Idaho is a state in the Northwest of the United States. Idaho borders the Canadian state of British Columbia to the north, Oregon and Washington to the east, Nevada and Utah to the south, and Montana and Wyoming to the west. The state has a size of 216,632 km² and is one of the larger states in the USA in terms of area. He was admitted to the Union in 1890.



Northern Idaho is sometimes included in the Pacific Northwest. There, the rolling grain fields of the south give way to the rugged Bitterroot Mountains. In contrast to the north, the mountain time zone applies in the south.

Also known as the "Panhandle", the densely populated but remote part of the state just outside of Canada.

Mountain country
Sawtooth National Forest (part of the Rocky Mountains). Ski resorts and hiking trails. The most important river is the Salmon River, which provided the scenic theme for Otto Preminger's film River of No Return (1954) with Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe.

Snake River Valley
The most densely populated region around Idaho's main river.
Nampa Boise Twin Falls Pocatello Idaho Falls

Lonely desert region on the outskirts of Nevada.

The Wasatch Range, a ridge of the Rocky Mountains, licks from Utah into southeastern Idaho.
Malad City · Preston · Montpelier



The following cities are good starting points for excursions in the respective area:
Boise - Capital and largest city in Idaho, some high-tech jobs.
Buhl - Venue of the Sage Brush Day's celebration, Snake River Canyon and Balanced Rock.
Coeur d'Alene - Northern town surrounded by mountains and recreational lakes.
Idaho Falls - the commercial and agricultural center to the east; Home of the Idaho National Engineering Labs.
Moscow - headquarters of the University of Idaho; a mixture of agricultural and student town.
Shelley - Venue of the annual "Spud Days".


Other destinations

Sawtooth Wilderness  is situated in Blaine, Boise, Custer, Elmore counties, Idaho. The area covers an area of 217,088 acres.



As everywhere, English is spoken in Idaho. A special feature is that potatoes are not called "potatoes" but "spuds".


Getting here

All major cities are served. Alaska Airlines and its subsidiary Horizon Airlines are the best, but United, America West, and Southwest Airlines also fly to Idaho. If you want to go south, you fly to Boise, alternatively to Salt Lake City and drive from there to Idaho. For the Yellowstone National Park in neighboring Wyoming, Idaho Falls Airport is a good choice, from where you can then drive to West Yellowstone (Montana). Spokane Airport in Washington State is ideal for the north.




Idaho is bordered to the west by Washington and Oregon, to the south by Nevada and Utah, to the east by Montana and Wyoming, and to the north by the Canadian province of British Columbia (the Idaho-CB border is 77 km long). The landscape is covered by one of the best preserved natural regions in the country, in the middle of the Rocky Mountains and with enormous natural springs.

The state also has high, snow-capped mountain ranges, many waterfalls and waterfalls, calm lakes and deep, steep canyons. The strong currents of the Snake River flow through Hells Canyon, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon of the Colorado. Shoshone Falls falls from a height even higher than Niagara Falls.

The highest point in Idaho (3,798 m.) is Borah Peak in the Lost River Mountains, north of Mackay; and the lowest takes place in Lewiston, where the Clearwater River empties into the Snake and continues its course towards Washington.



Idaho has a large number of lakes, the largest located in the Panhandle. The largest in area is Lake Pend Oreille, with about 345 km², which is also the fifth deepest in the United States and receives the waters of the Clark Fork River and the Pack River and is drained by the Pend Oreille River of the same name.

In Idaho, many of the rivers have been dammed, the main reservoirs being those of Dworshak (on the North Fork of the Clearwater River), American Falls, Brownlee and Palisades (on the Snake River), and Lucky Peak, Blackfoot, Island Park, Arrowrock and Anderson Ranch.

The main lakes in the state are Coeur d'Alene, Priest, Payette (McCall), Pend Oreille, Lowell, Henry, Stanley, Redfish, Alturas, Petit and Sawtooth.



Most of the state drains towards the Pacific slope, the main collector being the Snake River, which is, without a doubt, the longest and most important river in Idaho. It is followed in importance by several of its tributaries, such as the Clearwater River, the Salmon River, the Boise River, the Bruneau River, the Henry's Fork Branch, and the Payette River.

A small part of the state, located in the southern part, drains to the Great Basin, mainly through the Bear River.


Flora and fauna

Approximately 41% of the state's territory is covered in forests, many of which are located in the Central and Northern Rocky Mountains. The varieties of pine, fir, spruce, cedar, hemlock and other conifers stand out. The Ponderosa pine, resistant to drought, grows in regions that do not exceed 500 mm of rainfall per year, and the white represents the state tree (it grows in humid areas). Other native specimens are: Douglas fir, western red cedar, and lowland spruce. Aspen, usually southern, is quite common, as is Panhandle birch. Most of the southern region of Idaho is arid and has small shrubs and steppe vegetation, although some cotton trees stand out on the banks of some streams. Forestry is a practice benefiting the federal government, while a small portion of land is privatized.

Mosses, ferns, and wild herbs (or weeds) are typical among the Idaho borders. Some varieties of orchid are found inside forest areas, and other flowers such as violets emerge in good weather.

The lilac or syringa is the state flower.

Idaho is the natural habitat of many of the country's largest mammals, including elk, antelope, elk, grizzly bear, and cougar, as well as mule deer and white-tailed deer. Mountain sheep and goats can be seen in the Rockies. There are also a number of smaller mammals such as the beaver, the coyote, the red fox, the lynx, the muskrat, the weasel, the otter, the badger, the rabbit, the gopher, the mink, the raccoon, the marmot. , the marten and the chipmunk.

Among the reptiles, the lizard and the snake stand out, with the rattlesnake being the one that represents the greatest danger.

The state is also a transit area for hundreds of birds that head south in the autumn. Mallard ducks, Canada geese and swans make their stop in Idaho, just as gulls and swallows do when they detour inland. Other sea birds include the heron, kingfisher, white pelican, coot, two-crested cormorant, curlew, etc. Regarding local birds, we find some types of grouse and quail, collared pheasant, partridge, golden and bald eagle, peregrine falcon, owl, owl and other wide range of species (crow, robin, etc.). The blue bird, which is under protection, is considered official and representative of Idaho.

Finally, among the fish we can find salmon, trout, bass, catfish, sturgeon, etc.



The climate is mostly arid in the plain regions and in the valleys, while in the mountainous areas humidity predominates and lends itself more to the presence of occasional rainfall. Winters are generally very cold and summers quite warm.

Low temperatures occur frequently in the east, with averages of -2 to -10 °C in January. However, the mountains protect the state from strong polar cold waves and act as thermal regulators. In summer, the hottest end is the southwest, while the coolest is in the heights.

The mountains are more likely to receive heavy snowfall, and the plains are also those that experience droughts in the absence of rain (between 200 and 500 mm). The Panhandle is the wettest region, where the rain gauge registers up to more than 1000 mm. Finally, many of the storms occur during the winter and often manifest as snow, leaving many parts of Idaho isolated for long periods.



Idaho is perhaps the only state to be named practically as a result of an error. In the early 1860s, when the United States Congress contemplated the possibility of administering territory in the Rocky Mountains, the eccentric and influential George M. Willing suggested the name "Idaho," claiming that it derived from a Shoshone word meaning "the sun that rises in the mountains" or the "gem of the mountains." Willing later clarified that he invented the term himself. As a result, Congress made the decision to call it Colorado Territory in February 1861.

However, the word “Idaho” did not disappear. The same year that Congress created Colorado, a county called Idaho was founded east of Washington, in honor of a ship of the same name that had anchored on the banks of the Columbia River in 1860. It is not clear if the ship was before or after Willing's statement. Despite this, a portion of Washington Territory that included Idaho County was used to create the state of the same name in 1863. Leaving aside the lack of information about the origin of the name, many twentieth-century textbooks agreed that It came from the Shoshone "ee-da-how."



In excavations between 1997 and 2019 at the Cooper's Ferry site, near the Salmon River and the city of Cottonwood, archaeologists led by Professor Loren Davis have found projectile points and stone tools, along with bones from hunted animals and trace of bonfires dating back up to 15,280 to 16,560 years.

Traces of human activity had already been found in Idaho dating back at least 14,500 years. In 1959, excavations in Wilson Butte Cave, near Twin Falls, revealed this theory by finding arrowheads, some of the oldest artifacts in North America. On the other hand, the Amerindian tribes that predominated in the area included the Nez Perce settled in the north, and the Norse and Western Shoshone in the south.

Idaho, as part of the independent state of Oregon, was claimed by both the United States and the United Kingdom until the former obtained the absolute right to its jurisdiction in 1846. Since then and after the creation of the territory of Idaho in 1863, parts of the current state were included between the borders of Oregon, Washington and Dakota. The new terrain encompassed much of present-day Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

After some tribulations, including the chaotic change of the territorial capital from Lewiston to Boise and the federal attempt to divide the existing space between Washington and Nevada, Idaho was proclaimed as a state in 1890. Its economy, which had early been supplied by mining , turned to agriculture and tourism.

Recently, Idaho has become richer as a technological and scientific center, accounting for 25% of its capital (more than what agricultural, mining and forestry activities contribute).


XIX century

Towards the second half of the 19th century, Idaho received cattle from California and Texas with the intention of supplying the miners. Shortly after, the rich pastures and good climatic and environmental conditions favored the development of livestock activity, absorbing hundreds of men who saw in the state's soils the possibility of achieving a stable economy. Corn cultivation declined as farmers realized the possibility of planting oats, barley, and wheat in the arid Snake River Valley.

With the construction of new roads and the consequent discovery of gold, many Americans set their course for Idaho, which was already connected to the national market thanks to the first railway lines that made it possible to transport raw materials to the rest of the country. In 1874 a train was already operating whose arrival limit was the Utah-Idaho border. Seven years later it would be extended to the mines of Montana, while other routes connected the state with Oregon and Wyoming.

By the mid-1880s, the railroad covered much of the Pacific West of the United States and served as a way for workers and businessmen to travel through the gold mines.


From territory to state

The geographical location of a region separated by mountains ended up dividing Idaho into two parts through its northern and southern extremes. The ability to unite that was expected from a future state government gave rise to doubts and repercussions, as a result of its obvious obstacles. For this reason, there was no shortage of opportunities for use by the neighboring states that sought to divide the territory for their own benefit. However, and despite the acquisitive attempts of Nevada and Washington, the Idaho ruling authorities prevented their mission and appealed to a feeling of territorial unity that had not found its foundation in the past.

Soon, with the slight economic push that favored the production and sale of products to other surrounding areas, the population of Idaho grew on a large scale, going from 33,000 inhabitants in 1880 to exceeding 160,000 at the beginning of the 20th century.

The population flow that entered the territory came mainly from China and the Basque Country (both Spanish and French). From then on, Idaho would receive a good number of people from the South, Southwest and Central United States, as well as Mormons and other groups. A large contingent of new citizens were Republicans, which explains the favoritism towards the party that exists in Idaho, and which is given by its founding history.

On July 3, 1890, the territory was constituted as a new state and became a member of the National Congress of the United States, as its 43rd member.


20th century: World War I and the Great Depression

During the First World War the number of civilians enlisted in the Army was, in comparison, higher than that recorded nationally. A lot of labor was needed to raise the crops and supply the soldiers. In 1920, two years after the armed conflict ended, Idaho suffered, like the rest of the country, a sharp economic decline that plunged it into misery and forced many of its inhabitants to leave the state due to the crisis it was experiencing. .

The situation was even worse when the Great Depression took place, where sharp increases in prices were recorded and drought threatened farmers with ruining the fruits of their work. However, other states such as Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma were more affected by weather conditions and capitals, so many of their inhabitants emigrated to Idaho, serving as a balance between those who had left and those who were entering.

With the implementation of the New Deal, carried out by the then US president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the state would benefit from the implementation of job offers for young people, public lighting services and electricity in areas secluded areas, and forest protection in certain parts of the territory. The economy was picking up again and Idaho was projecting itself into a new technological and industrial phase.


World War II - present

World War II (1939-1945) was of great benefit to Idaho's economy. A series of implements designed for war were manufactured in the state, among them: wooden, silver and lead boxes for weapons, provisions and food products. Likewise, the introduction of machinery and better equipment to carry out field work was of great help in the modernization process that, otherwise, would have ended up delaying mass production from which it would be able to take advantage.

Many German and Italian prisoners of war were imprisoned in Idaho. In 1942, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor Bay (Hawaii), many Japanese were forced to leave the western coast and resettle in the state, being hired by farmers and having their own institution that guaranteed their rights in Idahoan territory.

Starting in the second half of the century, forestry activity and the export of wood would occupy a privileged step in the state economy. Various companies received support from the federal government to face the crisis that the war had left in the sector.

Scientific advances and technological development were providing new tools for mining exploitation and suppressing a multitude of jobs. Tourism came to be considered the third ingredient and one of the main sources of Idaho's economic prosperity (each year tourists invest around two billion US dollars).



According to 2005 estimates from the United States Census Bureau, Idaho has an estimated population of 1,429,096, which represents an increase of 33,956 or 2.4% over the previous year, and a total of 135,140 or 10.4% since 2000. This figure reflects a natural growth since the last census of 58,884 people (that is, 111,131 births minus 52,247 deaths) and an increase due to the migration of 75,795 individuals to the state. Immigration from abroad resulted in the arrival of 14,522 people, and immigration from other regions of the United States produced a net growth of 61,273 inhabitants.

This makes Idaho the sixth fastest-growing state, after Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Utah. From 2004 to 2005, Idaho was third, surpassed only by Nevada and Arizona.

Nampa, its second largest city, has particularly experienced a sharp increase in population recently. According to projections made by the state census, Nampa had grown by 22.1% (65,000 between 2000 and 2003). Progress of 5% or more over the same period was seen in Caldwell, Coeur d'Alene, Meridian and Twin Falls.

Since 1990, Idaho's population has grown to a level of 386,000 (38%).

The Boise metropolitan area is the largest in the state and one of those with the highest population growth in the entire country, and others that follow it in size are: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Lewiston.

In official 2006 statistics, six urban areas are based in Idaho, with Twin Falls being the largest of those. The most widespread ethnic groups in the state are Germans (18.1%), followed by Irish (10%), Americans (8.4%), Norwegians (3.6%), and Swedes (3.5%). %).

Hispanics have grown rapidly, making up 8.5% of Idahoans as of early 2005, the majority of whom were white. Population development indicates that the Hispanic minority tends to grow at a level of 70%, while inhabitants of other groups do not exceed 8%. As a consequence, and to a lesser extent than in other states, Spanish has been gaining ground in Idaho, becoming one of the most spoken languages after English.

A curious characteristic of Idaho is the existence of a small minority of Basque speakers. This is due to the presence in the state of descendants of Basque immigrants who came to Idaho at the end of the 19th century and during the first half of the 20th century to work in the fields, and who have managed to preserve the traditions and customs of their ancestors. among them the language.



In 2019, religious affiliations in Idaho resulted in the following groups:
Christians – 67% - 1,153,802
Protestants – 37% - 637,174
Catholics – 10% - 172,209
Mormons – 19% - 327,197
Other religions – 4% - 68,883
No religion – 29% - 499,406

Along with other Western states, the percentage of people in Idaho who consider themselves atheists is very high

It is the most atheist, or non-religious, state with almost 30% of the population.



The state GDP in 2004 was US$43.6 billion. The average per capita was US$26,881.

Idaho occupies a prime position in the national agricultural industry, producing nearly one-third of the potatoes harvested in the United States. Other products that appear in the same line are beans, lentils, sugar beets, cattle and their derivatives, wheat and barley.

The most prominent industries in Idaho are food processing, forestry, machinery production, chemical products, paper, electronics, exploitation of silver and other metals, and tourism. The government-owned Idaho National Laboratory, dedicated to the search for nuclear energy, is also part of the state's capital revenue.

Currently, the largest industry in Idaho is based on the scientific-technological sector. It contributes 25% of the state's income, and constitutes more than 70% of its sales in dollars. Economic prosperity is on the rise, with high-tech products leading the market. Since the late 1970s, Boise has emerged as a manufacturing center for semiconductor equipment, and as the headquarters of Micron technology, being the only one in the United States to manufacture RAM memory devices. Hewlett-Packard has been operating in Boise and southwestern Idaho since the 1970s, focusing on the manufacturing of laser printers.9 Dell, Inc. has a large customer service branch in Twin Falls.

The income tax ranges from 1.6 to 7.8% in 8 budget brackets. Idahoans can claim credits for contributions directed to other states, as well as donations to local educational institutions, and nonprofit youth and rehabilitation treatment facilities.

The sales tax is 5%, and includes the sale (in itself), the rental, or contract of some personal property and certain services. Food has VAT, but the same does not happen with clinical prescription medications. Hotel, motel and camp accommodation have high taxes (7 to 11%). Finally, some jurisdictions impose optional local tariffs.



State communications have never been easy, and in fact, the high mountains, canyons, and other geographical features make Idaho a very particular territory. Below we will see a list of the most relevant highways both locally and regionally.


Administration and Government

state government

Idaho's constitution has three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. It has a bicameral legislature, elected from 35 legislative districts, each represented by a senator and two deputies. The 1889 charter remains in force and is what regulates the state.

Beginning in 1946, constitutional officers were elected to serve for a four-year term. These include the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary of State, the Patrolman (pre-1994 auditor), the Treasurer, the Attorney General, and the Minister of Public Education.

Disproved in 1966, the Inspector of Mines was a constitutionally elected official. It then became an assigned position, and was finally abolished in 1974.

Idaho is an alcohol monopoly and strictly controls its consumption.



According to the Constitution of Idaho (1889) in its third section, the state is inseparable from the Union, and the constitutional charter of the United States is the supreme law over the territory. Likewise, political power lies with the people and Its main task is to promote its equal protection and benefit, and it may be reformed, altered or abolished when deemed appropriate. Religious freedom is guaranteed without any individual being denied the right, privilege or ability to exercise their faith. Curiously, the possession of weapons by the population is allowed as long as it does not exceed the principles established by the state government.

Freedom of dialogue is allowed in all media (sec.9.ª), and citizens have the right to form assemblies to discuss various topics (sec.10.ª). Imprisonment for debt is prohibited (sec.15.ª), as well as physical punishment by the authorities (sec.6.ª). Military power is subordinate to civil power, and no soldier in peacetime can break into private property without legal authorization (sec.12).


Administrative divition

Idaho is divided into 44 counties that are governed by Boards of Commissioners. Each city or town has a popularly elected mayor. The state has long had an Association of Counties that is responsible for deliberating on issues related to politics, the economy and public works. This institution aims to coordinate the will of all sectors of the territory, in order to promote progress and order. It represents at the federal level, all of the American counties, and acts under the principles emanated by the legislature.


Executive power

The governor of Idaho serves a four-year term, and is elected during what is known nationally as a "midterm" election (that is, at the end of a legislative term). Additionally, the governor cannot be elected in the same year as the president of the United States.

The current governor is Republican Brad Little since 2019.


Legislative power

Idaho's legislature is part-time. However, the session can be extended if required, which is commonly the case. Therefore, Idaho legislators are considered "citizen legislators" because their position does not represent their primary occupation.

Both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies serve for a period of two years. Legislative elections take place in even years.

The legislature has been continuously Republican since the late 1950s, although Democratic legislators are routinely elected in Boise, Pocatello, Blaine County, and the northern Panhandle.


Power of attorney

The body that regulates judicial matters is the Supreme Court, which consists of a superior court and four other aligned ones. The position of judge extends for a period of six years, while those assigned to district courts are elected to serve for a period of four. These meet throughout the year with the Supreme Court in various state locations. Each county has at least one magistrate judge who also remains in office for four years, and who is elected by a magistrate commission that presents his decision to the electoral body.



After the Civil War, many southern Democrats moved to Idaho, resulting in territorial legislatures of that political movement. The governors, on the other hand, were appointed by Republican presidents, and belonged to Republicanism itself. This situation led to strong controversies between members of both parties. Starting in 1880, the latter would gain more ground at the local level.

Since its proclamation as a state, the Republican faction has been dominant in Idaho. Between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the People's Party enjoyed a period of prosperity while the Democrats led during the Great Depression. Since World War II, many elected officials statewide have been Republicans, although Democrats have had at least one elected official in each ward.

Idaho's congregational delegations have also been traditionally Republican since its consideration as a state. A good number of Idaho Democrats have been successful electorally and won seats in the United States House of Representatives over the years, but the Senate has been the seat for Republicans for decades. Some senators from the latter party, including incumbents Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, have been re-elected, but only Democrat Frank Church has achieved similar results. Church was the last to win a seat in the US Senate in 1974. No other Democrat has won a seat in the House of Representatives since Larry LaRocco in 1992.

Idaho has always been a deeply Republican state, not in vain has it supported the presidential campaign of this party, and has not elected a Democratic president since 1964. Even in that election, Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater by just under two points. percentage. In 2004, George W. Bush carried by a margin of 38 percentage points and 68.4% of the vote, winning 43 of 44 counties. Only Blaine County, home to the Sun Valley ski resort, supported John Kerry. Republican Senator Larry Craig is forced to resign after sex scandal.


Main cities and towns

Boise is the capital and largest city. It has a population of 193,628 inhabitants (2006), which amounts to 518,853 in its metropolitan area. It is located on the banks of the Boise River, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. It is the main commercial and industrial center of the state and one of the long-growing cities in the country.

Other urban centers that follow in importance are Pocatello, with 51,000 inhabitants in 2004, and Coeur D'Alene, with a population of about 37,000 people according to estimates made in 2003.



The first state school opened its doors in 1860, although establishments that provided this service exclusively to Native American children existed from earlier times. Five years later, there were twelve schools available in Idaho, and only in 1887 would the law enact an ordinance making attendance at them mandatory. Currently, young people between 7 and 16 years of age have the right and duty to go to classrooms according to current educational regulations.

The main centers of higher education are the University of Idaho (1892) in Moscow, Idaho State (intended as an Academy, it became a university institute in 1963), in Pocatello; and Boise State University, located in the city of the same name. At the beginning of this century, the state had 14 institutions (7 private and 7 public) to pursue tertiary studies.


Schools and universities

Idaho Albertson School
Boise State University
Brigham Young University-Idaho
Idaho State University
Lewis-Clark State School
Northwest Nazarene University
University of Idaho
North Idaho School
Southern Idaho School
Riverstone International School



The major college sports team is the Boise State Broncos, who compete in the Mountain West Conference. For their part, the Idaho Vandals and the Idaho State Bengals are rivals in the Big Sky Conference. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is a college football postseason bowl that has been played in Boise since 1997.

The Idaho Steelheads have competed since 2003 in the ECHL, the third ice hockey league.

The Boise Open golf has been part of the Korn Ferry Tour since 1990. Sun Valley offers mountain skiing.

Official state emblems
Bird: Mountain Bluebird
Dance: Cuadrilla (in English "square dance")
Fish: Cutthroat trout
Flower: Lilac
Fossil: Hagerman's horse (Equus simplicidens)
Fruit: Blueberry
Gem: Garnet-star
Horse: Appaloosa
Insect: Monarch butterfly
Bird of prey: Peregrine falcon