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About Idaho

Idaho prior to European settlement was inhabited solely by Native American peoples, some of which still live in the area. In the early 19th century, Idaho was considered part of the Oregon Country, an area disputed between the U.S. and the United Kingdom. It officially became U.S. territory with the signing of the Oregon Treaty of 1846, but a separate Idaho Territory was not organized until 1863, instead being included for periods in Oregon Territory and Washington Territory. Idaho was eventually admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, becoming the 43rd state.

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Idaho (/ˈaɪdəhoʊ/ (About this sound listen)) is a state in the northwestern region of the United States. It borders the state of Montana to the east and northeast, Wyoming to the east, Nevada and Utah to the south, and Washington and Oregon to the west. To the north, it shares a small portion of the Canadian border with the province of British Columbia. With a population of around 1.6 million and an area of 83,569 square miles (216,440 km2), Idaho is the 14th largest, the 39th most populous and the 7th least densely populated of the 50 U.S. states. The state’s capital and largest city is Boise.

Forming part of the Pacific Northwest (and the associated Cascadia bioregion), Idaho is divided into several distinct geographic and climatic regions. In the state’s north, the relatively isolated Idaho Panhandle is closely linked with Eastern Washington, with which it shares the Pacific Time Zone – the rest of the state uses the Mountain Time Zone. The state’s south includes the Snake River Plain (which contains most of the population and agricultural land), while the south-east incorporates part of the Great Basin. Idaho is quite mountainous, and contains several stretches of the Rocky Mountains. Additionally, around 38 percent of Idaho’s land is held by the United States Forest Service, the most of any state.

Industries significant for the state economy include manufacturing, agriculture, mining, forestry, and tourism. A number of science and technology firms are either headquartered in Idaho or have factories there, and the state also contains the Idaho National Laboratory, which is the largest Department of Energy facility in the country. Idaho’s agricultural sector supplies a number of different products, but the state is best known for its potato crop, which comprises around one-third of the nationwide yield. The official state nickname is the “Gem State”, which references Idaho’s reputation for gemstones and, more broadly, its many wilderness areas.

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Idaho has 5,000 miles of interstate highways, U.S. highways, and state highways. The state has 5 interstate highways, 10 U.S. highways, and 66 state highways. The longest highway within the state lines is U.S. Route 95 at 538.562 miles. US 95 begins in the south at the Oregon state line in Owyhee County and stretches through the entirety of the state into British Columbia, Canada. The longest east-west highway in the state is U.S. Route 30 which runs 455.481 miles from the Oregon state line near Fruitland to the Wyoming state line near Montpelier. The longest interstate highway in Idaho is Interstate 84 runs east-west for 275.650 miles from the Oregon state line near Fruitland to the Utah state line near Stone. The longest north-south interstate highway in the state is Interstate 15 at 196.0 miles, beginning at the Utah state line near Woodruff to the Montana state line at Monida Pass.