|State nickname: Lone Star State|
|Other U.S. States|
|Official languages||None. English and Spanish are de facto.|
|Area||696,241 km² (2nd)|
|- Land||678,907 km²|
|- Water||17,333 km² (2.5%)|
|- Population||20,851,820 (2nd)|
|- Density||30.75 /km² (28th)|
|Admission into Union|
|- Date||December 29, 1845|
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
Mountain: UTC-7/-6 (part of west Texas)
|Latitude||25°50'N to 36°30'N|
|Longitude||93°31'W to 106°38'W|
|- Highest||Guadalupe Peak, 2,667 m|
|- Mean||520 m|
|- Lowest||0 m|
|- ISO 3166–2||US-TX|
Major state designations and symbols include:
- state flower — the bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis)
- state motto — "Friendship"
- state nickname — The Lone Star State (because Texas was an independent country before becoming a U.S. state)
- state tree — the pecan
- state bird — the mockingbird
- official state song — Texas Our Texas
- state mammals (three)
With an area of 690,000 km2, Texas forms the second-largest US state in size after Alaska and the largest state in the contiguous 48 states. It has historically had a "larger than life" reputation, especially in cowboy films.
Texas borders New Mexico on the west, Oklahoma on the north (across the Red River), and Louisiana (across the Sabine River) and Arkansas on the east. To the southwest, across the Rio Grande, Texas borders the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas. To the southeast of Texas lies the Gulf of Mexico.
Texas lies in the south-central part of the United States of America. Depending on whom you talk to (and which part of Texas they come from), Texas forms part of the US South or part of the US Southwest. Texas shares some cultural elements with both regions, with more similarities with the South, especially Arkansas and Louisiana, in East Texas, and more similarities with the Southwest, especially Mexico and New Mexico, in West Texas and South Texas.
Texas can claim that 'Six Flags' have flown over its soil: the Fleur-de-lis of France, and the national flags of Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America and the Confederate States of America.
For more information on Texas Pre-History, go to the Handbook of Texas On Line.
Native American inhabitants of present-day Texas include Apache, Atakapan, Bidai, Caddo, Comanche, Cherokee, Kiowa, Tonkawa, and Wichita. For more information on Texas Indians, go to the Handbook of Texas On Line
The Republic of Mexico (1821–1836)
The Texas Revolution (1835–1836)
The Republic of Texas (1836–1845)
The Republic of Texas included all the area now included in the state of Texas, although its self-proclaimed western and northwestern borders extended as far west as Santa Fe and as far northwest as present-day Wyoming, respectively.
Annexation of Texas (1845)
In 1845, Texas became the first and, to date, only internationally recognized independent, sovereign state directly admitted to the United States as a constituent state of the Union. (Vermont, which declared itself an independent Republic in 1777, and joined the Union in 1791, operated autonomously of the United States during that period, but was not internationally recognized. The self-proclaimed California Republic and the internationally-recognized Republic of Hawaii were both annexed by the United States, but were not immediately admited as states. The territory included in the California Republic operated under military rule from 1848 until California's admission to the Union in 1850. Hawaii was annexed in 1898, but was organized into a territory in 1900 and remained such until its admission in 1959.)
Resolution Annexing Texas to the United States 1 March 1845
Civil War Texas
Early Modern Texas
20th Century Texas
- 1519: Alonso Alvarez de Pineda, a Spanish explorer, became probably the first European to map the Texas coast.
- 1528–1534: Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, another Spanish explorer, spent six years visiting Texas for trade.
- 18 February 1685: René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de LaSalle established Fort St. Louis at Matagorda Bay, thus establishing a French claim to Texan territory.
- 1690: Alonso De León crosses the Rio Grande to establish San Francisco de los Tejas Mission in East Texas, effectively blazing the Old San Antonio Road portion of the Camino Real – one of the oldest continuously-used roadways in the United States.
- 1700–1799: Spain established Catholic missions in Texas throughout the 18th century.
- 3 January 1823: Stephen F. Austin began a colony of 300 families in the Brazos River region. This group became known as the "Old Three Hundred".
- 26 June 1832: The Battle of Velasco resulted in the first casualties of the developing Texas Revolution.
- 1832–1833: The "Conventions" of 1832 and 1833 responded to rising unrest at the policies of the ruling Mexican government. Policies that most irritated the Texians included the Mexican ban on slavery, the forcible disarmament of Texian settlers, and the expulsion of illegal immigrants from the United States of America. The example of the Centralista forces' suppression of dissidents in Zacatecas also inspired fear of the Mexican government.
- 1835: The Texas Revolution began. Early in 1835 Stephen F. Austin announced that only war with Mexico could secure Texian freedom.
- 2 October 1835: Texians fought a Mexican cavalry detachment at the town of Gonzales, which began the actual revolution.
- 28 October 1835: At the "Battle of Concepcion", 90 Texians defeated 450 Mexicans.
- 2 March 1836: The "Convention of 1836" signed the Texas "Declaration of Independence", making an attempt at a clear break from Mexican rule.
- 6 March 1836: A Mexican army (numbering 4,000 to 5,000) besieged approximately 190 Texians, led by William B. Travis, at the Alamo in San Antonio. The thirteen-day siege resulted in the deaths of all of the defenders, including Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and Travis.
- 27 March 1836: By the order of General Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexicans executed James Fannin and nearly 400 Texians in the Massacre at Goliad. The place-names Goliad, Alamo. San Jacinto, etc. line the rim of Rotunda of the Capitol in Austin.
- 21 April 1836: General Santa Anna, having defeated the Texas rebellion, while conducting mopping up operations advanced to San Jacinto in pursuit of the fleeing rebels. Led by Sam Houston, the Texians won their independence in one of the most decisive battles in history when they defeated the Mexican forces of Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. Houston's army of 800 killed or captured the entire Mexican force of 1,600 men, themselves suffering only nine fatal casualties. Santa Anna himself passed into captivity.
- 14 May 1836: Republic of Texas officials and General Santa Anna signed the treaty of Velasco.
- 1836: Five cities (Washington-on-the-Brazos, Galveston, Harrisburg, Velasco, and Columbia) each served as temporary capitals of Texas before Sam Houston moved the capital to Houston in 1837.
- 5 March 1842: A Mexican force of over 500 men, led by Rafael Vasquez, invaded Texas for the first time since the revolution. They soon headed back to the Rio Grande after briefly occupying San Antonio.
- 11 September 1842: 1,400 Mexican troops, led by Adrian Woll, captured San Antonio again. They retreated, as before, but with prisoners this time.
- 29 December 1845: President James K. Polk of the United States of America followed through on a campaign platform promising to annex Texas, and signed legislation making Texas the 28th state of the United States.
- 9 September 1850: The Compromise of 1850 stripped Texas of a third of its claimed territory (now parts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming) in return for the federal government assuming $10 million of Texas's pre-annexation debt.
- 1 February 1861: The "Secession Convention" met and voted 171 to 6 to submit an ordinance of secession to the people.
- 23 February 1861: In the statewide election on the secession ordinance, Texans voted to secede from the Union by a vote of 46,129 to 14,697 (a 76% majority). The Secession Convention immediately organized a new state government, replacing Sam Houston when he refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy.
- 19 June 1865: Union troops landed in Galveston, Texas with news of the Emancipation Proclamation, two-and-a-half years after Lincoln signed it.
- 30 March 1870: The United States Congress readmitted Texas into the Union.
Government and politics
Law and government
Austin is the capital of Texas. The state Capitol resembles the federal Capitol Building in Washington, DC, but is faced in pink granite and is topped by a statue of the "Goddess of Liberty" holding aloft a five-point Texas star. Like several other southern state capitols, it faces south instead of north. The capitol building is taller than the U.S. national capitol, but less massive.
Republican Rick Perry has served as Governor of Texas since December 2000 when the office was vacated by President-elect George W. Bush; two Republicans represent Texas in the U.S. Senate: Kay Bailey Hutchison (since 1993) and John Cornyn (since 2002)
The current Texas constitution, adopted in 1876, is the second longest in the nation. As with many state constitutions, it explicitly provides for the separation of powers and incorporates its bill of rights directly into the text of the constitution (as Article I). The bill of rights is considerably lengthier and more detailed than the federal Bill of Rights, and includes some provisions unique to Texas.
The executive branch consists of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Land Commissioner, Attorney General, Agriculture Commissioner, the three-member Railroad Commission, the State Board of Education, and the Secretary of State. Except for the Secretary of States—who is appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate—each of these officials is elected. There are also a large number of state agencies and numerous boards and commissions. Partly because of the large number of elected officials, the Governor's powers are quite limited in comparison to other state governors or the U.S. President. In popular lore and belief the Lieutenant Governor, who heads the Senate and appoints its committees, has more power than the Governor. The Governor commands the state militia and can veto bills passed by the Legislature and call special sessions of the Legislature. He or she also appoints members of various executive boards and fills judicial vacancies between elections.
The Legislature of Texas, like the legislature of every other state except Nebraska, is bicameral (that is, has two chambers). The House of Representatives has 150 members, while the Senate has 31. The speaker of the house (currently Tom Craddick R-Midland) leads the House, and the Lieutenant Governor (currently Republican David Dewhurst) leads the State Senate. The Legislature meets in regular session only once every two years.
The judicial system of Texas has a reputation as one of the most complex in the United States—if not in the world—with many layers and many overlapping jurisdictions. Texas has two courts of last resort: the Texas Supreme Court—which hears civil cases—and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Except in the case of some municipal benches, partisan elections choose all of the judges at all levels of the judiciary; the Governor fills vacancies by appointment.
Texas has a total of 254 counties, each run by a county commissioners' court headed by an elected "county judge".
Main article: Politics of Texas
Texas politics are currently dominated by the Republican Party, which has strong majorities in the Texas Senate and House of Representatives. Every executive branch official elected statewide is Republican, as is every member of Texas' two courts of last resort; no Democrat has won a statewide election since 1994. The majority of the state's delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives is Republican, as are both U.S. Senators.
Like other Southern states, Texas historically was a one-party state of the Democratic Party. The Democrats controlled a majority in the Texas House and in the state's Congressional delegation until the 2002 and 2004 elections, respectively.
Texas has five major topographic regions:
- The Coastal Plain, from the Gulf of Mexico inland to about San Antonio and just southeast of Austin
- The Hill Country and Edwards Plateau, a hilly rocky area in central Texas bordered on the east by the Balcones Fault zone and Blackland Prairie.
- The Great Plains region extends into northern Texas, including the Llano Estacado and the Panhandle high plains
- The North Central Plains
- The Trans Pecos Desert.
Articles on Texas regions:
- Interstate 10
- Interstate 20
- Interstate 27
- Interstate 30
- Interstate 35
- Interstate 37
- Interstate 40
- Interstate 44
- Interstate 45
- Interstate 69 (proposed extension)
|North-south routes||East-west routes|
Texas remained largely rural until World War II, with cattle ranching, oil, and agriculture as its main industries. In 1926 San Antonio had the largest population of any city in Texas with over 120,000 people.
After World War II, Texas became increasingly industralized. Its economy (circa 2000) relies largely on information technology, oil and natural gas, energy exploration and energy trading, agriculture, and manufacturing. Two major economic centers exist: the Houston Metropolitan Area, centered in Houston, and Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, centered on those two cities. Houston stands at the center of the petrochemical and NASA/space trades while Dallas functions as the center of the agricultural and information technology labor market in Texas. Other major cities include San Antonio, Austin, Brownsville, Lubbock, Amarillo, McAllen, Tyler, Odessa and Midland. Other important cities include Killeen, home to Fort Hood the largest military Post in the US,El Paso, Eagle Pass, and Laredo; these have particular significance due to their location on the border with Mexico, making them important trade points.
The state passed New York in the 1990s to become the second-largest U.S. state in population (after California). In 2001 Texas had a gross state product of $764 billion. Texas's growth is often attributed to the availability of jobs, the low cost of living, the lack of a state income tax, low taxation of business, limited government (the state legislature of Texas meets only once every two years) and favorable climate.
Film and Television
The Texas Film Commission was founded for free services to filmmakers, from location research to traveling.
The people of Texas, historically often known as Texians, are now generally referred to as Texans.
As of 2003, the state had a population of 22,118,509, nearly one-third of them Latinos, some of whom have recently immigrated from Mexico, Central America, and South America. Others, known as Tejanos, have ancestors who have lived in Texas since before Texan independence, or at least for several generations.
Other population groups in Texas also exhibit great diversity. Frontier Texas saw settlements of Germans, particularly in Fredericksburg and New Braunfels. After the European revolutions of 1848, German, Polish, Swedish, Norwegian, Czech and French immigration grew, and continued until World War I. The influence of the diverse immigrants from Europe survives in the names of towns, styles of architecture, genres of music, and varieties of cuisine.
In recent years the Asian population in Texas has grown, especially in Houston and in Dallas. People from mainland China, Vietnam, India, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Pakistan and other countries have settled in Texas.
Texas will be before 2010 the fourth minority-majority state in the nation (after Hawaii, New Mexico and California). Moreover, according to the Texas state Data center, Latinos will become a majority by 2030.
Racial makeup of Texas:
2000 demographic data comes from the United States Census . 2003 demographic data comes from estimates by the Demographer of the State of Texas. The State Demographer does not currently have estimates on Asian and American Indian demographics for the state; these are included under 'Mixed/Other' for 2003. The 2003 estimates are necessarily not as accurate as the 2000 census.
Census data reports 7.8% of Texas's population as under 5, 28.2% under 18, and 9.9% over 64 years. Females made up 50.4% of the population.
The religious affiliations of the citizens of Texas are:
Important cities and towns
Main Article: List of cities in Texas
List of cities by population (2000)
List of metropolitan areas by population (2000)
As of the 2000 Census Texas had 22 Metropolitan Statistical Areas or MSAs and 2 Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Areas or CMSAs; for a total of 24 metropolitan areas.
- Abilene MSA
- Amarillo MSA
- Austin- San Marcos MSA
- Beaumont- Port Arthur MSA
- Brownsville- Harlingen- San Benito MSA
- Bryan- College Station MSA
- Corpus Christi MSA
- Dallas-Fort Worth CMSA
- Eagle Pass
- El Paso MSA
- Houston-Galveston-Brazoria CMSA
- Killeen- Temple MSA
- Laredo MSA
- Longview- Marshall MSA
- Lubbock MSA
- McAllen- Edinburg- Mission MSA
- Odessa-Midland MSA
- San Angelo MSA
- San Antonio MSA
- Sherman- Denison MSA
- Texarkana MSA
- Tyler MSA
- Victoria MSA
- Waco MSA
- Wichita Falls MSA
Colleges and universities
Professional sports teams
The Houston Oilers, formerly based in Texas, moved to Memphis and later to Nashville, Tennessee, and became the Tennessee Titans. Houston also formerly had the Arena Football League team Houston Thunderbears, and the Minor League Soccer team Houston Hotshots.
Through 2004, El Paso had a minor-league baseball team in the Texas League, the El Paso Diablos, but the club moved to Springfield, Missouri after that season and became known as the Springfield Cardinals.
- Famous for their role in the history of Texas law enforcement, the Texas Rangers continue today to provide special law enforcement services to the state.
- One state holiday, Juneteenth (from "June" + "Nineteenth", its date), commemorates the day in 1865 that the slaves in Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation.
- Texas has the largest capitol building in the United States (311 ft), including Washington D.C.
Other state designations
- Air Force — Commemorative Air Force (formerly known as the Confederate Air Force), based in Midland
- dinosaur — the Brachiosaur Sauropod, Pleurocoelus
- state dish — chili con carne
- state fiber and fabric — cotton
- state fish — Guadalupe bass
- state folk dance — square dance
- state fruit — Texas red grapefruit
- state gem — Texas blue topaz
- state gemstone cut — The Lone Star Cut
- state grass — Sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)
- state insect — monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
- musical instrument — guitar
- state peppers (two)
- state plant — prickly pear cactus
- state reptile — Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum), commonly called the "horny toad"
- state shell — lightning whelk (Busycon perversum pulleyi)
- state ship — the Battleship USS Texas (BB-35)
- state shrub — crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
- state sport — rodeo
- state stone — petrified palmwood
- state tartan — Texas Bluebonnet Tartan
- state vegetable — Texas sweet onion
The pledge to the Texas Flag is:
Honor the Texas Flag
I pledge allegiance to thee
Texas, one, and indivisible
- Comanche Lodge – A History Of The Comanche Indian People
- List of Texas-related topics
- Don't mess with Texas
- List of Texans
- List of Texas county name etymologies
- List of Texas county seat name etymologies
- Wikitravel Entry
- Imperial Texas: An Interpretive Essay in Cultural Geography, D. W. Meinig, University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas, 1969, hardback, 145 pages.
- Great River, The Rio Grande in North American History, Paul Horgan, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, reprint, 1977, in one hardback volume, ISBN 0–03–029305–7
- Interactive Texas Map
- Texas Map Collection
- Texas Panhandle Plains – History Of Amarillo and the Southern Plains
- The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum website
- Texas Online – The Texas Government web portal.
- Texas Marriages Index 1966–2002 – Texas Marriages Index 1966–2002.
- Texas Divorces Index 1968–2002 – Texas Divorces Index 1968–2002.
- Texas News – A collection of news clippings and links related to Texas.
- Texas Obituary Links – A directory of obituary resources arranged by county.
- The Handbook of Texas Online, published by the Texas State Historical Association
- State Department of Public Safety, Texas Ranger Division
- GenealogyBuff.com – Texas Genealogy Library of Files.
- Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum
- Origin of state name and nickname
- Lone Star Junction, a Texas history resource
- The Native Plant Society of Texas
- The Native Prairies Association of Texas