If you’re looking at a map of the United States of America, you’ll find Idaho in the Pacific Northwest region. The great state of Montana is on the eastern and northeastern borders of Idaho. Wyoming is to the east; Nevada and Utah are on the states’ southern border, and Washington and Oregon are on Idaho’s western border. To the north, Idaho shares a small border with Canada.
For thousands of years Idaho was inhabited only by Native American people. Native American tribes included the Nez Perce, the Shashone, and the Blackfeet Nations. The first non-native people known to have reached this land were American explorers Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and members of their expedition who passed through the region in 1805.
Both the United States and Great Britain claimed the region until 1846, when the two countries ratified the Oregon Treaty, officially transferring ownership to America. The land became part of the Oregon Territory, and then part of the Washington Territory. But once settlers discovered gold in Idaho in 1860, thousands of people rushed to the area and in 1863 Idaho became its own territory. Seventeen years later, in 1890, Idaho became the 43rd state.
In 1876 the Lakota, Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes formed an alliance in an attempt to take back their land. They won a famous battle by defeating the U.S. Army at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, but the Native Americans were ultimately defeated, and settlers continued to build on the land.
In 1889 Montana became the 41st a state, and tody many Native American tribes still live in Montana, including the Blackfeet, Crow, and Cheyenne.
A State with Superior Gemstones and Plenty of Potatoes
Idaho is nicknamed “The Gem State” because almost every known type of gemstone has been found there, including the largest diamond ever discovered in the United States. More than 72 gemstones are mined in Idaho, but that’s not what the state is most famous for. If you ask most people, they’ll tell that Idaho is best know for its potatoes, and that’s probably as it should be because 1/3 of all the potatoes grown in the United States are grown in Idaho.
Notable Cities and Towns in Idaho
- Boise is the largest city in Idaho. Boise is also the state capital.
- Meridian is the second-largest city in Idaho.
- Just outside of the town of Twin Falls, is the state’s largest waterfall: Shoshone Falls Shashone Falls is sometimes referred to as the “Niagara of the West.”
- Sandpoint, Idaho was once named America’s Most Beautiful Town. It’s located in the northern part of the state.
Fact #1: Idaho’s Boise State University Broncos play on a blue football field. It’s unofficially known as the Smurf Turf!
Fact #2: Idaho has 3,100 miles of rivers, which is more than any other state in the nation.
Fact #3: Idaho is home to some very big animals. Black bears, moose, bighorn sheep, and woodland caribou can all be found n the state.
Fact #4: Idaho has a potato museum. The museum is located in Blackfoot, Idaho, and if you go there, you’ll learn lots about the state’s best known crop. And the museum is easy to spot because there’s a giant baked potato statue in front of it!
Fact #5: Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in central Idaho looks almost like the surface of the moon. but it’s actually a massive, dried lava flow from ancient volcanoes. The eight eruptions that created the lava field took place about every 2,000 years, and it’s about time for another eruption one since one of the volcanoes is inactive, but definitely not dead.
Just for fun, see if you can answer these questions.
What is the capital of Idaho? Is it Boise, Meridian, Idaho Falls, or Bozeman?
Boise is the capital of Idaho and its largest city.
What's the most famous crop grown in Idaho? Is it apples, corn, citrus fruits, or potatoes?
What was the name of the group of explorers who passed through Idaho in 1805? Was it Lewis and Clark, Clark and Kent, or Martin and Lewis?
It was the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Which one of these animals is not native to Idaho? Black bears, moose, alligators, or bighorn sheep?
Allogators are not found in the wild in Idaho. The climate isn’t right for gators!
If you have time, you can write a story of your own.
Here are a couple of story ideas you can choose from.
Idea #1: You can write a brief story about some of the cool things you learned about Idaho.
Idea #2: What do you think it would be like to own a potato farm in Idaho? Do you think you would like being a farmer? What do you think your life would be like?
To help you write a great story, we have some helpful hints and timely tips.
Check out “10 Tips for Writing Better Essays.”
Here's a riddle for you:
What did one potato chip say to the other potato chip?
“Shall we go for a dip?”