Alternate meanings: See Texas (disambiguation)

State nickname: Lone Star State

Other U.S. States
Capital Austin
Largest City Houston
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water
 - % water
Ranked 2nd
696,241 km²
678,907 km²
17,333 km²
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 2nd
Admittance into Union
 - Order
 - Date

December 29, 1845
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Mountain: UTC-7/-6
All but some of west TX is in Central
25°50'N to 36°30'N
93°31'W to 106°38'W
1,065 km
1,270 km
2,667 meters
520 meters
0 meters
ISO 3166-2:US-TX

Texas is a state of the United States of America.

The state name derives from a Caddo word meaning friends or allies, and was mistakenly applied to the people and their location by Spanish explorers.

The state flower is the bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis); the state motto is "Friendship." The state nickname is The Lone Star State, after the single star on the state flag. The state tree is the pecan and the state bird is the mockingbird. The state dish is chili con carne. The state insect is the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus).

The pledge to the Texas Flag is:

Honor the Texas Flag
I pledge alliegance to thee
Texas, one, and indivisible

Texas (area 690,000 km2) is the second largest state in size after Alaska and has historically been portrayed as larger than life, especially in cowboy films.

Table of contents
1 Location
2 History
3 Important dates:
4 Law and Government
5 Geography
6 Economy
7 Demographics
8 Important Cities and Towns
9 Education
10 Professional Sports Teams
11 Miscellaneous Information
12 External links


Texas is bordered to the west by New Mexico, to the north by Oklahoma (across the Red River), and to the east by Louisiana (across the Sabine River) and Arkansas. To the south west Texas borders Mexico (across the Rio Grande), the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas. To the south east Texas has a shore of the Gulf of Mexico.

Texas is located in the south center of the United States. Depending on who you talk to (and which part of Texas they are from), Texas is part of the US South or the US Southwest. Texas shares some cultural elements with both regions, with more similarities to the South, especially Louisiana, in the east of the state, and more similarities to the Southwest, especially New Mexico, in the west.


Among Native American inhabitants of present Texas were Apache, Atakapa, Bidai, Caddo, Comanche, Karankawa, Kiowa, Tonkawa, and Wichita.

On November 6, 1528 shipwrecked Spanish conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca became the first known European to set foot on Texas.

Texas can claim 'Six Flags' have flown over its soil (including the 'Fleur de Lis' of France).

Texas was part of the Spanish colony of New Spain; see Spanish Texas for details.

After Mexican independence in 1821 Texas was a part of Mexico. See Mexican Texas.

Also see Texas Revolution.

The Republic of Texas (1836-1845)

Texas was the first sovereign nation (other than aboriginal nations) to be annexed by the United States. (The others were the California Republic and the Kingdom of Hawaii.) The area now known as Texas was called The Republic of Texas from 1836 to 1845.

Important dates:

  • 1519. Alonso Alvarez de Pineda, a Spanish explorer, was probably the first European to map the Texas coast.
  • 1528 - 1534. Álvar Nuñez Cabeça de Vaca, another Spanish explorer, spent six years visiting Texas for trade.
  • 18 February 1685. Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de LaSalle established Fort St. Louis at Matagorda Bay, thus laying claim to Texas by France.
  • 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 is now 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 were triggered by rising unrest at the policies of the ruling Mexican government. Among the policies that most irritated the Texians were 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.
  • Texas Revolution Early in 1835, Stephen F. Austin announced that war with Mexico was necessary to 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. Approximately 190 Texians, led by William B. Travis, were besieged at the Alamo in San Antonio by the Mexican army (numbering 4,000 to 5,000). The thirteen-day siege resulted in the deaths of all of its defenders, including Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and Travis.
  • 27 March 1836. By the order of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the Mexicans executed James Fannin and nearly 400 Texians in the Massacre at Goliad.
  • 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, independence was won in one of the most decisive battles in history when Texans defeated Mexican forces of Santa Anna at the "Battle of San Jacinto". The entire Mexican force of 1,600 men was killed or captured by Houston's army of 800, with only nine fatal casualties. Santa Anna was among the captives.
  • 14 May 1836. The treaty of Velasco was signed by Republic of Texas Officials and General Santa Anna.
  • 1836. Five cities served as temporary capitals of Texas (Washington-on-the-Brazos, Galveston, Harrisburg, Velasco, and Columbia) 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. San Antonio was captured again by 1400 Mexican troops, led by Adrian Woll. They retreated, as before, but with prisoners this time.
  • 29 December 1845. President James K. Polk 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 strips Texas of 1/3 of its claimed territory (now parts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma) in return for the federal government assuming $10 million of Texas's pre-annexation debt.
  • 1 February 1861. Following a 171 to 6 vote by the "Secession Convention", Texas seceded from the Union. Sam Houston was one of the voters who opposed secession.
  • 30 March 1870. The United States Congress readmitted Texas into the Union.
  • 20 January 2001. George W. Bush is inagurated. Born in New Haven, Connecticut he was raised in Midland, Texas.

Law and Government

Its capital is
Austin, also known as the "Live Music Capital of the World." The Capitol is loosely modeled after the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, except that it is built of pink granite and its dome is topped by a statue of the "Goddess of Liberty", holding aloft a five-point Texas star. The capitol building is taller than the national capitol, but less massive.

Texas has a republican government with separation of powers and bill of rights more inclusive than the federal Bill of Rights. The executive branch consists of an elected governor ("first among equals"), lieutenant governor, attorney general, land commissioner, agriculture commissioner, three railroad commissioners, the state board of education, an governor-appointed secretary of state and the bureaucracy. As a consequence of having so many officials elected that would normally be appointed in a cabinet, the governor is very weak and has few powers. It is widely accepted and believed that the Lt. governor is more powerful than the governor, since he heads the state senate and appoints committees. The governor is commander and chief of the state militia and can veto bills passed by the Legislature and call special sessions of the Legislature. He also appoints members of various executive boards and fills judicial vacancies between elections.

The Legislature of Texas has two chambers, a 150 member House of Representatives and a 31 member Senate. The House is led by the speaker of the house (currently Tom Craddick [R-Midland]), and the state Senate is lead by the Lt. governor (currently Republican David Dewhurst).

The judicial system of Texas has been called one of the most complex in the United States, if not the world. With many layers and much overlapping jursidiction, the judicial system of Texas is complicated. Texas has two highest courts, the Texas Supreme Court for civil cases, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. All of the judges at all levels of the judiciary are elected in partisan elections (vacancies are filled by governor appointments), except for some municipal benches.

Texas has 254 counties which are run by a county commissioners' court headed by a county judge (elected by the entire county). Every county maintains a constitutionally required county courthouse.

See: List of Texas Governors


Texas has five major topographic regions: 1) The Coastal Plain, from the Gulf of Mexico inland to about San Antonio and just southeast of Austin. 2) The Balcones, a hilly rocky area in east central Texas. 3) The Great Plains region extends into northern Texas, including the Llano Estacado and the Panhandle high plains. 4) The North Central Plains. 5) The Trans Pecos Desert.

Texas is divided into 254 counties; See: List of Texas counties


Texas was lagely rural before World War II with cattle ranching, oil, and agriculture as its main industries. In 1926 San Antonio was the largest city in Texas with over 120,000 people.

After World War II, Texas has become increasingly industralized. Its economy (circa 2000) is largely based on information technology, oil and natural gas, energy exploration and energy trading, agriculture, and manufacturing. The two major economic centers are the Houston Metropolitan Area, centered in Houston, and Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, centered on those two cities. Houston is the center of the petrochemical and NASA trades while Dallas is the center of the agricultural and information technology labor market in Texas. Other Major cities include Brownsville, Lubbock, McAllen, Tyler, Odessa and Midland. Other important cities include El Paso, Eagle Pass, and Laredo; these are very important because of their location at the borderline with Mexico, making them important trade points.

The state passed New York in the 1990s to become the second largest state in population after California largely due to the availability of jobs, low cost of living, high living standard, lack of a state income tax, low taxation of business, limited government (the state legislature of Texas meets only once every two years), warm weather, and friendly people.


As of 2000, the population of the state is 20,851,820.

Texas has a large number of Spanish speaking people some of whom have recently immigrated from Mexico, Central America, and South America but includes others, known as Tejanos, whose ancestors have lived in Texas since before independence from Mexico. Unlike other United States states which border Mexico, the culture of Texas gradually merges into that of Mexico producing a vibrant border region.

Texas has been largely fortunate in avoiding the racial and ethnic problems found in many southern states and large cities of the northeast. Much of this is because Texas's immigrant population and cultural connections with Mexico are considered to have a highly positive influence on the area's economy.

But Texas' diversity comes from more than its Hispanic residents. Frontier Texas was also settled by Germans (particularly in Fredericksburg and New Braunfels), Poles, Swedes, Norwegians, Czechs, and French, and their influence can still be noted in the names of towns, styles of architecture, genres of music, and variety of foods.

Nowadays, especially in Houston and Dallas, the Asian population in Texas is growing. People from mainland China, India, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Pakistan, and other countries are settling into Texas.

Important Cities and Towns

Main Article: List of cities in Texas


Colleges and Universities

  • Abilene Christian University
  • Amberton University
  • Angelo State University
  • Arlington Baptist College
  • Art Institute of Dallas
  • Austin College
  • Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Baylor University
  • College of Saint Thomas More
  • Concordia University, Austin
  • Criswell College
  • Dallas Baptist University
  • Dallas Christian College
  • Dallas Theological Seminary
  • DeVry University, Dallas
  • DeVry University, Houston
  • East Texas Baptist University
  • Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest
  • Hardin-Simmons University
  • Houston Baptist University
  • Howard Payne University
  • Huston-Tillotson College
  • Institute for Christian Studies
  • ICI University
  • Jarvis Christian College
  • Lamar University
  • LeTourneau University
  • Lee College
  • Lubbock Christian University
  • McMurry University
  • Midwestern State University
  • Northwood University
  • Our Lady of the Lake University
  • Paul Quinn College
  • Rice University
  • St. Edward's University
  • Saint Mary's University of San Antonio
  • Sam Houston State University
  • Schreiner College
  • Southern Methodist University
  • South Texas College of Law
  • Southwestern Adventist University
  • Southwestern Assemblies of God University
  • Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Southwestern Christian College
  • Southwestern University
  • Stephen F. Austin State University
  • Sul Ross State University
  • Texas A&M University System
    • Baylor College of Dentistry
    • Texas A&M University, College Station
    • Texas A&M University, Commerce
    • Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
    • Texas A&M University, Galveston
    • Texas A&M University Health Science Center
    • Texas A&M University - Kingsville
    • Prairie View A&M University
    • Tarleton State University
    • Texas A&M University-Texarkana
    • Texas A&M International University
    • West Texas A&M University
  • Texas Christian University
  • Texas College
  • Texas Lutheran University
  • Texas Southern University
  • Texas State Technical College System
    • Texas State Technical College- Harlingen
    • Texas State Technical College- Marshall
    • Texas State Technical College- Waco
    • Texas State Technical College- Sweetwater
  • Texas State University-San Marcos
  • Texas Tech University
  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
  • Texas Wesleyan University
  • Texas Woman's University
  • Trinity University
  • University of Central Texas
  • University of Dallas
  • University of Houston System
    • University of Houston
    • University of Houston Clear Lake
    • University of Houston-Downtown
    • University of Houston Victoria
  • University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
  • University of North Texas
  • University of North Texas Health Science Center
  • University of Saint Thomas
  • University of Texas System
    • University of Texas at Arlington
    • University of Texas at Austin
    • University of Texas at Brownsville
    • University of Texas at Dallas
    • University of Texas at El Paso
    • University of Texas-Pan American
    • University of Texas of the Permian Basin
    • University of Texas at San Antonio
    • University of Texas at Tyler
    • University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
    • University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
    • University of Texas Health Center at Tyler
    • University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
    • University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
    • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
  • University of the Incarnate Word
  • Wayland Baptist University
  • Wiley College

Professional Sports Teams

The Houston Oilers were based in Texas, but moved to Memphis and later, Nashville, Tennessee, and became the Tennessee Titans. Houston also formerly had the Arena Football League team Houston Thunderbears, and the Major League Soccer team Houston Hotshots.

Miscellaneous Information

A number of ships of the United States Navy have been named USS Texas in honor of this state.

Famous for their role in the history of Texas law enforcement, the Texas Rangers continue today to provide special law enforcment services to the state.

Further Reading

  • 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

External links