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Created: March 4, 1863
Statehood: July 3, 1890
In the early 1860s,
when the United States Congress was considering organizing a new
territory in the Rocky Mountains, eccentric lobbyist George M. Willing
suggested the name "Idaho", which he claimed was derived from a
Shoshone language term meaning "the sun comes from the mountains"
or "gem of the mountains".
The creation of the Idaho Territory on March 4, 1863, at Lewiston,
parts of the present-day state were included in the Oregon, Washington,
and Dakota Territories. The new territory included present-day Idaho,
Montana, and most of Wyoming. The Lewis and Clark expedition crossed
Idaho in 1805
on the way to the Pacific and in 1806 on the return, largely following
the Clearwater River both directions. The first non-indigenous
settlement was Kullyspell House, established on the shore of
Lake Pend O'reille for fur trading in 1809 by David Thompson of the
North West Company. In 1812 Donald Mackenzie, working for the Pacific
Fur Company at the time, established a post on the lower Clearwater
River near present-day Lewiston. This post, known as "MacKenzie's Post"
or "Clearwater", operated until the Pacific Fur Company was bought out
by the North West Company in 1813, after which it was abandoned. The
first attempts at organized communities, within the present borders of
Idaho, were established in 1860. The first permanent, substantial
was Lewiston in 1861.
After some tribulation as a territory, including the chaotic transfer
of the territorial capital from Lewiston to Boise, disenfranchisement
of Mormon polygamists upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1877, and
a federal attempt to split the territory between Washington Territory
which gained statehood in 1889, a year before Idaho, and the state of
Nevada which had been a state since 1864, Idaho achieved statehood in
1890. The economy of the state, which had been primarily supported by
metal mining, shifted towards agriculture, forest products and tourism.
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