The first known human settlement in Idaho dates back more than 12,000 years. Archaeological evidence shows that early Native American tribes lived in the region, and artifacts from these settlements can be found in museums throughout the state.
Canyon County, Idaho, located in the southwestern part of the state, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, most notably the Shoshone-Bannock, Nez Perce, and Northern Paiute tribes. These tribes lived off the land, hunting, fishing, and gathering food.

In the early 19th century, European fur trappers and explorers, such as Lewis and Clark, began to explore the area, establishing trade relationships with the Native American tribes. The discovery of gold in the Boise Basin in 1862 brought an influx of settlers to the region. However, it wasn't until the completion of the Oregon Short Line Railroad in 1884 that the area experienced significant growth.

With the arrival of the railroad, communities and towns quickly sprouted up in what is now Canyon County. Caldwell, the county seat, was founded in 1883 and became an important transportation and trade hub. Agriculture also played a vital role in the county's development, with the fertile soil and favorable climate attracting farmers and ranchers to the region.

Over the years, Canyon County has gone through periods of growth and change. The county's population boomed during the 20th century, as it became a center for agricultural production, particularly for crops such as sugar beets, onions, and hops. Today, Canyon County continues to be an important agricultural area, while also experiencing growth in other sectors, such as food processing and manufacturing.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Canyon County, Idaho.

  • 1805 - The Lewis and Clark expedition passes through what is now Canyon County.
  • 1811 - The first recorded exploration of the Snake River by Europeans takes place.
  • 1863 - Canyon County is established as part of Ada County.
  • 1884 - The first settlers arrive in the area, primarily farmers and ranchers.
  • 1891 - Fruit orchards are introduced to the region, becoming a major industry.
  • 1913 - Nampa becomes the county seat of Canyon County, replacing Caldwell.
  • 1919 - The Nampa and Caldwell irrigation districts are established, ensuring a reliable water supply for agriculture.
  • 1959 - The Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge is established along the Snake River in Canyon County.
  • 1972 - The College of Western Idaho is founded, providing higher education opportunities in the county.
  • 2007 - Wildfires sweep through Canyon County, causing significant damage to homes and farmland.