Idaho History - the history of Idaho
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Idaho   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Idaho History


Idaho History

Humans are known to have inhabited Idaho for at least 14,500 years. Ancient artifacts that have been found in the area, are among the oldest known artifacts in North America.

Until 1846, Idaho was part of the Oregon Country claimed by both the United States and UK. The US gained undisputed control over Oregon in 1846.

Parts of present day Idaho were initially divided between the Oregon, Washington and Dakota Territories, but in 1863 the Idaho Territory was created. The Idaho Territory included most of the present day states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

One interesting act about Idaho is it is the only state named as a result of a hoax. In the early 1860s, when a new territory was being organized in the Rocky Mountains, lobbyist George M. Willing suggested the name "Idaho" which he claimed meant "the sun comes from the mountains" or "gem of the mountains" in the Shoshone Indian language. Congress however rejected Willing's suggestion, and this new territory was named the Colorado Territory. However, in the meantime, the name "Idaho" had gained currency, even though Willing had subsequently admitted to making up the name. A Columbia River steamship was named "Idaho", and Idaho County was created in the East of the Washington Territory. And, as previously described, in 1863, the Idaho Territory (which included Idaho County) was created from a portion of the Washington Territory.

In the period following the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), Idaho became an important mining state, at one time even producing almost a fifth of the gold mined in the United States. Mining however was not without incident, and the state was plagued by frequent labor unrest, indeed, during one strike in 1892, a shooting war even developed between striking miners and company guards.

Idaho was also an important location in the Progressive political movement, adopting policies such as woman's suffrage (1896) and prohibition (1916) in advance of other parts of the country. It was during this period that the state's economy gradually moved away from mining towards agriculture. Some mining towns became deserted "ghost towns", and others transformed themselves into ski resorts.

In the post World War II period, mining was remained an important industry in Idaho. In recent years, the state was unfortunately gained a certain noteriety in certain sections of the press, because of the presence of certain extreme rightwing and survivalist groups in some parts of the state - however the vast majority of Idaho residents are opposed to such ideologies.

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Roadside History of Idaho (Roadside History Series)

By Betty Derig

Brand: Mountain Press Publishing Company
Released: 1996-12-01
Paperback (480 pages)

Roadside History of Idaho (Roadside History Series)
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The best way to enjoy Idaho's rich heritage is to visit the sites where history happened. Roadside History of Idaho makes you feel like you've got a native guide at hand as it transports you to those places through well-researched, well-told stories and vivid historical photographs.

The History Of Idaho

By John Hailey

Andesite Press
Hardcover (426 pages)

The History Of Idaho
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In Mountain Shadows: A History of Idaho

By Carlos Arnaldo Schwantes

Brand: University of Nebraska Press
Paperback (308 pages)

In Mountain Shadows: A History of Idaho
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Idaho is now seen as one of the most intriguing and attractive states in the Union. Any view of the Gem State is likely to be broadened and deepened by this superbly written history of it, In Mountain Shadows. Carlos A. Schwantes illustrates the extent to which Idahoans have always been divided by geography, transportation patterns, religion, and history. Although the state motto should have been "Divided We Stand," as he says in affectionate jest, it is also true that Idahoans come together on some basics—on avoiding crowds and maintaining the good life close to scenic mountains and streams.

Schwantes reaches back to 1805, when Lewis and Clark were among the first white men to enter present-day Idaho. He describes the Indians then living in the Great Basin and Plateau, and proceeds through layers of history to show how fur traders, missionaries, and overland emigrants defined the land that became a territory in 1863 and, finally, a state in 1890. The vigilantism, Indian wars, mining booms and busts, and an-imosity toward Mormons and Chinese immigrants that marked the territorial years gave way to more troubles in the early years of statehood: an economic downturn, industrial violence, political protest. The arrival of automobiles promised to end isolation, but the formidable terrain slowed the building of north-south highways, just as it had railroads. Nevertheless, future Idaho would be a product of engineering and witness the coming of irrigation systems and hydroelectric plants. Schwantes brings his history through the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War, noting everyday life, colorful personalities, political and economic cycles, raging controversies, and current trends.

Frontier History Along Idaho's Clearwater River: Pioneers, Miners & Lumberjacks

By John Bradbury

The History Press
Released: 2014-11-11
Paperback (160 pages)

Frontier History Along Idaho s Clearwater River: Pioneers, Miners & Lumberjacks
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The Clearwater River runs deep through northern Idaho's history. The Nez Perce tribe made its home along the river. Lewis and Clark's journey west took them through the Clearwater. In fact, the Nez Perce made the expedition's voyage from the Clearwater River to the Pacific Ocean possible by teaching them how to make dugout canoes from ponderosa pine logs. Fur traders like John Jacob Astor and William Ashley financed the first American commercial activity on the river, bringing trappers to the area and paving the way for the Oregon Trail. Later came the first gold rush, the Nez Perce war, statehood, homesteaders and the beginning of the logging industry. Join author John Bradbury as he recounts a time when native tribes, explorers, trappers, preachers, miners and lumberjacks made a life along the Clearwater, establishing the area for future generations.

A Rendezvous With Idaho History.

By Dorothy Dutton

Brand: Sterling Ties Pubns
Hardcover (223 pages)

A Rendezvous With Idaho History.
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Hidden History of Lewiston, Idaho

By Steven D. Branting

The History Press
Released: 2014-02-04
Paperback (144 pages)

Hidden History of Lewiston, Idaho
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There's more to Lewiston's history than first meets the eye, and local author and historian Steven D. Branting has the stories to prove it. Branting offers a revealing look into the aspects of Lewiston's past that other, more conventional, histories may have overlooked. From the humorous to the harrowing and everything in between, this collection unveils the lesser-known events that have subtly influenced Lewiston throughout the city's history. Whether it's the tale of young May Pierstorff, sent by her parents to Lewiston through the mail to visit relatives in 1914, or Ken Mansfield, the Lewiston high school graduate who helped the Beatles establish their own record label, this diverse collection of tales sheds new light on Lewiston..

The Gold Camps and Silver Cities of Idaho

By Idaho Bureau of Mines

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (186 pages)

The Gold Camps and Silver Cities of Idaho
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Mining historian Kerby Jackson introduces us to a classic mining work in this important re-issue of the Idaho Bureau of Mines publication “Gold Camps & Silver Cities: Wherein is Told the Story of the Rush of 1863 Into the Boise Basin and the Owyhee Country and of what Followed; how the Gold-seekers and Rainbow-runners Transformed a Hostile Wilderness Into Idaho Territory And, Later, Into the State of Idaho”. Originally published in 1963, this important publication on Idaho Mining has not been available for nearly fifty years. Included are rare insights into the history of Idaho's Gold Rush, as well as the mad craze for silver in the Idaho Panhandle. Documented in fine detail are the early mining excitements at Boise Basin, at South Boise, in the Owyhees, at Deadwood, Long Valley, Stanley Basin and Robinson Bar, at Atlanta, on the famous Boise River, Volcano, Little Smokey, Banner, Boise Ridge, Hailey, Leesburg, Lemhi, Pearl, at South Mountain, Shoup and Ulysses, Yellow Jacket and Loon Creek. The story follows with the appearance of Chinese miners at the new mining camps on the Snake River, Black Pine, Yankee Fork, Bay Horse, Clayton, Heath, Seven Devils, Gibbonsville, Vienna and Sawtooth City. Also included are special sections on the Idaho Lead and Silver mines of the late 1800's, as well as the mining discoveries of the early 1900's that paved the way for Idaho's modern mining and mineral industry. Lavishly illustrated with rare historic photos, this volume provides a one of a kind documentary into Idaho's mining history that is sure to be enjoyed by not only modern miners and prospectors who still scour the hills in search of nature's treasures, but also those enjoy history and tromping through overgrown ghost towns and long abandoned mining camps. Note: This edition is a perfect facsimile of the original edition and is not set in a modern typeface. As such, some type characters and images might suffer from slight imperfections or minor shadows in the page background.

Idaho: History, Facts, and Trivia

By Gary L Calkins

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (248 pages)

Idaho: History, Facts, and Trivia
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A chronological history of the 43rd State in the Union. Learn about explorers such as Lewis and Clark, David Thompson, John Colter and Jim Bridger. Includes history of pioneers, and the gold rush era and facts and trivia about events, people and places

History of Idaho

By Leonard J. Arrington

University of Idaho
Paperback (996 pages)

History of Idaho
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Idaho's Place: A New History of the Gem State

Univ of Washington Pr
Paperback (320 pages)

Idaho s Place: A New History of the Gem State
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Idaho's Place is an anthology of the most current and original writing on Gem State history. From the state's indigenous roots and early environmental battles to recent political and social events, these essays provide much-needed context for understanding Idaho's important role in the development of the American West.

Through a creative approach that combines explorations of concepts such as politics, gender, and race with the oral histories of Idaho residents - the very people who lived and made state history - this unique collection sheds new light on the state's surprisingly contentious past. Readers, whether they are longtime residents or newcomers, tourists or seasonal dwellers, policy makers or historians, will be treated to a rich narrative in which the many threads of Idaho's history entwine to produce a complete tapestry of this beautiful and complex Western state.

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