Idaho Celebrates 150 Years in Existence

By Tom Bacon

If you think "sequestration" is hard to pronounce, try an Idaho anniversary being celebrated this week.
It's Idaho's sesquicentennial.

That's the tongue-tangling name for the state's 150th anniversary - not as a state, but as a territory.

Back on March 4th, 1863, President Lincoln signed an act creating the Idaho territory.State historian Keith Peterson said the recognition came because gold had been discovered in Idaho, and Congress wanted to use that gold to pay for costs generated by the Civil War.

It wasn't until 1890 that President Benjamin Harrison signed a bill establishing Idaho as the country's 43rd state.

The exact origin of the name "Idaho" is still somewhat of a mystery. An eccentric congressional lobbyist named George Willing claimed the name was derived from a Shoshone language, but he later changed the story, saying that he made it up. Some historians think "Idaho" may have come from a Plains Apache word meaning "enemy," while others attribute it to a Commanche word.

Whatever the genesis, Idahoans can wish each other "Happy Sesquicentennial" now and all year long.
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