The exact origin of the name of Boise, Idaho, is somewhat of a mystery. The word seems to relate to the French word for woods "les bois," but the stories of who named it vary throughout local folklore. Many claim that a French-speaking guide for Captain B.L.E. Bonneville shouted the words when their exploration party reached the Boise River Valley. The city was incorporated in 1864 and is the capital of Idaho and the seat of Ada County.
Roughly 84.6 percent of Boise's population is white, and the largest minority group is Hispanics and Latinos, who account for 7 percent of the city's total residents. The city has the second largest Basque population in the United States and one of the largest in the world. Each year, Boise hosts its Jaialdi festival in honor of its Basque heritage, and there is a Basque Cultural Museum in the city. Overall, Boise has a population of more than 205,000 and ranks as the fourth largest metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest.
Computer and electronics manufacturing and services employ 8.5 percent of Boise's residents, tying it with health care as the largest industries in the city. A producer of semiconductor devices, Micron Technology is the largest employer. Sybase, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft also have Boise offices. Saint Luke's Regional Medical Center is Boise's second largest employer, and Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center is also one of the largest organizations in the city.
Education ranks as the second largest industry for Boise residents, contributing 7.2 percent of all jobs. The Boise School District runs most of the schools in the city with four high schools, eight junior high schools and 31 elementary schools. Boise State University is based in the city, and there are campuses for both Idaho State and the University of Idaho located there.
Nine major neighborhoods make up Boise, each with is own defining characteristics. The Warm Springs area features some of the city's largest homes, and many new residential developments are being built in the East End. The North End has some of the most historic homes in Boise and is known for its vibrant artists' communities.
A major cultural center, Boise hosts a very popular jazz festival in the spring. It also serves as home to many performing arts groups, including the Boise Little Theatre, Boise Contemporary Theater, the Boise Philharmonic and Prairie Dog Productions. The city features the minor league baseball Boise Hawks, mid-level professional hockey Idaho Steelheads and the D-League basketball Idaho Steelheads.
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