The Republican Party has been the dominant force in Idaho politics for most of its history, making it one of the most conservative states in the country. Downtown Boise is the cultural hub of the city, home to many small businesses and high-rise buildings. The area is full of shops, restaurants, and cafes, and is known for its vibrant nightlife. 8th Street is a popular pedestrian area with sidewalk cafes and restaurants, as well as the Basque Block, which celebrates Boise's Basque heritage. The origin of the city's name may have come from the first mountaineers who named the river that runs through it.
In the 1820s, French-Canadian fur hunters associated with the British-owned Hudson's Bay Company set traps nearby. The forested valley of the Boise River became a distinctive landmark in a high desert area, an oasis dominated by poplars. This led French trappers to call the area la rivière boisée (the wooded river).The Shoshone in the Boise Valley belonged to the Yahandeka (groundhog eaters) group. They were among the first Shoshone bands assembled and had a large distribution area, with their main hunting grounds along the lower Boise River and Payette River.
When Donald MacKenzie developed the fur trade in Snake Country after 1818, Peiem (a Shoshoni version of Big Jim, the English name of their leader) became the most influential leader of a great band composed of Shoshoni that white hunters used to find in Snake Country. In 1811, Wilson Hunt, employed as an agent in the fur trade under John Jacob Astor's orders, organized and led a group of about 60 men on an overland expedition to establish a fur trading post at the mouth of the Columbia River. This expedition passed through the Boise Valley and was the first time that a white American entered the region. Due to the War of 1812 and lack of US fur trading posts in the Pacific Northwest, most of this route was not used for two decades and Snake Country remained free from settler incursions. After the war ended, until the 1840s Oregon was only dominated by British-owned Hudson Bay Company (HBC), which had a land connection to Canada's interior via York Factory Express. Snake Country, including Boise Valley, remained independent and relatively free from settlers due to two main reasons: firstly, it was described in US media and literature as an arid and unproductive region unsuitable for habitation; secondly, British had an official policy of discouraging American colonists. The HBC established Old Fort Boise 40 miles (64 km) west near Parma downstream of Boise River near its confluence with Snake River on Oregon border.
They were present at this fort until 1844 when they handed it over to US Army. In early 1840s developments further west in Oregon meant significant changes for Boise region as HBC and British began moving their operations further north to British Columbia while number of settlers in Oregon Country was slowly increasing demanding annexation. These advances were eventually cumulated in Oregon Treaty where British ceded region to US thus ending era of joint occupation which meant that Boise Valley and much of Snake Country were claimed as Oregon Territory. With discovery of gold in California in 1848 and passage of Donation Land Reclamation Act settlers' incursions increased exponentially. The increase in settler incursions into Shoshone and Bannock territories and their increasing exploitation of hunting and resources from valley during their trip caused growing sense of frustration among indigenous bands along entire Oregon Trail thus in early 1850s to prevent settler caravans from using route and entering their land without authorization native peoples along entire trail from modern eastern Idaho to modern central Oregon began launching low-intensity attacks against caravans that passed by. Boise is located in southwestern Idaho about 41 miles (66 km) east from Oregon border and 110 miles (177 km) north from Nevada border with elevation of city center 2,704 feet (824 m) above sea level. Most metropolitan area lies on wide flat plain that descends to west while mountains rise to northeast extending from southeastern tip of Boise city limits to nearby Eagle known as Boise foothills sometimes described as foothills of Rocky Mountains. About 34 miles (55 km) southwest from Boise and about 26 miles (42 km) southwest from Nampa Owyhee Mountains lie entirely in neighboring Owyhee County while southwest Boise contains sparsely populated neighborhoods built from 1960s to early 1980s many include acre-sized plots and occasional farm and pasture. In 1980s growth of area was delayed to prevent urban expansion but since law was lifted there has been widespread growth in new homes and neighborhoods located close to Interstate. Boise has a long history that dates back centuries before its incorporation as a city.
From its early days as a fur trading post to its current status as one of Idaho's most important cities, it has seen many changes over time. From its political history to its cultural heritage, this article provides an overview of how politics has shaped Boise over time.