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Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and other explorers from Spain came to the area that is now Texas throughout the 1500s and 1600s. Some Spanish explorers actually settled near what is now El Paso in 1685, in an area they called Ysleta. Then, in 1685, a French colony was established at Matagorda Bay by Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle. Although, that colony didn't last very long.
In 1821, a group of Americans settled near the Brazos River. Stephen F. Austin led that group, which came to the area shortly after it gained independence from Spain and came under Mexican control. A very short war took place between the government of Mexico and the American settlers around that time. Then, in 1836, the Independent Republic of Texas was formed. Sam Houston was soon named the president of that republic. That short war included the battles of San Jacinto and the Alamo. The Mexican War then took place between 1846 and 1848, due largely to border disputes stemming from Texas gaining its statehood in 1845.
Texas entered the union as the 28th state on December 29, 1845. It has 254 Counties.
Each county serves as the local level of government within its borders. Texas was originally divided into municipalities, a unit of local government under Spanish and Mexican rule. When the Republic of Texas gained its independence in 1836, there were 23 municipalities, which became the original Texas counties. Many of these would later be divided into new counties. Some of these early counties went through an early period of organization prior to their final organization. Often the records are not extant from the early period.
Jefferson County has the largest (658,466), and Greene County (9,045) has the least, according to the 2010 Census.
Texas is bordered by Arkansas (northeast), Louisiana (east), New Mexico (west), Oklahoma, Mexico (south) It has a land area of 268,601 square miles making it the 2nd largest state. The capital is Austin and the official state website is www.texas.gov/.
The state's 2010 population was 25,145,561 and the largest cities (2010) are Houston, 2,099,451; San Antonio , 1,327,407; Dallas, 1,197,816; Austin (Capital), 790,390; Fort Worth , 741,206; El Paso, 649,121; Arlington, 365,438; Corpus Christi, 305,215; Plano, 259,841; Laredo, 36,091.
Texas name derives from the Caddo word thecas, meaning “allies” or “friends.” (The Spanish spelled the word tejas or texas and used it to describe the area where this Native American tribe lived.) . Texas's state nickname is " The Lone Star State ". The State Motto is " Friendship ".
In 1845, Texas entered the Union as the 28th state. It is located in the south-central part of the United States and is second in area only to Alaska. It is approximately 1,000 miles from the northern border of Texas to the southern border. It is also around the same distance from the western to the eastern borders. The state's capital is Austin.
Many of the borders of the state of Texas are based on bodies of water. For example, about two thirds of the northern border between Texas and Oklahoma is formed by the Red River. The Texas Panhandle makes up the rest of that border. Most of the state's eastern border with Louisiana is formed by the Sabine River, while the Gulf of Mexico borders the state in the southeast. Mexico and Texas are separated by a famous river, the Rio Grande.
The history and culture of Texas are extremely diverse. The same goes for the state's economy, and even its topography. It spent over 100 years as property of the Spanish Empire before falling under Mexican control between 1821 and 1836. After that, it became an independent republic and, eventually, a U.S. state. It gained a reputation for being a frontier area with gunfights, cowboys, and outlaws. Although many residents still value that heritage, the state of Texas is now known more as an area of finance and industry. It is famous for natural gas, oil, and agriculture. It even features several urban hubs, which stand in stark contrast to its frontier history. Although, it still has plenty of open land used for growing cotton and raising cattle.
The Spanish settlement of Isleta, which is located close to present-day El Paso, was founded in 1682. At that time, there were several Native American tribes inhabiting the region. From 1685 to 1700, Goliad, San Antonia, and Nacogdoches became home to Spanish military outposts known as presidios, as well as Franciscan missions. In 1718, when the area was under the jurisdiction of the Spaniards, San Antonio, which already had a mission and a military post, became the region's administrative headquarters. In 1727, Texas was established as a province. At that time, its boundaries were not clearly defined. The population consisted of priests, soldiers, and several colonist groups. Many of those settlers were located near San Antonio. Both Mexico and Spain organized early municipalities in the area. In fact, 29 political subdivisions were created in the area from 1731 to 1836. Although, some of them were only located partially within the Texas border.
In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase took place. The result was a major boundary dispute with Spain regarding the border between Texas and Louisiana. The United States claimed that its territory extended to the Sabine River in the west, while Spain claimed that its territory ran all the way to the east, where the Red River was located. In 1806, a neutral region was formed, creating a temporary settlement to the agreement, but that neutral region soon became home to many outlaws and troublemakers because there was no government jurisdiction of any kind in the area. The region also became home to several Native American tribes from 1809 onward. Those tribes included the Oto, Osage, and Quapaw.
Many Catholics residing in Louisiana wound up moving to Texas when Spain loosened its immigration laws in the region. In 1819, the boundary of Louisiana was accepted as being the bank of the Sabine River. Nevertheless, border disputes still went on in the area. Then, in 1820, Miller County was organized in Arkansas Territory, but part of it was located within the border of Texas.
In 1821, Mexico became independent from Spain. At that time, Mexico included the area that is known as Texas today. Certain grantees were allowed to enter the area, regardless of faith. Although, the Mexican government did their best to only encourage Roman Catholics to enter the region.
As a grantee, or impresario, certain people were allowed to settle in Mexico in the region that is now Texas. One of those grantees was Stephen F. Austin, who inherited a land grant from his father. Stephen F. Austin was the first American impresario in the region. He established a colony there, which included many of the first Anglo-Americans to ever settle in what is now known as Texas. Around that time, boundaries were still unclear. So, colonists soon spread across the region all the way from the old San Antonio road to the coast. The old San Antonio road connected the rivers of San Jacinto and Lavaca. Soon, other colonists came to the area as well.
Up until 1832, the Mexican government was still issuing contracts for settlement in the area. In fact, several settlers from Arkansas and Tennessee came to the area in the 1820s. Soon, settlers were coming from many other regions as well, including Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. In 1825, a municipality called Refugio was formed. Two years later, Austin was established. The year after that, Golidad was founded. Then, in 1831, both Liberty and Nacogdoches were formed as well. Land title situations were difficult at times due to unclear boundaries and duplicate land grants. In the 1830s, things were further complicated when both Mexico and Spain formed more municipalities in the region. Comparing the names of those later municipalities to the earlier names shows how many Americans came to that area during those years.
Some immigrants to Texas came by boat from New Orleans. The boats came in at the ports of Indianola and Galveston in Texas. Other immigrants came over land from Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina.
On march 2, 1836, the Republic of Texas was founded. That was four days prior to the victory at San Jacinto, which ended major military conflicts in the area. The most famous of those conflicts was the Battle of the Alamo, when Mexican troops led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna attacked that now famous location.
Many Americans were living in the Texas area in 1836, and they were pushing for the area to gain its statehood. Beginning in 1841, the Republic of Texas started to give out colonization contracts, trying to get more residents to live in the area and increase the possibility of statehood becoming a reality. Then, in 1845, residents finally got their wish when Texas became the 28th state in the union.
Unfortunately, Mexicans were not happy when Texas became a U.S. state. That led to the Mexican War, which lasted from 1846 to 1848. It was fought in what is now Texas. Both countries were claiming Texas as their own. Both countries were also claiming other land, including what is now California. Mexico wanted to retain rights to all of that land, but the United States won the conflict.
The federal government put several policies and fortifications into place to keep Native Americans from attacking settlers in Texas. Nevertheless, during the first few decades that Texas was a state, there were several skirmishes between Native Americans and the settlers in the state.
More than 30,000 German immigrants settled in what is now Texas before 1850. During the Revolution, Texas seceded from the Union, even though both those German settlers and the Governor, Sam Houston, objected. Many men from Texas joined the Confederate army after that. However, in 1866, Texas became part of the Union again.
The state of Texas experienced major economic growth, thanks in large part to livestock, as well as wheat and cotton growth. The oil industry was also thriving early on in Texas, and continues to thrive today. The area offered so much economic stability and so many opportunities that immigrants came from Norway, Ireland, Sweden, Poland, and other European countries to settle in Texas. In addition, the Post Cereal Company gave out cheap land in the western part of the state during the Great Depression. Those who accepted only needed to agree to grow grain to be used for items produced by the company. People from Mexico also came to the area, and continue to come to it, in order to get industrial or farming jobs.