Originally Posted by Shawn
Sawtooth, what's the history behind Boise's Basque population? I would have never expected to find a vibrant Iberian community in Idaho, but obviously this is just the case.
In a nutshell: During the late 1800's, Basques who left Europe came out to the Western USA because of the gold and silver and other mining booms and also to be sheep herders. Back then the Wood River Valley, where Hailey/Ketchum/Sun Valley are located was the second largest sheep growing area in the world after Sydney, Australia. The forests above Boise and the Boise Foothills had and still have sheep herds with shepherds. Idaho also had large gold and silver rush's which was a major draw and they eventually ended up settling in Idaho, mainly in Boise, and inviting others from the Basque Country to join them. I read online that Boise has one of the oldest and most established Basque communities in the USA and is the center of Basque culture and history in the states.
Jaialdi, which is an international Basque festival is held in Boise every 5 years and the next party is next summer.
Here is another link to some interesting info about the Basque boarding houses and hotels in Boise.
And the link at the beginning of the thread has more information.