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A Lone Star Primer

For those of you who don't have the time to read the volumes of books written about our fair state, here is Texas in a nutshell:

  • Texas became the 28th state in 1845.
  • Texas is the second largest U.S. state, after Alaska, with more than 267,000 square miles, Texas is as large as all of New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois combined.
  • “Texas” comes from the Caddo Indian word "teyshas" (meaning "friends" or "allies"). Spanish explorers mistook this to be a tribal name, recording it as Teyas or Tejas. It came eventually to mean an area north of the Rio Grande and east of New Mexico.
  • Texas is popularly known as The Lone Star State. This official state nickname came from the single star design of the Republic of Texas flag.
  • Pledge to the Texas Flag: "Honor the Texas Flag. I pledge allegiance to thee. Texas, one and indivisible."
  • The Alamo is located in San Antonio. It is where Texas defenders fell to Mexican General Santa Anna and the phrase “Remember the Alamo!” originated. The Alamo is considered the cradle of Texas liberty and the state’s most popular historic site.
  • The lightning whelk is the official state shell. There is a plethora of other official state symbols.
  • Texas is the only state to have the flags of six different nations fly over it sometime during its history: Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States, and the United States.
  • Although six flags have flown over Texas, there have been eight changes of government: Spanish 1519-1685, French 1685-1690, Spanish 1690-1821, Mexican 1821-1836, Republic of Texas 1836-1845, United States 1845-1861, Confederate States 1861-1865, United States 1865-present.
  • The colors in the Texas flag are red, white and blue, symbolizing bravery, liberty and loyalty, respectively.
  • Texas is the only state to enter the United States by treaty instead of territorial annexation.
  • Texas was an independent nation from 1836 to 1845.
  • The first offensive action of the Texas Revolution occurred in Goliad on October 9, 1835 when locals captured the fort and town.
  • On December 20, 1835 the first Declaration of Texas Independence was signed in Goliad and the first flag of Texas Independence was hoisted.
  • In 1836 five sites served as temporary capitals of Texas: Washington-on-the-Brazos: Harrisburg: Galveston: Velasco: and Columbia. Sam Houston moved the capital to Houston in 1837. In 1839 the capital was moved to the new town of Austin. It served as the capital of the Republic of Texas in 1840-1842.
  • The capitol building in Austin opened on May 16, 1888. The dome of the building stands seven feet higher than that of the nation’s Capitol in Washington, D.C. and is made from Texas pink granite.
  • Austin is known as the live music capital of the world.
  • Texas produces more fuel, including petroleum and natural gas, than any other state.
  • Professional sports teams include the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Houston Astros, Houston Comets, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and Texas Rangers.
  • Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. The Dublin Dr Pepper, 85 miles west of Waco, still uses pure imperial cane sugar in its product. There is no period after the Dr in Dr Pepper.
  • The first suspension bridge in the United States was the Waco Bridge, built in 1870 and still in use today as a pedestrian crossing of the Brazos River.
  • The worst natural disaster in United States history was caused by a hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900. Over 8000 deaths were recorded.
  • Texas’ largest county is Brewster with 6,208 square miles.
  • Texas possesses three of the top ten most populous cities in the United States. These towns are Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.
  • Texas includes 267,339 square miles, or 7.4% of the nation’s total area.
  • Texas has 624 miles of coastline running along the Gulf of Mexico and contains more than 600 historic shipwrecks.
  • The tallest point in Texas is Guadalupe Peak at 8,751 feet.
  • There are 254 counties in Texas.
  • The state’s cattle population is estimated to be near 16 million.
  • More land is farmed in Texas than in any other state.
  • Laredo is the world’s largest inland port.
  • Port Lavaca has the world’s longest fishing pier.
  • The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is the world’s largest rose garden, containing 22 acres of 38,000 rose bushes from 500 varieties.
  • Amarillo has the world’s largest helium well.
  • The Heisman trophy is named for John William Heisman the first full-time coach and athletic director at Rice University in Houston.
  • Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other comparable area in North America.
  • The Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America’s only remaining flock of whooping cranes.

For those visitors who wish to find more articles about our state, to Living in Texas contains practical information from the official state portal.