Out from Shadows Up from Fields: From Mining to Farming and Ranching, Mexicans Have Transformed the 43rd State

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2011


The Mexican contribution to the prosperity of Idaho has been as great as any immigrant group's. Long before the Basque herded sheep at the foot of the Rockies, long before Finnish lumberjacks, Chinese miners, German brew masters, and Anglo-Saxon entrepreneurs, Mexicans trapped beaver, prospected for mineral wealth and pioneered the gold and silver trails that opened the Idaho mines. Mexicans ranched and farmed the land, built and maintained the railroads, planted and harvested crops that made others rich. In 2010, despite discrimination and brutal conditions, their numbers rose to nearly 10 percent of the state's population, making them the largest and fastest-growing minority in Idaho.

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