Stately Knowledge: Facts about the United States

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State History | Just the Facts | Encyclopedias & Almanacs | State Links | Did You Know | Some Famous People from this State | Related Resources

Texas is the second largest state in the United States, and lies in the South Central region. It is a border state, sharing its southern and southwestern boundaries with Mexico. It also has a coastline along the Gulf of Mexico in the southeast. Within the US, it is surrounded by Louisiana in the east, Arkansas in the northeast, Oklahoma in the north, Arkansas in the northwest and New Mexico in the west. Texas is home to the United States’ fourth-largest city, Houston, while its capital city, Austin, is the second most populous state capital in the country.

Texas State History

Historians speculate that the region of Texas was first settled about 10,000 to 13,000 years ago by tribes who arrived from Asia during the Ice Age.  During the 1500s the Spanish were the first Europeans to reach and explore the region. They were often accompanied by missionaries who set up mission houses. The government however, did not move to actively settle and colonize the region until the 1600s. By then, strong trade routes had been established through Texas. A brief French attempt at acquiring sections of the region in the 1680’s drove the Spanish to ensure that their presence there was known and felt.  More concrete efforts at colonization came about in the 1730s, among them the establishment of the antecedent to modern-day San Antonio. Meanwhile, English colonies further north had declared independence and the United States was established. Americans then began their expansion westwards, a part of which was the Louisiana Purchase. The Purchase resulted in Spain’s North American colonies now sharing an international boundary with the new nation along Texas. This development brought more Anglo-American settlers and pioneers to the area. The political scene in Europe had also put Spain in a more vulnerable position. Its control over the region of Texas, in particular, began to weaken.  In 1821 Mexico declared its independence. The new administration allowed a greater volume of Anglo-American migration and settlement. However frictions arose concerning various matters such as religion and slavery.  Political chaos popped up often in the new republic, and in 1834 the dictator General Santa Anna came to power. Federalism began to be dismantled in Mexico, causing concern among Texans and provoking the Texas Revolution of 1835-36.  Several bloody clashes, including notable ones such as the Battle of the Alamo, ensued. The Revolution came to an end with the capture of Santa Anna in May. He signed treaties announcing the cessation of hostilities and the recognition of the independent Republic of Texas. Though the Texans voted for the Republic to be annexed by the United States, the US refused to do so. It was only in 1845 that the matter was finally settled when the presidential elections of the previous year were swept away by James K. Polk, the pro-expansion candidate.

Just the Facts

AbbreviationTX Source: United States Postal Service – Abbreviations
Population28,995,881 Source: United States Census Bureau (July 2019)
GovernorGreg Abbott (Republican, in office since January 20, 2015)
Entered the UnionDec. 29, 1845 as the 28th state
NicknameThe Lone Star State
SongTexas, Our Texas
Professional Sports TeamsHouston Astros, Texas Rangers (Baseball); Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, (Basketball); San Antonio Silver Stars (Women’s Basketball); Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans (Football); Dallas Stars (Hockey); Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas (Soccer) (sports listing policy)
Origin of NameFrom a Native American word meaning friends
Historical SitesThe Alamo in San Antonio
Points of InterestGulf Coast resort area, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, State capital in Austin, and the Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks
Bordering StatesTexas borders New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
FlagTexas's flag

Encyclopedias and Almanacs

Follow these links to read articles about Texas from Encyclopedias and Almanacs:

State Links

Official Links

Other Links

  • 50states.com: Texas http://www.50states.com/texas.htm The site provides a wealth of information about Texas. It includes everything from the highest point to county profile to climate.
  • Roadside America: Texas Attractions https://www.roadsideamerica.com/location/tx Roadside America describes itself as an online guide to offbeat attractions. This site offers reviews of “weird sites along the highway” in Texas.

Did You Know

  • The first Europeans to come through the area were Spanish explorers such as Coronado, who traveled the region in the 16th and 17th centuries.
  • The Republic of Texas, with Sam Houston as president, was born In 1836 following the war between American settlers in Texas and the Mexican government which featured the well known battle of the Alamo.
  • Texas is the country’s biggest producer of oil, cattle, sheep, minerals and cotton.
  • Texas is second in size only to Alaska.

Some Famous People from Texas

  • Presidents from Texas with links to ipl’s POTUS (Presidents of the United States) page:
    • Dwight David Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States, was born in Denison on October 14th, 1890.
    • George Walker Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, was governor of Texas from 1995-2000.
  • Sandra Day O’Connor, U.S. Supreme Court justice.
  • Dan Rather, TV newscaster and host of CBS Evening News.
  • Mary Kay Ash, cosmetics entrepreneur and founder of Mary Kay cosmetics.
  • Steven Fuller Austin, founding father of Texas and namesake of the state’s capital.

Related Resources