Texas is the second biggest state of the United States both in terms of area and population. It borders Mexico on the southwest and the Gulf of Mexico on the southeast. To the west is New Mexico, to the north and northeast lie Oklahoma and Arkansas, and Louisiana bounds Texas on the east. Austin is the capital of Texas. Houston is the largest city.
Humans lived in the area as early as 15,000 years ago. When the first European explorers arrived about 500 years ago, they found two main tribes of Indians: the Caddo of the Texarkana area and the Hasinai on the upper Angelina and Neches rivers. When Spanish explorers first met the Hasinai, the Spaniards were greeted with the word 'tayshas' meaning “friends” or “allies”. The Spanish pronounced it as 'tejas' and the English settlers pronounced it as Texas. In 1682 the Spanish established the first mission in Texas at Ysleta, a village near present-day El Paso, to convert native people to Christianity. In 1685 the French explorer Sieur de La Salle, built Fort Saint Louis near Matagorda Bay and claimed all the lands drained by the Mississippi River and its tributaries for France. In 1716, fearing more French incursions into their territory, the Spain established several missions, the most prominent of which was near San Antonio, which was founded as a Spanish town in 1718. No official boundary had ever been set between the territories claimed by Spain and those claimed by France, so when the United States bought the Louisiana territories from the French in 1803, the boundary was unclear. Although Spain had claimed Texas for more than 300 years, there were only three settlements between the Río Grande and the Sabine rivers: San Antonio, Goliad, and Nacogdoches. Spanish officials realized that more settlers were needed to prevent other countries from trying to claim the land. In 1820 Moses Austin, a United States citizen, asked the Spanish government in Mexico for permission to settle in Texas. Austin died soon after making his request, but his son, Stephen Fuller Austin, negotiated a contract with the new government to settle 300 families in Texas. This was the beginning of the empresario system. Empresarios were people who contracted with the Mexican government to bring Roman Catholic settlers to Texas in exchange for 9,300 hectares (23,000 acres) of land for each 100 families that they brought. In the ensuing 20 years, many immigrants from the southern United States arrived in Texas with Americans outnumbering Mexicans. Many of these Americans pretended to be Catholic, spoke English, did not have much respect for authority, and brought black slaves with them to cultivate cotton. Realizing that there were more Anglo-Americans in Texas than Mexicans, the Mexican government stationed Mexican troops there, and passed a law that restricted further Anglo-American immigration and prohibited the importation of slaves. Stephen Fuller Austin was sent to Mexico City to request Mexico to repeal the law. Austin was arrested and spent almost two years in prison. In 1834 the Mexican politician and soldier Antonio López de Santa Anna deposed the Mexican government and assumed dictatorial powers. He was determined to crush rebellions in Texas and sent Mexican soldiers to Gonzales, Texas, to retrieve a cannon that had been given to the settlers for use against Native Americans. The settlers, with a few reinforcements, forced the Mexicans to retreat in an encounter that is considered the first battle of the revolution. In November 1835 a convention of Anglo-American settlers set up a provisional state government, elected a governor and a council, and declared that Texans were fighting for the rights due them under the Mexican Constitution of 1824. Austin and two others were sent to the United States to secure loans. A Texan army was quickly gathered, and won a series of battles in the fall of 1835. However, the Texas forces were defeated at The Alamo, a former mission in San Antonio. On March 2, 1836, during the siege of The Alamo, a convention of American Texans met at Washington-on-the-Brazos and declared independence from Mexico. The delegates chose David G. Burnet provisional president, named Sam Houston commander in chief of all Texas forces, and adopted a constitution that protected the institution of slavery, which had been prohibited by Mexican law. The Texans defeated Santa Anna and his troops at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. Santa Anna was captured, and forced to recognize Texas’s independence and to withdraw south of the Río Grande.
Republic of Texas
In September 1836, and Sam Houston defeated Stephen Austin to become the first president of the new Republic of Texas. Although the new republic was recognized by the United States and by several European countries, Mexico refused to recognize it, arguing that the treaty signed by Santa Anna claimed territory that was not part of the original state of Tejas. The republic asserted that the Río Grande from its mouth to its source was the western boundary of the new country, which would have given Texas parts of present-day New Mexico and Colorado. Mexico maintained that the southern boundary of Texas should be the Nueces River and not the Río Grande.
Introduction to Texas - Video
Though the United States Senate rejected a treaty to annex Texas in 1844, it accepted ir later and Texas joined the Union on December 29, 1845. Under the treaty of annexation, Texas was responsible for all debts incurred by the republic. Mexico immediately broke off diplomatic relations with the United States. U.S. General (and future U.S. President) Zachary Taylor was ordered to the Río Grande to enforce it as the Texas boundary. Mexico, however, held that the boundary was the Nueces River and considered Taylor’s advance a provocation. Mexico sent troops across the Río Grande. Congress responded by declaring war on Mexico on May 13, 1846. Many Texans participated in the Mexican War. Members of the Texas Rangers, a group formed on the eve of the Texas Revolution by Austin to protect Anglo-Americans from attacks by Comanche and Apache, acted as scouts for U.S. troops. Mexico was defeated and relinquished its claims to Texas, and the United States acquired land that would become the states of California, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming. As part of the settlement, the United States paid Mexico the sum of $15 million and agreed to settle all legal claims of U.S. citizens against Mexico. Under the Compromise Measures of 1850 the United States paid Texas $10 million for territory on the Upper Río Grande. Texas used the money to pay debt and set up a school fund.
Largest City: Houston
State Nickname: Lonestar State
Texas Motto: "Friendship"
State flower: Bluebonnet
State tree: Pecan tree
State fish: Guadalupe bass
State mammal: Nine-banded Armadillo
State latge mammal: Texas longhorn
State insect: Monarch butterfly
State Seal (Coat of arms)
Texas Population: 28 million (2015 est.)
Population by race
Median Household Income (2015 est.)
Governor: Greg Abbott (Republican)
Current Texas time
Area of Texas
Highest point: Guadalupe Peak (8,751 ft or 2667.4 m)