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The recorded History of Texas begins with the arrival of the first Spanish
conquistadors (conquerors) in the region now known as Texas in 1519, who found the region populated by numerous Native American
tribes. Their ancestors had been there for thousands of years. During the period from 1519 to 1848, all or parts of Texas
were claimed by six countries: France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America—as well as
the Confederate States of America in 1861–65.
The first European base was established in 1680 in El Paso, Texas with the
exiled Spaniards and Native Americans from the Isleta Pueblo during the Pueblo Revolt, also known as Popé's Rebellion, from
northern New Mexico. In 1682, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle established a French colony, Fort Saint Louis, near
Matagorda Bay. The colony was killed off by Native Americans after three years, but Spanish authorities felt pressed to establish
settlements to keep their claim to the land. Several missions were established in East Texas; they were abandoned in 1691.
Twenty years later, concerned with the French presence in neighboring Louisiana, Spanish authorities again tried to colonize
Texas. Over the next 110 years, Spain established numerous villages, presidios, and missions in the province. A small number
of Spanish settlers arrived, in addition to missionaries and soldiers. Spain signed agreements with colonizers from the United
States. When Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, Mexican Texas was part of the new nation. To encourage settlement,
Mexican authorities allowed organized immigration from the United States, and by 1834, over 30,000 Anglos lived in Texas,
compared to 7,800 Mexicans.
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After Santa Anna's dissolution of the Constitution of 1824, issues such
as lack of access to courts, the militarization of the region's government (e.g., response to Saltillo-Monclova problem),
and self-defense issues resulting in the confrontation in Gonzales, public sentiment in Mexican Texas turned towards revolution.
Santa Anna's invasion of the territory after putting down the rebellion in Zacatecas provoked the conflict of 1836. The Texian
forces fought and won the Texas Revolution in 1835–36.
Texas became an independent nation, the Republic of Texas. Attracted by
the rich lands for cotton plantations and ranching, tens of thousands of immigrants arrived from the U.S. and from Germany
as well. In 1845, Texas joined the United States, becoming the 28th state. Texas declared its secession from the United States
in 1861 to join the Confederate States of America. Although only a few battles of the American Civil War were fought in Texas,
most Texas regiments served in the east and in the Army of Northern Virginia. When the war ended, Texas was under Military
Law and subject to Reconstruction.
Texas Timeline of Significant Events
Texas Revolution, aka Texas War of Independence (October 2, 1835 - April
Battle of the Alamo (February 23 – March 6, 1836)
Texas Independence from Mexico (March 2, 1836)
of Texas (March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846)
Annexation and State of Texas simultaneously granted by the United States
of America (December 29, 1845)
Annexation by the United States of America (Drafted February 27, 1844; Signed December 29,
1845; Effective February 19, 1846)
Statehood by the United States of America Drafted February 27, 1844; Signed December
29, 1845; Effective February 19, 1846)
Mexican–American War (April 25, 1846 – February 2, 1848)
officially recognizes Texas in Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (February 2, 1848)
Mexican Cession is an informal name given
to the land and territory ceded to the United States in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (February 2, 1848)
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Texas in the Beginning
Within Mexico, tensions continued between federalists and centralists. In
early 1835, wary Texians formed Committees of Correspondence and Safety. The unrest erupted into armed conflict in late 1835
at the Battle of Gonzales. This launched the Texas Revolution, and over the next two months, the Texians defeated all Mexican
troops in the region. Texians elected delegates to the Consultation, which created a provisional government. The provisional
government soon collapsed from infighting, and Texas was without clear governance for the first two months of 1836.
During this time of political turmoil, Mexican President Antonio Lopez de
Santa Anna personally led an army to end the revolt. The Mexican expedition was initially successful. General Jose de
Urrea defeated all the Texian resistance along the coast culminating in the Goliad Massacre. Santa Anna's forces, after a
thirteen-day siege, overwhelmed Texian defenders at the Battle of the Alamo. News of the defeats sparked panic amongst Texas
The newly elected Texian delegates to the Convention of 1836 quickly signed
a Declaration of Independence on March 2, forming the Republic of Texas. After electing interim officers, the Convention disbanded.
The new government joined the other settlers in Texas in the Runaway Scrape, fleeing from the approaching Mexican army. After
several weeks of retreat, the Texian Army commanded by Sam Houston attacked and defeated Santa Anna's forces at the Battle
of San Jacinto. Santa Anna was captured and forced to sign the Treaties of Velasco, ending the war.
While Texas had won their independence, political battles raged between
two factions of the new Republic. The nationalist faction, led by Mirabeau B. Lamar, advocated the continued independence
of Texas, the expulsion of the Native Americans, and the expansion of the Republic to the Pacific Ocean. Their opponents,
led by Sam Houston, advocated the annexation of Texas to the United States and peaceful co-existence with Native Americans.
The conflict between the factions was typified by an incident known as the Texas Archive War.
Mexico launched two small expeditions into Texas in 1842. The town of San
Antonio was captured twice and Texans were defeated in battle in the Dawson Massacre. Despite these successes, Mexico did
not keep an occupying force in Texas, and the republic survived. The republic's inability to defend itself added momentum
to Texas's eventual annexation into the United States.
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On the Path to Annexation and Statehood
As early as 1837, the Republic made several attempts to negotiate annexation
with the United States. Opposition within the republic from the nationalist faction, along with strong abolitionist opposition
within the United States, slowed Texas's admission into the Union. Texas was finally annexed when the expansionist James K.
Polk won the election of 1844. On December 29, 1845, Congress admitted Texas to the U.S. as a constituent state of the Union.
After Texas's annexation, Mexico broke diplomatic relations with the United
States. While the United States claimed that Texas's border stretched to the Rio Grande, Mexico claimed it was the Nueces
River. While the former Republic of Texas could not enforce its border claims, the United States had the military strength
and the political will to do so. President Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor south to the Rio Grande on January 13, 1846.
A few months later Mexican troops routed an American cavalry patrol in the disputed area in the Thornton Affair starting the
Mexican American War. The first battles of the war were fought in Texas: the Siege of Fort Texas, Battle of Palo Alto and Battle of Resaca de
la Palma. After these decisive victories, the United States invaded Mexican territory ending the fighting in Texas.
After a series of United States victories, the Treaty
of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the two-year war. In return, for $18,250,000, Mexico gave the U.S. undisputed control of Texas, ceded the Mexican
Cession in 1848, most of which today is called the American Southwest, and Texas's borders were established at the
The Compromise of 1850 set Texas's boundaries at their present form. U.S. Senator James Pearce of Maryland drafted the final proposal
where Texas ceded its claims to land which later became half of present day New Mexico, a third of Colorado, and small
portions of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming to the federal government, in return for the assumption of $10 million of the old
republic's debt. Post-war Texas grew rapidly as migrants poured into the cotton lands of the state. They also brought or purchased
enslaved African Americans, whose numbers tripled in the state from 1850 to 1860, from 58,000 to 182,566.
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Texas is the second most populous (after California) and the second largest
of the 50 U.S. states (after Alaska) in the United States of America, and the largest state in the 48 contiguous United States.
Geographically located in the south central part of the country, Texas shares an international border with the Mexican states
of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the south and borders the U.S. states of New Mexico to the west, Oklahoma
to the north, Arkansas to the northeast, and Louisiana to the east. Texas has an area of 268,820 square miles and a growing
population of over 26.4 million residents (July 2013).
Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth-largest in the United
States, while San Antonio is the second largest in the state and seventh largest in the United States. Dallas–Fort Worth
and Greater Houston are the fourth and fifth largest United States metropolitan areas, respectively. Other major cities include
El Paso and Austin—the state capital. Texas is nicknamed the Lone Star State to signify Texas as a former independent
republic and as a reminder of the state's struggle for independence from Mexico. The "Lone Star" can be found on the Texas
state flag and on the Texas state seal today. The origin of the state name, Texas, is from the word, "Tejas", which means
'friends' in the Caddo language.
Due to its size and geologic features such as the Balcones Fault, Texas
contains diverse landscapes that resemble both the American South and Southwest. Although Texas is popularly associated with
the Southwestern deserts, less than 10 percent of the land area is desert. Most of the population centers are located in areas
of former prairies, grasslands, forests, and the coastline. Traveling from east to west, one can observe terrain that ranges
from coastal swamps and piney woods, to rolling plains and rugged hills, and finally the desert and mountains of the Big Bend.
The term "six flags over Texas", as can be seen in the Grand Prairie-based
large national and international amusement park operator Six Flags, came from the several nations that had ruled over the
territory. Spain was the first European country to claim the area of Texas. France held a short-lived colony in Texas. Mexico
controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming an independent Republic. In 1845 it joined the
United States as the 28th state. The state's annexation set off a chain of events that caused the Mexican–American War
in 1846. A slave state, Texas declared its secession from the United States in early 1861, and officially joined the "Confederate
States of America" on March 2 of the same year. After the consequent Civil War and the restoration of its representation in
the federal government, Texas entered a long period of economic stagnation.
One Texas industry that thrived after the Civil War was cattle. Due to its
long history as a center of the industry, Texas is associated with the image of the cowboy. The state's economic fortunes
changed in the early 20th century, when oil discoveries initiated an economic boom in the state. With strong investments in
universities, Texas developed a diversified economy and high tech industry in the mid-20th century. As of 2010 it shares the
top of the list of the most Fortune 500 companies with California at 57.
With a growing base of industry, the state leads in many industries, including
agriculture, petrochemicals, energy, computers and electronics, aerospace, and biomedical sciences. Texas has led the nation
in export revenue since 2002 and has the second-highest gross state product.
The Facts and Figures of Texas
Key Words and Related Studies: Texas Timeline History Texas Revolution
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