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See also: National Parks and Monuments (table)National Parks and Monuments
Name Type1 Location Year authorized Size
Acadia NP SE Maine 1919 48,419 (19,603) Mountain and coast scenery.
..... Click the link for more information.
Texas(tĕk`səs), largest state in the coterminous United States. It is located in the south-central part of the country and is bounded by Oklahoma, across the Red River except in the Texas panhandle (N); Arkansas (NE); Louisiana, across the Sabine River (E); the Gulf of Mexico (SE); Mexico, across the Rio Grande (SW); and New Mexico (W).
Facts and Figures
Area, 267,338 sq mi (692,405 sq km). Pop. (2010) 25,145,561, a 20.6% increase since the 2000 census. Capital, Austin. Largest city, Houston. Statehood, Dec. 29, 1845 (28th state). Highest pt., Guadalupe Peak, 8,751 ft (2,667 m); lowest pt., sea level. Nickname, Lone Star State. Motto, Friendship. State bird, mockingbird. State flower, bluebonnet. State tree, pecan. Abbr., Tex., TX
Texas is roughly spade shaped. The vast expanse of the state contains great regional differences (the distance from Beaumont to El Paso is greater than that from New York to Chicago).
East Texas—the land between the Sabine and Trinity rivers—is Southern in character, with pine-covered hills, cypress swamps, and remnants of the great cotton plantations founded before the Civil War. Cotton farming has been supplemented by diversified agriculture, including rice cultivation; almost all of the state's huge rice crop comes from East Texas, and even the industrial cities of BeaumontBeaumont,
city (1990 pop. 114,323), seat of Jefferson co., Tex., on the Sabine-Neches Waterway; inc. 1838. A ship channel provides the facilities of a modern deepwater port, with shipyards and large storage tanks. Beaumont is a major oil city.
..... Click the link for more information. and Port ArthurPort Arthur,
city (1990 pop. 58,724), Jefferson co., SE Tex., on Sabine Lake; inc. 1898. A deepwater port of entry on the Sabine-Neches Canal, it is an extensive oil port, with many large refineries, chemical plants, and oil rigs and ships.
..... Click the link for more information. are surrounded by rice fields. The inland pines still supply a lumbering industry; HuntsvilleHuntsville.
1 City (1990 pop. 159,789), seat of Madison co., N Ala.; inc. 1811. A major center for U.S. space research, Huntsville is the site of the Redstone Arsenal, the U.S. army's control and procurement center for guided missiles and rockets. NASA's George C.
..... Click the link for more information. , LufkinLufkin,
city (1990 pop. 30,206), seat of Angelina co., E Tex.; inc. 1890. Situated in the deep pine woods, it is the core of a region of forest industries with many sawmills and the first plant to make newsprint from native pine.
..... Click the link for more information. , and NacogdochesNacogdoches
, city (1990 pop. 30,872), seat of Nacogdoches co., E Tex., in a pine and hardwood forest area; settled 1779. Industries in the city include lumbering, livestock and poultry raising and processing, and the manufacture of feed, wood and electronic products, motor
..... Click the link for more information. are important lumber towns. The real wealth of East Texas, however, comes from its immense, rich oil fields. LongviewLongview.
1 City (1990 pop. 70,311), seat of Gregg co., E Tex.; inc. 1872. It is a manufacturing, business, and distribution center for the rich East Texas oil field.
..... Click the link for more information. is an oil center, and TylerTyler,
city (1990 pop. 75,450), seat of Smith co., E Tex.; inc. 1850. In the heart of the rich East Texas oil field, Tyler has refineries and other oil-based industries. The administrative headquarters of various oil companies are there, and the city has diverse manufacturing.
..... Click the link for more information. is the headquarters of the East Texas Oil Field. Oil is also the economic linchpin of Beaumont and Port Arthur and the basis for much of the heavy industry that crowds the Gulf Coast.
The industrial heart of the coastal area is HoustonHouston,
city (1990 pop. 1,630,553), seat of Harris co., SE Tex., a deepwater port on the Houston Ship Channel; inc. 1837. Economy
The fourth largest city in the nation and the largest in the entire South and Southwest, Houston is a port of entry; a great
..... Click the link for more information. , the fourth largest city in the nation. Houston's development was spearheaded by the digging (1912–14) of a ship canal to the Gulf of Mexico, and the city today is the nation's second largest port in tonnage handled. Other Gulf ports in Texas are GalvestonGalveston
, city (1990 pop. 59,070), seat of Galveston co., on Galveston Island, SE Tex.; inc. 1839. The island lies across the entrance to Galveston Bay, an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico. Long causeways connect the city with the mainland, Houston, and Texas City.
..... Click the link for more information. , Texas CityTexas City,
city (1990 pop. 40,822), Galveston co., S Tex., on Galveston Bay, opposite the city of Galveston; inc. 1911. It is a railroad terminus and an industrial city and port with huge oil refineries, chemical plants, a large copper smelter, and factories making plastics and
..... Click the link for more information. , Brazosport (formerly Freeport), Port LavacaPort Lavaca
, city (1990 pop. 10,886), seat of Calhoun co., S Tex., on Lavaca Bay; inc. 1907. A deepwater port of entry, it is a shipping point for an agricultural (corn, rice, cattle, cotton) area.
..... Click the link for more information. , Corpus ChristiCorpus Christi
, city (1990 pop. 257,453), seat of Nueces co., S Tex.; inc. 1852. It is a port on Corpus Christi Bay at the entrance to Nueces Bay (at the mouth of the Nueces River).
..... Click the link for more information. , and BrownsvilleBrownsville,
city (1990 pop. 98,962), seat of Cameron co., extreme S Tex., on the Rio Grande c.17 mi (30 km) from its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico; inc. 1850. It is an important port of entry across the river from Matamoros, Mexico.
..... Click the link for more information. .
The S Gulf Coast is a popular tourist area, and some of the ports, such as Galveston and Corpus Christi, have economies dependent on both heavy industry and tourism. Brownsville, the southernmost Texas city and the terminus of the Intracoastal WaterwayIntracoastal Waterway,
c.3,000 mi (4,827 km) long, partly natural, partly artificial, providing sheltered passage for commercial and leisure boats along the U.S. Atlantic coast from Boston, Mass. to Key West, S Fla., and along the Gulf of Mexico coast from Apalachee Bay, NW Fla.
..... Click the link for more information. , is also the shipping center for the intensively farmed and irrigated Winter Garden section along the lower Rio Grande, where citrus fruits and winter vegetables are grown.
Rio Grande Valley
The long stretch of plains along the Rio Grande valley is largely given over to cattle ranching. Texas has c.1,000 mi (1,610 km) of border with Mexico. Some S and W Texas towns are bilingual, and in some areas persons of Mexican descent make up the majority of the population. LaredoLaredo
, city (1990 pop. 122,899), seat of Webb co., S Tex., on the Rio Grande; founded 1755, inc. 1852. It is a port of entry on the U.S.-Mexican border, with a thriving export-import trade and a tourist industry. During the late 20th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. is the most important gateway here to Mexico, with an excellent highway to Mexico City and important over-the-border commerce.
The first region to be farmed when Americans came to Texas in the 1820s was the bottomland of the lower Brazos and the Colorado, but not until settlers moved into the rolling blackland prairies of central and N central Texas was the agricultural wealth of the area realized. The heart of this region is the trading and shipping center of WacoWaco
, city (1990 pop. 103,590), seat of McLennan co., E central Tex., on the Brazos River, just below the mouth of the Bosque; inc. 1856. It is a rail junction and a trading, shipping, and industrial center.
..... Click the link for more information. ; at the southwest extremity is San AntonioSan Antonio
, city (1990 pop. 935,933), seat of Bexar co., S central Tex., at the source of the San Antonio River; inc. 1837. The third largest city in Texas, it is one of the nation's largest military centers; Fort Sam Houston and the Air Force Aerospace Medical Center are in
..... Click the link for more information. , the commercial center of a wide cotton, grain, and cattle country belt. To the north, DallasDallas,
city (1990 pop. 1,006,877), seat of Dallas co., N Tex., on the Trinity River near the junction of its three forks; inc. 1871. The second largest Texas city, after Houston, and the eighth largest U.S. city, Dallas is a commercial, industrial, and financial center.
..... Click the link for more information. and the neighboring city of Fort WorthFort Worth,
city (1990 pop. 447,619), seat of Tarrant co., N Tex., on the Trinity River 30 mi (48 km) W of Dallas; settled 1843, inc. 1873. An army post was established on the site in 1847, and after the Civil War became an Old West cow town.
..... Click the link for more information. together form one of the most rapidly developing U.S. metropolitan areas. Their oil-refining, grain-milling, and cotton- and food-processing capabilities have been supplemented since World War II by aircraft-manufacturing and computer and electronics industries.
The Balcones Escarpment marks the western margin of the Gulf Coastal Plain; in central Texas the line is visible in a series of waterfalls and rough, tree-covered hills. To the west lie the south central plains and the Edwards Plateau; they are essentially extensions of the Great Plains but are sharply divided from the high, windswept, and canyon-cut Llano Estacado (Staked Plain) in the W Panhandle by the erosive division of the Cap Rock Escarpment.
No traces of the subtropical lushness of the Gulf Coastal Plain are found in these regions; the climate is semiarid, with occasional blizzards blowing across the flat land in winter. The Red River area, including the farming and oil center of Wichita FallsWichita Falls
, city (1990 pop. 96,259), seat of Wichita co., N Tex., on the Wichita River; inc. 1889. The city's name comes from the Wichitas and from the falls that have since been reduced to an area of rapidly flowing water in the Wichita River.
..... Click the link for more information. , can have extreme cold in winter, though without the severity that is intermittently experienced in AmarilloAmarillo
, city (1990 pop. 157,615), seat of Potter co., N Tex.; inc. 1899. The commercial and industrial center of the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo grew after the coming of the railroad in 1887, becoming a market for wheat farmers.
..... Click the link for more information. , the commercial center of the Panhandle, or in the dry-farming area around LubbockLubbock,
city (1990 pop. 186,206), seat of Lubbock co., NW Tex.; inc. 1909. In the Llano Estacado region on a branch of the Brazos River, it was settled in 1879 by Quakers. It is the trade center for the cotton- and grain-growing Great Plains region of Texas and E New Mexico.
..... Click the link for more information. . Cattle raising began here in the late 1870s (settlers were slow in coming to the High Plains), and huge ranches vie with extensive wheat and cotton farms for domination of the treeless land. Oil and grain, however, have revolutionized the economy of this section of the state.
All of West Texas (that part of the state west of long. 100°W) is semiarid. South of the Panhandle lie the rolling plains around AbileneAbilene
. 1 City (1990 pop. 6,242), seat of Dickinson co., central Kans., on the Smoky Hill River; inc. 1869. It was (1867–71) a railhead for a large cattle-raising region extending SW into Texas.
..... Click the link for more information. , a region cultivated in cotton, sorghum, and wheat and the site of oil fields discovered in the 1940s. The dry fields of West Texas are still given over to ranching, except for small irrigated areas that can be farmed. San AngeloSan Angelo
, city (1990 pop. 84,474), seat of Tom Green co., W Tex., where two forks join to form the Concho River; laid out 1869, inc. 1903. It is an important wool and mohair market and a trade and shipping point for a wide area of sheep, goat, and cattle ranches; irrigated
..... Click the link for more information. serves as the commercial center of this area. The Midland-Odessa oil patch lies northeast of the Pecos River and is part of the Permian (West Texas) Basin, an oil field that extends into SE New Mexico.
The land beyond the Pecos River, rising to the mountains with high, sweeping plains and rough uplands, offers the finest scenery of Texas. There are found the Davis Mts. and Guadalupe Peak, the highest point (8,751 ft/2,667 m) in the state. The wilderness of the Big Bend of the Rio Grande is typical of the barrenness of most of this area, where water and people are almost equally scarce. El Paso, with diverse industries and major cross-border trade with Mexico, is a population oasis in the region.
Places of Interest
The Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is in the Houston area. Other places of interest in the state include Big Bend National ParkBig Bend National Park,
801,163 acres (324,471 hectares), W Tex.; authorized 1935, est. 1944. It is a triangle formed where the Rio Grande runs southeast then northeast in a big bend along the U.S.-Mexico border, notably through deep canyons such as the Santa Elena.
..... Click the link for more information. , Guadalupe Mountains National ParkGuadalupe Mountains National Park
, 86,416 acres (34,998 hectares), W Tex. Located in the Guadalupe Mts., the park contains parts of the world's largest and most significant Permian limestone fossil reef.
..... Click the link for more information. , Amistad and Lake Meredith national recreation areas, Padre Island National Seashore, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (see National Parks and MonumentsNational Parks and Monuments
Name Type1 Location Year authorized Size
Acadia NP SE Maine 1919 48,419 (19,603) Mountain and coast scenery.
..... Click the link for more information. , table), and Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge, winter home of the whooping crane. AustinAustin.
1 City (1990 pop. 21,907), seat of Mower co., SE Minn., on the Cedar River, near the Iowa line; inc. 1868. The commercial and industrial center of a rich farm region, it is noted as home to the Hormel meatpacking company, whose Spam Town museum draws tourists.
..... Click the link for more information. is the capital; Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio are the largest cities.
Mineral resources compete with industry for primary economic importance in Texas. The state is the leading U.S. producer of oil, natural gas, and natural-gas liquids, despite recent production declines. It is also a major producer of helium, salt, sulfur, sodium sulfate, clays, gypsum, cement, and talc. Texas manufactures an enormous variety of products, including chemicals and chemical products, petroleum, food and food products, transportation equipment, machinery, and primary and fabricated metals. The development and manufacture of electronic equipment, such as computers, has in recent decades become one of the state's leading industries; the area around Dallas–Fort Worth has become known as "Silicon Prairie," a name now also extended to Austin and its suburbs.
Agriculturally, Texas is one of the most important states in the country. It easily leads the nation in producing cattle, cotton, and cottonseed. Texas also has more farms, farmland, sheep, and lambs than any other state. Principal crops are cotton lint, grains, sorghum, vegetables, citrus and other fruits, and rice; the greatest farm income is derived from cattle, cotton, dairy products, and greenhouse products. Hogs, wool, and mohair are also significant. Among other important Texas crops are melons, wheat, pecans, oats, and celery. Texas also has an important commercial fishing industry. Principal catches are shrimp, oysters, and menhaden.
Government, Politics, and Higher Education
The present constitution of Texas was adopted in 1876, replacing the "carpetbag" constitution of 1869. The state's executive branch is headed by a governor elected for a four-year term. Democrat Ann RichardsRichards, Ann Willis,
1933–2006, American politician, b. Lakeview, Tex., as Dorothy Ann Willis. She began her career in politics in the early 1970s after having raised four children. A Democrat, she served as county commissioner in Travis co., Tex. from 1977 to 1982.
..... Click the link for more information. , elected governor in 1990, was defeated for reelection in 1994 by Republican George W. BushBush, George Walker,
1946–, 43d President of the United States (2001–9), b. New Haven, Conn. The eldest son of President George H. W. Bush, he was was raised in Texas and, like his father, attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and Yale, graduating in 1968.
..... Click the link for more information. ; Bush won reelection in 1998. After Bush was elected president of the United States, Lt. Gov. Rick PerryPerry, Rick
(James Richard Perry), 1950–, American politician, governor of Texas (2000–2015), b. Haskell, Tex. A fifth-generation Texan from the state's agricultural western plains, he attended Texas A&M Univ. (grad. 1972).
..... Click the link for more information. succeeded him as governor (Dec., 2000) and was elected to the office in 2002, 2006, and 2010. Republican Greg Abbott was elected governor in 2014 and 2018. The state's legislature has a senate with 31 members and a house with 150 representatives. The state elects 2 senators and 36 representatives to the U.S. Congress and has 38 electoral votes. Texas politics were dominated by Democrats from the end of Reconstruction into the 1960s, but Republicans achieved parity in the 1990s and then dominance.
Among the many institutions of higher learning in Texas are the Univ. of Texas, mainly at Austin, but with large branches at Arlington, El Paso, and the Dallas suburb of Richardson; Baylor Univ., at Waco; East Texas State Univ., at Commerce; Univ. of North Texas, at Denton; Rice Univ., at Houston; Southern Methodist Univ., at Dallas; Texas A&M Univ., at College Station; Texas Arts and Industries Univ., at Kingsville; Texas Christian Univ., at Fort Worth; and Texas Southern Univ. and the Univ. of Houston, both at Houston.
Spanish Exploration and Colonization
The region that is now Texas was early known to the Spanish, who were, however, slow to settle there. Cabeza de Vaca, shipwrecked off the coast in 1528, wandered through the area in the 1530s, and Coronado probably crossed the northwest section in 1541. De Soto died before reaching Texas, but his men continued west, crossing the Red River in 1542. The first Spanish settlement was made (1682) at Ysleta on the site of present day El Paso by refugees from the area that is now New Mexico after the Pueblo revolt of 1680. Several missions were established in the area; but the Comanche, Apache, and other Native American tribes resented their encroachment, and the settlements did not flourish.
A French expedition led by La Salle penetrated E Texas in 1685 after failing to locate the mouth of the Mississippi. This incursion, though brief, stirred the Spanish to establish missions to hold the area. The first mission, founded in 1690 near the Neches, was named Francisco de los Tejas after the so-called tejas [friends]: Native Americans. This is also the origin of the state's name. In general, however, Spanish attempts to gain wealth from the wild region and to convert the indigenous population were unsuccessful, and in most places occupation was desultory.
American Expeditions and Settlement
By the early 19th cent. Americans were covetously eyeing Texas, especially after the Louisiana Purchase (1803) had extended the U.S. border to that fertile wilderness. Attempts to free Texas from Spanish rule were made in the expeditions of the adventurers Gutiérrez and Magee (1812–13) and James Long (1819). In 1821 Moses Austin secured a colonization grant from the Spanish authorities in San Antonio. He died from the rigors of his return trip from that distant outpost, but his son, Stephen F. Austin, had the grant confirmed and in Dec., 1821, led 300 families across the Sabine River to the region between the Brazos and Colorado rivers, where they established the first American settlement in Texas. Austin is known as the father of Texas.
The newly independent government of Mexico, pleased with Austin's prospering colony, readily offered grants to other American promoters and even gave huge land tracts to individual settlers. Americans from all over the Union, but particularly from the South, poured into Texas, and within a decade a considerable number of settlements had been established at Brazoria, Washington-on-the-Brazos, San Felipe de Austin, Anahuac, and Gonzales. The Americans easily avoided Mexican requirements that all settlers be Roman Catholic, but conflict with Mexican settlers over land titles resulted in the Fredonian RebellionFredonian Rebellion,
1826–27, in Texas history, a premature attempt to make Texas independent from Mexico. Two Americans, Haden Edwards and his brother, had undertaken to make settlements on a land grant in E Texas around Nacogdoches, where there were already Mexican
..... Click the link for more information. (1826–27).
By 1830 the Americans outnumbered the Mexican settlers by more than three to one and had formed their own society. The Mexican government became understandably concerned. Its sporadic attempts to tighten control over Texas had been hampered by its own political instability, but in 1830 measures were taken to stop the influx of Americans. Troops were sent to police the border, close the seaports, occupy the towns, and levy taxes on imported goods. The troops were withdrawn in 1832, when Mexico was again in political upheaval, but the Texans, alarmed and hoping to achieve a greater measure of self-government, petitioned Mexico for separate statehood (Texas was then part of Coahuila). When Austin presented the petition in Mexico City, Antonio López de Santa Anna had become military dictator. Austin was arrested and imprisoned for eighteen months, and Texas was regarrisoned.
Independence from Mexico
The Texas Revolution broke out (1835) in Gonzales when the Mexicans attempted to disarm the Americans and were routed. The American settlers then drove all the Mexican troops from Texas, overwhelming each command in surprise attacks. At a convention called at Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas declared its independence (Mar. 2, 1836). A constitution was adopted and David Burnet was named interim president.
The arrival of Santa Anna with a large army that sought to crush the rebellion resulted in the famous defense of the AlamoAlamo, the
[Span.,=cottonwood], building in San Antonio, Tex., "the cradle of Texas liberty." Built as a chapel after 1744, it is all that remains of the mission of San Antonio de Valero, which was founded in 1718 by Franciscans and later converted into a fortress.
..... Click the link for more information. and the massacre of several hundred Texans captured at GoliadGoliad
, city (1990 pop. 1,946), seat of Goliad co., S Tex., on the San Antonio River, SE of San Antonio. It is a market for the surrounding farm region. A Spanish mission and presidio moved to Goliad in 1749.
..... Click the link for more information. . Santa Anna then divided his huge force to cover as much territory as possible. The small Texas army, commanded by Samuel Houston, protected their rear, retreating strategically until Houston finally maneuvered Santa Anna into a cul-de-sac formed by heavy rains and flooding bayous, near the site of present-day Houston. In the battle of San JacintoSan Jacinto,
river, c.130 mi (210 km) long, rising in SE Texas as the West Fork and flowing S to Galveston Bay. Its chief tributary is Buffalo Bayou, and both the bayou and the lower river are used for the Houston ship channel.
..... Click the link for more information. (Apr. 21, 1836), Houston surprised the larger Mexican force and scored a resounding victory. Santa Anna was captured and compelled to recognize the independence of Texas.
The Texas Republic and U.S. Annexation
Texans sought annexation to the United States, but antislavery forces in the United States vehemently opposed the admission of another slave state, and Texas remained an independent republic under its Lone Star flag for almost 10 years. The Texas constitution was closely modeled after that of the United States, but slaveholding was expressly recognized. Houston, the hero of the Texas Revolution, was the leading figure of the Republic, serving twice as president.
Under President Mirabeau Lamar large tracts of land were granted as endowments for educational institutions, and Austin was made (1839) the new capital of the republic. Despite the efforts of presidents Houston and Anson Jones, a combination of factors—confusion in the land system, insufficient credit abroad, and the expense of maintaining the Texas Rangers and protecting Texas from marauding Mexican forces—contributed to impoverishing the republic and increasing the urgency for its annexation to the United States.
Southerners pressed hard for the admission of Texas, the intrigues of British and French diplomats in Texas aroused U.S. concern, and expansionist policies began to gain popular support. President Tyler narrowly pushed the admission of Texas through Congress shortly before the expiration of his term; Texas formally accepted annexation in July, 1845. This act was the immediate cause of the Mexican WarMexican War,
1846–48, armed conflict between the United States and Mexico. Causes
While the immediate cause of the war was the U.S. annexation of Texas (Dec., 1845), other factors had disturbed peaceful relations between the two republics.
..... Click the link for more information. . After Gen. Zachary Taylor defeated the Mexicans at Palo AltoPalo Alto,
locality not far from Brownsville, Tex., where the first battle of the Mexican War was fought on May 8, 1846. American troops under Gen. Zachary Taylor defeated a Mexican force led by Gen. Mariano Arista, who retreated to Resaca de la Palma.
..... Click the link for more information. and Resaca de la PalmaResaca de la Palma
, valley, an abandoned bed of the Rio Grande, N of Brownsville, Tex., where the second battle of the Mexican War was fought, May 9, 1846. Mexican troops under Gen.
..... Click the link for more information. , the Mexican forces retreated back across the Rio Grande.
Civil War and Reconstruction
During the pre–Civil War period settlers, attracted by cheap land, poured into Texas. Although open range cattle ranching was beginning to spread rapidly, cotton was the state's chief crop. The planter class, with its slaveholding interests, was strong and carried the state for the Confederacy, despite the opposition of Sam Houston and his followers. During the Civil War, Texas was the only Confederate state not overrun by Union troops. Remaining relatively prosperous, it liberally contributed men and provisions to the Southern cause.
1865–77, in U.S. history, the period of readjustment following the Civil War. At the end of the Civil War, the defeated South was a ruined land. The physical destruction wrought by the invading Union forces was enormous, and the old social and economic
..... Click the link for more information. brought great lawlessness, aggravated by the appearance of roving desperadoes. Radical Republicans, carpetbaggerscarpetbaggers,
epithet used in the South after the Civil War to describe Northerners who went to the South during Reconstruction. Although regarded as transients because of the carpetbags in which they carried their possessions (hence the name carpetbaggers
..... Click the link for more information. , and scalawagsscalawags
, derogatory term used in the South after the Civil War to describe native white Southerners who joined the Republican party and aided in carrying out the congressional Reconstruction program. A Republican who came from the north was called a carpetbagger.
..... Click the link for more information. controlled the government for several years, during which time they managed to lay the foundations for better road and school systems. Texas was readmitted to the Union in Mar., 1870, after ratifying the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments. Although Texas was not as racially embittered as the Deep South, the Ku Klux KlanKu Klux Klan
, designation mainly given to two distinct secret societies that played a part in American history, although other less important groups have also used the name.
..... Click the link for more information. and its methods flourished for a time as a means of opposing the policies of the radical Republicans.
The Late Nineteenth Century
Reconstruction in Texas ended in 1874 when the Democrats took control of the government. The following decade was politically conservative, highlighted by the passage of the constitution of 1876, which, although frequently amended, remains the basic law of the state. As in the rest of the South, the war and Reconstruction had resulted in the breakdown of the plantation system and the rise of tenant farming. This did not, however, have as marked an effect as elsewhere, partly because much of the land was still unsettled, but in greater measure, perhaps, because the Texas tradition is only partly Southern.
In the decades following the Civil War the Western element in Texas was strengthened as stock raising became a dominant element in Texas life. This was the era of the buffalo hunter and of the last of the Native American uprisings. From the open range and then from great fenced ranches, Texas cowboys drove herds of longhorn cattle over trails such as the Chisholm Trail to the railheads in Kansas and even farther to the grasslands of Montana. The traditional symbols of Texas are more the "ten-gallon" hat, the cattle brand, and spurs and saddles than anything reminiscent of the Old South.
As railroads advanced across the state during the 1870s, farmlands were increasingly settled, and the small farmers (the "nesters") came into violent conflict with the ranchers, a conflict which was not resolved until the governorship of John Ireland. Many European immigrants—especially Germans and Bohemians (Czechs)—took part in the peopling of the plains (they continued to arrive in the 20th cent., when many Mexicans also entered). Agrarian discontent saw the rise of the Greenback partyGreenback party,
in U.S. history, political organization formed in the years 1874–76 to promote currency expansion. The members were principally farmers of the West and the South; stricken by the Panic of 1873, they saw salvation in an inflated currency that would wipe out
..... Click the link for more information. , and during the 1880s demands for economic reform and limitation of the railroads' vast land domains were championed by the Farmers' Alliance and Gov. James S. Hogg. However, antitrust legislation was insufficient to curb the power of big business.
Oil, Industrialization, and World Wars
The transformation of Texas into a partly urban and industrial society was greatly hastened by the uncovering of the state's tremendous oil deposits. The discovery in 1901 of the spectacular Spindletop oil field near Beaumont dwarfed previous finds in Texas, but Spindletop itself was later surpassed as oil was discovered in nearly every part of Texas. Texas industry developed rapidly during the early years of the 20th cent., but conditions worsened for the tenant farmers, who by 1910 made up the majority of cultivators. Discontented tenants were largely responsible for the election of James Ferguson as governor.
World War I had a somewhat liberating effect on African-American Texans, but the reappearance of the Ku Klux Klan after the war helped to enforce "white supremacy." The economic boom of the 1920s was accompanied by further industrialization. The Great Depression of the 1930s, while severe, was less serious than in most states; the chemical and oil industries in particular continued to grow (the East Texas Oil Field was discovered in 1930).
The significance of the petrochemical and natural gas industries increased during World War II, when the aircraft industry also rose to prominence and the establishment of military bases throughout Texas greatly contributed to the state's economy. Postwar years brought continued prosperity and industrial expansion, although in the 1950s the state experienced the worst drought in its history and had its share of destructive hurricanes and flooding.
Many projects for increased flood control, improved irrigation, and enhanced power supply have been undertaken in Texas; notable among these are Denison Dam, forming Lake Texoma (shared between Texas and Oklahoma); Lewisville Dam and its reservoir, supplying Fort Worth and Dallas; Lake Texarkana on the Sulphur River; and Falcon Dam and its reservoir on the Rio Grande. The Amistad Dam on the Rio Grande, serving both the United States and Mexico, was completed in 1969.
Industry in the Late Twentieth Century
In the 1960s, Texas began to develop its technology industries as oil became less easy to exploit—even though soaring oil prices in the 1970s caused the energy industry to boom. Since then, the state has become a preferred location for the headquarters of large corporations from airlines and retail chains to telecommunications and chemical companies. High-technology industries have boomed since the 1980s, especially in the Dallas–Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin areas. The state's economy proved still vulnerable to the fluctuations of the energy industry in the mid-1980s, however, when falling oil prices resulted in massive layoffs, hurting the state's real estate market and in turn precipitating the failure of hundreds of savings and loans in the state.
Texas has, however, continued to grow, becoming the second most populous state in the nation. Its population increased by nearly 23% between 1990 and 2000, and its economy slowly recovered in the 1990s. Its political influence has grown commensurately, and since the 1960s three sons (or adopted sons) of Texas have been president of the nation: Lyndon JohnsonJohnson, Lyndon Baines,
1908–73, 36th President of the United States (1963–69), b. near Stonewall, Tex. Early Life
Born into a farm family, he graduated (1930) from Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Southwest Texas State Univ.), in San Marcos.
..... Click the link for more information. , George Herbert Walker BushBush, George Herbert Walker,
1924–2018, 41st President of the United States (1989–93), b. Milton, Mass., B.A., Yale Univ., 1948. Career in Business and Government
..... Click the link for more information. , and George Walker BushBush, George Walker,
1946–, 43d President of the United States (2001–9), b. New Haven, Conn. The eldest son of President George H. W. Bush, he was was raised in Texas and, like his father, attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and Yale, graduating in 1968.
..... Click the link for more information. . In 2001, 2005, 2008, 2017, and 2019 SE Texas suffered extensive damage as a result of Tropical Storm Allison, Hurricanes Rita, Ike, and Harvey, and Tropical Storm Imelda, respectively, and in 2011 the effects of severe drought and unusually hot summer temperatures contributed to numerous and sometimes devastating wildfires in parts of the state.
See T. G. Jordan, German Seed in Texas Soil: Immigrant Farmers in Nineteenth-Century Texas (1967); Trails to Texas: Southern Roots of Western Cattle Ranching (1981); and et al., Texas (1984); K. W. Wheeler, To Wear a City's Crown: The Beginnings of Urban Growth in Texas, 1836–1865 (1968); S. V. Connor, Texas, A History (1971); W. Seale, Texas in Our Time: A History of Texas in the Twentieth Century (1972); W. Holmes, The Encyclopedia of Texas (1984); R. N. Richardson et al., Texas, the Lone Star State (5th ed. 1988); L. A. Herzog, Where North Meets South: Cities, Space, and Politics on the United States–Mexican Border (1990); H. W. Brands, Lone Star Nation (2004); see also Texas Almanac (latest edition).
Texas State Information
Area (sq mi):: 268580.82 (land 261797.12; water 6783.70) Population per square mile: 87.30
Population 2005: 22,859,968 State rank: 0 Population change: 2000-20005 9.60%; 1990-2000 22.80% Population 2000: 20,851,820 (White 52.40%; Black or African American 11.50%; Hispanic or Latino 32.00%; Asian 2.70%; Other 14.90%). Foreign born: 13.90%. Median age: 32.30
Income 2000: per capita $19,617; median household $39,927; Population below poverty level: 15.40% Personal per capita income (2000-2003): $28,313-$29,074
Unemployment (2004): 6.00% Unemployment change (from 2000): 1.60% Median travel time to work: 25.40 minutes Working outside county of residence: 21.40%
List of Texas counties:
- US National Parks
- Urban Parks
- State Parks
- Parks and Conservation-Related Organizations - US
- National Wildlife Refuges
- National Trails
- National Grasslands
- National Forests
- Marine Sanctuaries
a state in the southern part of the United States, on the Gulf of Mexico. The country’s second largest state, after Alaska; fourth greatest in population, after California, New York, and Pennsylvania. Area, 692,000 sq km. Population, 12 million (1974), of which 80 percent is urban. The state’s capital is Austin; other important cities and economic centers include Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.
The West Gulf Coastal Plain covers the eastern part of the state. The plain rises in the west and passes into the Edwards Plateau (elevations to 835 m) and the Llano Estacado Plain (elevations to 1,200 m). There are spurs of the Rocky Mountains (elevations to 2,665 m) in the extreme western part of the state. The climate is hot and subtropical in the southeast and continental, with hot summers and cool winters, in the west. The average temperature in January is 1°–15°C; in July, it is 25°–30°C. Annual precipitation decreases from east to west, from 1,000–1,300 mm to 200–300 mm. The largest rivers are the Red, Trinity, Brazos, Colorado, and Rio Grande. Savanna vegetation and oak and pine forests have been preserved in certain areas.
Texas is an industrial and agricultural state. It ranks first in mining output, accounting for approximately 30 percent of the country’s total, and third in agricultural output. As of 1974, the economically active population totaled 4.5 million, of which 18.5 percent were employed in the manufacturing industry, 2.5 percent in the mining industry, 4.5 percent in agriculture, 23.5 percent in commerce, and 23 percent in other fields. Texas leads the country in the production of petroleum (approximately 200 million tons), natural gas (approximately 400 billion cu m), sulfur, and helium; complex ores, uranium, and anthracite are also mined. The capacity of the state’s power plants, almost all of which are nonnuclear thermal plants, exceeded 20 gigawatts in 1973.
The main industries of Texas are oil refining and chemical production, chiefly petrochemicals, used in turn to make synthetic resins, rubber, plastics, fertilizers, acids, and alkalies. These industries are centered along the Gulf of Mexico in Houston, Free-port, Beaumont, and Corpus Christi. The aerospace industry, which includes the production of rocket engines, is centered in Fort Worth and Dallas, and nonferrous metallurgy, which relies on inexpensive electricity from thermal power plants to produce aluminum and magnesium, is based in Port Lavaca and Corpus Christi. Other industries include food processing, clothing production, metalworking, and machine building (equipment for the oil, gas, and chemical industries, radio electronics, and shipbuilding).
Land cultivation accounts for approximately two-thirds of the commodity output of agriculture. Livestock grazing prevails in the western part of the state. Texas leads all other states in the production of cotton (approximately 1.5 million tons in 1972) and rice and in the number of cattle (13 million head), sheep, and goats. Wheat, grain sorghum, maize, vegetables, alfalfa, peanuts, and fruits, including citrus fruits, are cultivated. More than 3 million hectares are irrigated, the second highest total in the country, after California. The chief seaports are Houston, Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Corpus Christi.
V. M. GOKHMAN
In the first half of the 16th century, the Spaniards became the first Europeans to make their way into the territory of Texas. In the 17th century, Texas became part of the Spanish colony of New Spain. It later became part of Mexico when the latter became independent in 1821. In the early 19th century, American planters, bringing slavery with them, began to settle in Texas; by 1835 the number of settlers approximated 30,000. In 1835 the American planters revolted against Mexican rule (Texas Revolution), and although in 1836 they declared Texas an independent republic, the territory was under the de facto control of the United States. In 1845 the United States annexed Texas as a slaveholding state. The annexation of Texas and the occupation of the state by American troops directly preceded the Mexican War (1846–48), which forced Mexico to acknowledge the loss of Texas. The native population was driven from the best land, which was then seized by the planters. During the Civil War, Texas joined the Confederacy. In the 1920’s, activities of the Ku Klux Klan intensified in Texas. Racial discrimination remains a characteristic feature of life in the state. In defiance of a 1954 decision of the US Supreme Court, separate schooling for white and black children has been retained. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Texas in 1963.
Twenty-eighth state; admitted on December 29, 1845 (seceded from the Union on February 1, 1861, and was readmitted on March 30, 1870)
State capital: Austin Nickname: The Lone Star State State motto: Friendship State air force: Commemorative Air Force (formerly Con
federate Air Force) State bird: Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) State bread: Pan de campo State cooking implement: Cast iron dutch oven State dinosaurs: Brachiosaur sauropod and pleurocoelus State dish: Chili State dog breed: Blue Lacy State epic poem: “Legend of Old Stone Ranch” State fiber and fabric: Cotton State fish: Guadalupe bass State flower: Bluebonnet (Lupinus subcarnosus, Lupinus tex
ensis and all other varieties) State flower song: “Bluebonnets”
State footwear: Cowboy boot State flying mammal: Mexican free-tailed bat State folk dance: Square dance State fruit: Texas red grapefruit State gem: Texas blue topaz State gemstone cut: Lone star cut State grass: Sideoats Grama State health nut: Pecan State insect: Monarch butterfly State large mammal: Longhorn; small: Armadillo State maritime museum: Texas Maritime Museum State musical instrument: Guitar State native pepper: Chiltepin State native shrub: Texas purple sage State pastries: Sopaipilla; strudel State pepper: Jalapeno State petrified stone: Palmwood State plant: Prickly pear cactus State plays: The Lone Star; Texas; Beyond the Sundown; Fandangle
State precious metal: Silver
State railroad: Texas State Railroad
State reptile: Texas horned lizard
State rodeo drill team: Ghostriders
State song: “Texas, Our Texas”
State sport: Rodeo
State shell: Lightning whelk
State ship: USS Texas
State shrub: Crape myrtle
State snack: Tortilla chips and salsa
State tall ship: Elissa
State 10K: Texas Round-up 10K
State tartan: Texas Bluebonnet
State tie: Bolo tie
State tree: Pecan (Carya illinoensis)
State vegetable: Sweet onion
State vehicle: Chuck wagon
More about state symbols at:
More about the state at:
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 867
AnnivHol-2000, p. 215
State web site:
Office of the Governor
PO Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711
Secretary of State
PO Box 12697
Austin, TX 78711
Texas State Library 1201 Brazos Austin, TX 78701 512-463-5460 fax: 512-463-5436 www.tsl.state.tx.us
|Christmas Eve||Dec 24|
|Confederate Heroes Day||Jan 19|
|Day after Christmas||Dec 26|
|Day after Thanksgiving||Nov 25, 2011; Nov 23, 2012; Nov 29, 2013; Nov 28, 2014; Nov 27, 2015; Nov 25, 2016; Nov 24, 2017; Nov 23, 2018; Nov 29, 2019; Nov 27, 2020; Nov 26, 2021; Nov 25, 2022; Nov 24, 2023|
|Emancipation Day||Jun 19|
|Lyndon Baines Johnson Day||Aug 24|
|San Jacinto Day||Apr 21|
|Texas Independence Day||Mar 2|