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Boise History, Idaho

Boise, Idaho is the most populous and the capital city of Idaho State in the United States. Lewiston was the first capital of Idaho but Boise became the capital in 1865, after it was incorporated in 1864 as a city. There are conflicting accounts about the history of Boise and how the name came to be associated with the area. Still, all the historians agree that the area had the name of Boise very much before the Fort Boise was established. 

History of Boise 

According to one account, the name ‘Boise’ was derived from very early usage by mountain men. It is said that the French Canadian fur trappers went about setting trap lines in the area near the present place of Boise in the 1820s. The tree-lined valley of the river in the area was in contrast to the high desert area that surrounded it. This valley and the river became a main landmark for the fur trappers. They named the river ‘La riviere boisee’ that meant ‘the wooded river’. From that time onwards, the place was knows as Boise. 

Boise and Captain Bonneville 

Another interesting story that had not been fully substantiated is about Captain B.L.E. Bonneville and his party. The Captain of the US Army trekked through rough and dry terrain for several weeks with his exploration party. They finally reached an overlook that gave a panoramic view of the Valley of the Boise River. According to the story that goes around in this area, a French guide was overwhelmed when he saw the fertile and lush river valley and yelled ‘Les bois!’ The area was named Boise and the place where the party stood was called Bonneville Point. This point is situated east of the present city of Boise on the Oregon Trail. 

History of Fort Boise

 The original Fort Boise was constructed in the 1830s by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The Fort was located near the Snake River flowing at the Oregon border. This location was 64 km down the Boise River initially. The fort was abandoned after using it for about 20 years. However, the US Army re-established the fort in 1863 in a new location, when several massacres occurred during the US Civil War. The new fort was constructed at the intersection of the Oregon Trail with the main road that connects the Boise Basin and the mining areas of Owyhee. The fort grew at a fast pace as the staging center to Idaho City, the largest city in the area at that time. In 1871, the US Assay Office was built at 210, Main Street, Boise. Today, the office had been named as a National Historic Landmark. 

Boise and Basque community 

Early settlers from the Basque County in Spain and immigrant Basques from France preferred Boise as a favorite place. Their population grew steadily and today they number about 15,000 in the city of Boise. The Basque community in Boise is considered the second largest in the US after Bakersfield, California. It is also the fourth largest in the planet, after Argentina, Venezuela and the Spanish & French Basque County. Every 5 years, the Basques celebrate a festival known as ‘Jaialdi’. The Mayor of Boise, David Bieter, is from the Basque community.

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