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Idaho was one of the last areas in the lower 48 states to be explored by people of European descent. Now, a little more than 130 years later, Idaho is nearing 2 million people. Still quite a bit less than neighboring states but perhaps worthy of recapping some Idaho history for the new, existing, and part-time residents. 

Before Lewis and Clark made their way through Idaho in 1805 -with assistance from the Shoshone Indians, fur trappers, traders and miners began their descent within a few years. Prior to 1805, an estimated 8,000 Native Americans lived in what is today the state of Idaho, and few if any had ever seen a white man.

For some time, Idaho fell into periods of being included in Oregon and Washington Territories. It finally became its own U.S. territory in 1863. By 1880 the population reached 32,000, and national republicans eager to increase their influence pushed for Idaho statehood in 1888. By July 3, 1890, Idaho became the 43rd state in the Union.

  • Early settlers included people from Ireland, England, Germany, China, Africa, and the Basque people who brought the sheep herding to Idaho. Today, Boise has the largest community of Basque in the United States.
  • Henry Spalding first introduced potatoes to Idaho in the 1830s, when he was also introducing Christianity to the Nez Perce Indians in the Lapwai area in north Idaho. He also developed the first irrigation system
  • The British-owned Hudson Bay Company controlled the trade in the Snake River area by the 1820s.
  • In 1809, Kullyspell House, the first white-owned establishment and first trading post in Idaho, was constructed. 

Cataldo Mission, the oldest standing building in Idaho, was constructed at Cataldo by the Coeur d’Alene and Catholic missionaries.

  • When Idaho became an official territory, Lewiston was named the capital in 1863. History claimes the capital was stolen and taken to Boise. If you would like to learn more you can watch it here.


Do you know Idaho? Can you name the following?

  1. Idaho state bird
  2. Idaho state flower
  3. Idaho’s nickname
  4. Idaho state gem
  5. Idaho state raptor
  6. Idaho state fruit
  7. Idaho state song


  1. mountain bluebird
  2. syringa
  3. gem state
  4. peregrine falcon
  5. huckleberry
  6. Here we have Idaho – Click HERE to listen to the song