Boise is the capital of Idaho as well as the largest city in Idaho with a metro population of around 670,000. The city rests at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains along the plain of the Boise River which winds through the city. A very outdoors oriented place with many activities available without even leaving the city. Although its economic growth has its roots in the Simplot potato industry, the city is now home to many high tech industries. Notable companies such as Albertsons and Micron are headquartered here.
Although the exact origin is disputed, the name "Boise" (pronounced BOY-see) is unquestionably derived from the French "boisé," or "wooded." The name is a reference to the tree-lined Boise River which passes through the heart of the city. To this day the city takes its "City of Trees" moniker very seriously. Boise started its life as Fort Boise, a U.S. Army installation located at a strategic junction on the Oregon Trail between what were then the major settlements in southern Idaho Territory, the mining camps of Silver City to the south and Idaho City to the northeast. A city grew quickly around the fort and by 1865 was the new capital of Idaho Territory (much to the chagrin of northern Idahoans). By the dawn of the 20th Century Boise was far and away the dominant city in the region, having long eclipsed the likes of Silver City and Idaho City. Today Boise is sometimes seen as the eastern enclave of the Pacific Northwest, or the western enclave of the Rocky Mountains, or both, depending on who you ask. Downtown Boise and the North End neighborhood offer a PNW feel every bit as strong as anything in Portland or Seattle, while suburbs such as Meridian and Nampa steadfastly cling to the decidedly self-reliant ethos of the Intermountain West.