significant number of African Americans came to the western part of Idaho. Mountain Home, Boise, Garden City and Pocatello are the areas with dominant African American population in Idaho. The state also boasts of a Black History Museum.

  • Idaho’s history also talks about Mormon population. One of the first Mormon missionaries was built at Fort Lemhi in 1855. Franklin was the first organized town in Idaho which was partially founded by Mormon settlers. Most of the historic as well as modern communities in and around Idaho were established by Mormon settlers.

  • The history of Idaho also talks about the significant Chinese population which had settled in the state during and after the railroad construction in which they were the laborers.

Important Developments:

  • Mining was and still is considered to be one of the most important and favored occupations in the state of Idaho. The state of Idaho was so dependent on mining activities for its economy that this whole area suffered economically in the 1980’s when the Bunker Hill Mine Complex was closed. However it still enjoys a flourishing mining trade to this day.

Idaho Colleges and Universities

  • Boise State University
  • Brigham Young University-Idaho
  • College of Idaho
  • College of Southern Idaho
  • Idaho State University
  • Lewis-Clark State College
  • New Saint Andrews College
  • North Idaho College
  • Northwest Nazarene University
  • University of Idaho

Idaho Sports

Club Sport League
Boise Hawks Baseball Minor League Baseball
Boise State Broncos NCAA Div I FBS – WAC
Idaho Vandals NCAA Div I FBS – WAC
Idaho State Bengals NCAA Div I FCS – Big Sky
Idaho Falls Chukars Baseball Minor League Baseball
Idaho Stampede Basketball NBA Development League
Idaho Steelheads Ice hockey East Coast Hockey League