Idaho (State)

State of Idaho
Coordinates 45°NB, 114°WL
Surface 216.632 km²
(1,0% water)
Residents 1.584.985
(7,40 inhabitants/km²)
Capital city Boise
Governor Brad Little (R)
Time zone −7 / −8
Joined 3 juli 1890
Nickname Gem State
ISO 3166-2 US-ID

Idaho is one of the states of the United States. The standard abbreviation for the “Gem State”, as its nickname goes, is ID. Another nickname is “Potato State”. The capital is Boise.


The area now called Idaho was originally settled by Native American tribes such as the Nez Percé. There are still a few large reserves in the state.

First exploration

According to JIBIN123.COM, Idaho was one of the last areas of the present contiguous United States to be explored by Europeans. It is possible that some French-Canadian fur hunters from New France visited the area from the end of the eighteenth century. The first official exploration dates back to 1805-1806 when Lewis and Clark’s expedition crossed Idaho en route to the Pacific Ocean. They came from present -day Montana and crossed the current border at 2,247-foot Lemhi Pass. They then moved north into the Bitterroot Valley and present -day Missoula and then re-entered present-day Idaho via Lolo Pass in the Bitterroot Mountains. They left the present state at Lewiston on the Snake, a major tributary of the Columbia.

Fur trade

Idaho became part of the Oregon Country, an area that in 1818 would be jointly administered by both Great Britain and the United States. In 1809, the first (white) trading post was established in Idaho: the Kullyspell House in northern Idaho on Lake Pend Oreille. However, it was the fur traders who would explore the Oregon Country (and thus Idaho) in the following decades. The first was American Andrew Henry who established a trading post in eastern Idaho near present -day St. Anthony in 1810.. This trading post on the Snake River, the first west of the Rocky Mountains, was abandoned the following year. The British/Canadian North West Company (NCW) had established the fur trading district called “Columbia” in 1816 and was the next to develop activities in the area. The NWC became the main player in the region. From Astoria, on the west coast, Briton Donald Mackenzieseveral brigades to the upper reaches of the Snake in 1816-1817. During the 1818-1819 expedition, Mackenzie set out to find a navigable route to the Boise region of southern present-day Idaho. On this expedition, he traveled via the Snake through Hells Canyon to southeastern Idaho where he explored the Snake’s source area and reached the Bear River (north of the Great Salt Lake). He managed to sail up the Snake through and past Hells Canyon, but had to admit that this route was not suitable for water transport. In 1821, the North West Company was acquired by major competitor Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). They controlled the fur trade in the Snake River area in the 1820s.

Despite several attempts, it was difficult for American fur traders to maintain the long supply lines between Idaho and the more developed area on the Missouri River (present-day Missouri). William Ashley and Jedediah Smith were able to set up a fur trade in Idaho in 1824 from their base in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Some missionaries also came to the area to convert the Native Americans to Christianity. For example, in 1836 the pastor Henry Spalding traveled to Idaho to establish Idaho’s first school at Lapwai and to grow the first potatoes (by means of irrigation). In 1848 the mission of Cataldo was established near the Coeur d’Alene Indian tribe. This mission station became an important stopover for traders, settlers and miners.

Under the United States (1846)

In 1846 the United States was able to annex most (and then most important) part of the Oregon Country, although the area had been under the Oregon makeshift government since 1843. In 1848, the takeover by the United States was formalized with the creation of Oregon Territory. Present-day Idaho lay entirely within this territory. Five years later, the northern portion of the territory, north of latitude 46°N, was split off as Washington Territory. The north of present-day Idaho then became part of this territory, while the south remained in Oregon. Another six years later, the south was added to the Washington Territory, as only the more populous west of the Oregon Territory was recognized as a state.

Since the 1840s, the Oregon Trail has been used more and more. Especially since 1849-1850, with the California gold rush (1849) and the Donation Land Claim Act (1850), the number of passers-by in southern Idaho increased sharply. However, most settlers moved further west and did not settle in Idaho. At Fort Hall (near present -day Pocatello), the California Trail split off from the Oregon Trail to head southwest toward the Humboldt River (Mexican territory until 1846, part of Utah territory from 1850).

First Settlements (1860)

The first “town” in Idaho was Franklin, founded by Mormons in 1860 who thought they were still in Utah territory. In the years that followed, the Mormons would found most of the settlements in Southeast Idaho. Beginning in the 1860s, there were also some “gold rushes” in Idaho, which led to settlements in Idaho around gold mines. Thus, in 1861, Lewiston arose southwest of Pierce, where gold had been found a year earlier. Passing settlers on their way to Oregon often fell victim to Native American attacks, prompting the United States Army to establish a fort at Boise in 1863.

On March 4, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill creating the Idahot Territory. This territory included present-day Idaho, as well as present-day states of Montana and Wyoming. At that time, only about 17,000 people lived in the area. Lewiston became the chief town. In the same year, the city of Boise, the current capital, was founded. A year later, present-day Montana and Wyoming were split off, giving Idaho its present borders. With a population of more than 7,000, Idaho City was the largest city in the entire American Northwest by 1865, thanks to the gold rush, larger than Portland.. After the boom, Idaho City would empty (just 672 residents in 1880). In 1866, the county seat was moved from Lewiston in the north to Boise in the south, then a highly contested decision.

In 1869, the first transcontinental railway was completed, bringing many people to the region. The railroad passed just south of the southern border of present-day Idaho, north of the Great Salt Lake.

State of Idaho (1890)

When President Benjamin Harrison signed into law on July 3, 1890, Idaho formally making Idaho a state of the United States as the 43rd, 88,548 people were already living there. Population growth slowed after 1910 and almost came to a halt after 1920, only to resume at a lower level from 1930 onwards. From the 1960s onwards, Boise’s population increased sharply; this trend continued for the rest of the twentieth century. In the 1990s, the population of all of Idaho rose from 1,007,000 to 1,294,000. Boise’s population increased by nearly 50% during this period.

Today, Idaho’s population is highly divided by sharp geographic and cultural lines, partly due to the fact that central Idaho consists of sparsely populated forests and mountains. The population in the north is mainly oriented to Spokane in Washington, while the Mormon southeast is oriented to Utah.


The state of Idaho covers 216,632 km², of which 214,499 km² is land. The north is in the Pacific time zone, the south in the Mountain time zone.

Idaho is bordered by Canada to the north, Washington and Oregon to the west, Montana and Wyoming to the east, and Nevada and Utah to the south.

The main river is the Snake River, which forms part of the border with Washington and Oregon. The largest lakes are Lake Coeur d’Alene, Lake Pend Oreille, Bear Lake, and the American Falls Reservoir.

Much of mountainous Idaho is occupied by the Rocky Mountains, the highest point being Borah Peak (3,861 m). The state is rich in scenic beauty, such as the lava from Craters of the Moon, the Hells Canyon, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon, and the Balanced Rock.

The official nickname of the state, the Gem State, refers to the presence of many gemstones, or gemstones, and natural beauty. No less than 38% of the land area is managed in some form of protection by the United States Forest Service.

Demography and Economics

Idaho had 1,293,953 inhabitants (6 per km²). Most people live in the northwest and south. The largest cities are capital Boise, Nampa, Pocatello and Idaho Falls.

The gross product of the state was $37 billion in 2001. The state remains an important agricultural area, with no less than a third of America’s potato crop coming from Idaho—hence Potato State as an unofficial nickname for the state—but a modern high-tech industry and service sector has sprung up with Micron facilities as well. Technology, Hewlett-Packard, Clearwater Analytics and ON Semiconductor.

Administrative division

According to COUNTRYAAH, IIdaho is divided into 44 counties.

County Inhabitants
1 July, 2007
County Seat Inhabitants
1 July, 2007
Ada 373.406 Boise 202.832
Adams 3546 Council 691
Bannock 79.925 Pocatello 54.572
Bear Lake 5863 Paris 494
Benewah 9243 St. Maries 2624
Bingham 43.466 Blackfoot 10.867
Blaine 21.560 Hailey 7844
Boise 7571 Idaho City 478
Bonner 41.050 Sandpoint 8216
Bonneville 96.545 Idaho Falls 53.279
Boundary 10.872 Bonners Ferry 2635
Butte 2771 Arco 982
Camas 1102 Fairfield 410
Canyon 179.381 Caldwell 39.889
Caribou 6862 Soda Springs 3098
Cassia 20.960 Burley 8984
Clark 906 Dubois 613
Clearwater 8231 Orofino 3073
Custer 4166 Challis 873
Elmore 28.856 Mountain Home 12.236
Franklin 12.203 Preston 4947
Fremont 12.517 St. Anthony 3401
Gem 16.496 Emmett 6341
Gooding 14.250 Gooding 3208
Idaho 15.345 Grangeville 3091
Jefferson 22.851 Rigby 3312
Jerome 20.066 Jerome 8827
Kootenai 134.442 Coeur d’Alene 42.267
Latah 36.299 Moscow 23.223
Lemhi 7717 Salmon 2961
Lewis 3581 Nezperce 488
Lincoln 4497 Shoshone 1565
Madison 36.647 Rexburg 27.575
Minidoka 18.564 Rupert 5075
Nez Perce 38.932 Lewiston 31.794
Oneida 4106 Malad City 2065
Owyhee 10.835 Murphy 1532
Payette 22.751 Payette 7629
Power 7684 American Falls 4081
Shoshone 12.838 Wallace 867
Teton 8349 Driggs 1291
Twin Falls 73.058 Twin Falls 41.510
Valley 8945 Cascade 1004
Washington 10.147 Weiser 5330


Idaho is one of the most conservative states in the country and has consistently supported the Republican presidential candidate in presidential elections. Lyndon B. Johnson was the last Democratic presidential candidate to win a victory in Idaho in 1964.

The executive branch of the state is headed by a governor, who is directly elected by the voters in the state. The 2018 gubernatorial election was won by Republican Party Brad Little. He took office as governor of Idaho in January 2019.

The legislature is made up of the Idaho House of Representatives (Idaho House of Representatives) with 70 members and the Idaho Senate (Idaho Senate) with 35 members.

Flag of Idaho