Coeur d'Alene is the largest city and county seat of Kootenai County, Idaho, United States. It is the principal city of the Coeur d'Alene Metropolitan Statistical Area. Coeur d'Alene has the second largest metropolitan area in the state of Idaho. As of the 2010 census the population of Coeur d'Alene was 44,137. The city is located about east of the larger Spokane, Washington. After the 2010 Census the two metropolitan areas were merged into a single Combined Statistical Area with a population of 674,610. Coeur d'Alene is the largest city in the northern Idaho Panhandle. The city is located on the north shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene, in length. Locally, Coeur d'Alene is known as the "Lake City," or simply called by its initials: "CDA".
The city of Coeur d'Alene has grown significantly in recent years, in part because of a substantial increase in tourism, encouraged by several resorts in the area. Barbara Walters called the city "a little slice of Heaven" and included it in her list of most fascinating places to visit. On November 28, 2007, Good Morning America broadcast the city's Christmas lighting ceremony because its display is among the largest in the United States. Coeur d'Alene is a resort town, with the Coeur d'Alene Resort taking up a prominent portion of the city's downtown. It is also located near two major ski resorts, with Silver Mountain Resort to the east in Kellogg, and Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort to the north in Sandpoint.
The city is named after the Coeur d'Alene People, a tribe of Native Americans who lived along the rivers and lakes of the region when discovered by French fur traders in the late 18th and early 19th century. The name Coeur d'Alene translated into English means Heart of an Awl, a reflection of the perception of the tribe's traders as very tough businessmen.
French fur traders allegedly named the local Indian tribe the Coeur d'Alene out of respect for their tough trading practices. Translated from French Cœur d'Alêne literally means "heart of the awl" which might mean "sharp-hearted" or "shrewd."
The area was extensively explored by David Thompson of the North West Company starting in 1807. The Oregon boundary dispute (or Oregon question) arose as a result of competing British and American claims to the Pacific Northwest of North America in the first half of the 19th century. The Oregon Treaty ended disputed joint occupation of the area when Britain ceded all rights to land south of the 49th parallel in 1846. When General William T. Sherman ordered a fort constructed on the lake in the 1870s, he gave it the name Fort Coeur d'Alene; hence the name of the city that grew around it. The name of the fort was later changed to Fort Sherman to honor the general. North Idaho College, a community college, now occupies the site.
In the 1890s, the Coeur d'Alene district experienced two significant miners' uprisings. In 1892, the union's discovery of a labor spy in their midst, in the person of sometime cowboy and Pinkerton agent Charlie Siringo, resulted in a shooting war between miners and the company. Years later Harry Orchard, who owned a share of the Hercules Mine in the nearby mountains before it began producing, and who later confessed to dynamiting a $250,000 mill belonging to the Bunker Hill Mining Company near Wardner during another miners' uprising in 1899, would also confess to a secret, brutal and little understood role in the Colorado Labor Wars before returning to Idaho to assassinate former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg.