An Introduction to Texas

Texas Introduction

The history of Texas, broadly speaking, has two important parts. Firstly, that of the end of the Upper Paleolithic Period, dating back to10,000 BC. Several nations have played part in shaping the destiny and history of Texas. To name them, Spain, France, Mexico, The Republic of Texas, The Confederacy, and the United States would stand such in order. Before the Europeans arrived, the State was the meeting point (or call it the melting pot), for the native American cultural groups. The process has continuity and the recent history of the State is the interactions between the Mexican, Southwestern, Southern, German, and the Tejano cultural groups.

Native American tribes that once lived inside the boundaries of present-day Texas include the Apache, Atakapan, Bidai, Caddo, Comanche, Cherokee, Karankawa, Kiowa, Tonkawa, and Wichita. Currently, there are three federally recognized native American tribes which reside in Texas: the Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas, the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, and the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo of Texas.

Between 1690 and 1821, the Spanish ruled Texas, for 130 long years. It was governed by New Spain as a Spanish Colony. This was done by destroying the French Colony of Fort Saint Louis. The rule continued till 1821, with the independence of Mexico.

In the 17th and 18th century, the tussle between Spain and France continued. They governed the parts of Texas. The Spanish were based in Mexico and New Mexico. The French ruled Louisiana. Then the War of Quadruple Alliance followed in Europe that created waves in Mexico as well. The French succeeded in defeating the Spanish and establishing control over Texas. By the end of the 19th century the French sold their North American holdings to the United States. Spanish control of parts of Texas, was thus threatened.

Ask any one, to name a city in Texas, and Dallas would be the obvious choice. Dallas is the famous city of the Cowboys, the Rangers, and the place where the then President of USA, John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

This history of Texas is closely linked to the history of its important city Dallas. Its beginning could be traced to a spot on the banks of the Trinity River. It was the linking spot between the North Texas and the South Texas.

The history of Texas is a story of secession and readmission. In the first election after the independence in the year 1836, the Texans voted in favor of joining the United States. But, all attempts to arrive at a formal annexation treaty failed. The United States Congress took the matter to its logical conclusions, and a simple majority resolution was passed for annexing Texas to the United States. But, that was done under certain specific conditions, under which Texas reserved many important rights.

The uncertainty however, continued till the year 1845, when the Texas voters approved the USA proposal for total annexation and such a proposal was submitted to the United States Congress.

The history of Texas, right from the Paleolithic period to the modern era, is colorful, full of conflicts and resolutions. A true composite culture has evolved out of all these trials and tribulations. It is a fascinating country for the adventure-seeking people.

Origin Of Texas

The evolution of the name of Texas, seems to be as fascinating as the history of evolution of the Texas State itself. Texas is derived from the Caddo Indian word, “teyshas”. The literal import of this word is “friends” or “allies”. One must say, Texas has lived true to its name, during its history, especially that of the last two centuries. It is the history of conflicts, alliances, friends made and friends lost. A unique culture, synthesis of races emerged out of all these trials and tribulations for the natives of the country. To add his own confusion to the name, a Spanish explorer thought it to be the name of a tribe, and in his recordings, he referred to the name as Teyas of Tejas! (Tejas is a Sanskrit word, meaning brilliance!) The alliance concept of Texas is honored and also respected in the state motto which is ”Friendship”.

State reptile of Texas

Threatened species, Horned Lizard, is the state reptile of Texas. The appearance of this Horny Toad is frightening. But it is docile and gentle in nature. Its color blends with that of the ground. Therefore, when threatened, it has a unique way of trying to protect itself. It flattens and freezes in a particular place.

The people of Texas call themselves, Texans. Several flags of the early Republic of Texas had a single star. The USA Flag is the star-studded one. There are two schools of thought regarding this Texas star. Some say, it indicated the wish of the Texans to merge with the United States, to get the statehood. Others say, the star represents the will power of the Texans to assert its rights under the Mexican Constitution of 1824. The lone star has several battle successes and defeats to its credit.

The history of the word ‘Texan’ is as interesting as the history of the Texas itself. The word is spelled and pronounced as ‘Texian’ is in English and ‘Texienne’ in French. In common parlance, the word Texan is used. But the Texan Almanac, used the word Texan as late as 1868.

So, the present evolution of the State, lying between Western and Southern Regions of the United States of America, is full of vicissitudes. It shares the cultural aspects of many countries that ruled and dominated over it, once upon a time. It is part of the Southwest and from the geographical point of view, lies on the American Great Plain. Its area is 268,581 sq. miles. In area, it is second to Alaska and in population, next to California.

Till 1836, Texas was a part of Mexico. It declared independence in the same year. It remained as an independent republic for about 10 years. The confusions continued when it joined USA in the year 1845 as the 28th State. In 1861, it seceded to join the Confederate States of America. It was admitted finally to the Union in the year 1870.

Texas boasts of six flags, thereby meaning that six countries have ruled over it, and was the source of many more wars and conflicts to gain superiority and territorial gains, among themselves. Stability arrived in Texas, after its final merger with the United States.

Native American tribes, which once lived inside the boundaries of present-day Texas, include Apache, Atakapan, Bidai, Caddo, Comanche, Cherokee, Kiowa, Tonkawa, Wichita, and Karankawa of Galveston. Currently, there are three federally recognized Native American tribes which reside in Texas: the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, and the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo of Texas.

The origin and development of Texas are both fascinating and adventurous!

Culture And Facts Of Texas

Texas is also known as the ‘Lone Star’ State. It achieved its independence from Mexico in 1836. It is the 28th State to join the Union of USA, in the year 1845. It is a Spanish name, from an Indian word, meaning ‘friends’ or ‘allies’. It is the second largest state in the Union. It has passed through a turbulent history, but now it is one of the top oil producing states and an important center for trade, commerce and industry. Its main flower is Bluebonnet.

While Austin is the capital of Texas, Dallas is one of the important cities. The present constitution of the state was adopted in the year 1876. Its motto is friendship; its bird, Mockingbird; its tree, Pecan; and the national song is, ‘Texas, Our Texas’.

The population of the State of Texas, according to the Jan 2004 census, was 22,490,000. Majority of them are from the Anglo ethnicity (53 %). The rest of the population consists of Hispanic, black and others. The ten major cities of Texas are- Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, El Paso, Arlington, Corpus, Plano and Garland. The total population of these major cities is approx. 50,000 or more.

The total area of Texas is 2,68,581 sq. miles. The highest point in the state is Guadalupe peak (8,749 ft.) in Gulbersion County. The Lowest Point at sea level is Gulf of Mexico.

The most visited destination in Texas is Dallas. It consists of a big wholesale market by world standards. It is one of the top Conventional Centers of USA. Due to this very reason, Dallas has about 60,000 hotel rooms. The two important airports of Dallas are DFW International and Love Field.

Fair Park is the largest cultural center of Dallas. It is a historical landmark as well. It was built in the year 1880, in an area of roughly 300 acres. There are also many museums, amphitheaters and music halls in this area.

Texas has a fascinating and turbulent history of 10,000 years. Buildings and artifacts, which are rare examples of the cultural heritage of Texas, are properly maintained and looked after. With the urban sprawl of the country, looking after the tangible assets is a difficult task. Experiencing the beauty of such historical buildings, districts and landscapes give us a first hand account of the minority groups of Texas, such as Mexican Americans, Native Americans and African Americans.

These artifacts throw light on the life and living of the early Texans. Some of the interesting revelations are: the earliest hunters of Texas used spears. The bow and arrows came into picture just 1500 years ago. The Spaniards introduced the horse to American Indians, about 1500 years ago. The language that they spoke was related to Indian language of the Caribbean region.

Unfortunately, about 90 % of the ancient history sites in many areas of Texas have been destroyed or damaged!

Six countries have ruled Texas, before it was finally merged with the Union of States to become an integral part of USA. The mixed population of the State makes it one of the unique places to travel and understand its unique diversity.

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