As requested, here are some facts about Idaho:
- Idaho was part of the Louisiana Purchase, acquired by the United States from France, for a mere $15 million in 1803.
- Before Idaho became a state in 1890, its chief products were first fur trading, then gold, then silver. Finally, Idaho became the United States' primary producer of potatoes.
- "Idaho" was the name of a steamship that traveled the Columbia River (the Columbia, in Washington, joins up with the Snake River, which forms part of the border of Idaho and Washington). Gold mines dug around the Clearwater River in Idaho began to be called the Idaho mines, and the name stuck.
- Idaho is the Gem State, and its state bird is the Mountain Bluebird.
- The state tree is the Western White Pine, which is appropriate since Idaho has the largest remaining stand of this kind of timber.
- There's also a state flower and a state fish and a state horse and a state fossil and yes, even a state folk dance, but you can look those up yourself.
- The state vegetable is, of course, the potato.
- In 2002, Idaho accounted for about 58% of all the potatoes produced in the US. There are 8 states that are the primary growers, and Idaho is at the top of the list. The US as a whole grew 46 billion pounds of potatoes in 2002, and of that total, Idaho grew nearly 28 billion pounds that same year.
- The current population of Idaho is about 1.3 million. Idaho is about 82,000 square miles, which means that there are an average of 15.6 persons per square mile. By comparison, Illinois has 223.4 persons per square mile, and Massachusetts has 809.8.
- The northern panhandle and center of the state is nearly all mountains and wilderness. The southern third of the state is flatter, and contains most of the population. Smack in the middle of the state is a place called the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area.
US Census Quick Facts on Idaho and other states
Idaho State Symbols
USDA Economic Research Service, Potato Statistics, files tab01us.xls and tab12id.xls
Idaho Interactive Map and the map of Idaho from my Rand McNally Road Atlas