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Texas at a glance

English narration

En Español Texto en Español


The Lonely Star State Flag

Texas:

The Lonestar State. It is the second largest state of the Union. Only Alaska the latest state incorporated is larger than Texas. Despite of being the second largest state; Texas still does things Texas style. Just some years ago Texas adopted the new motto "Don't mess with Texas". Texas became very well known because of the oil production. Bluebonnets from Texas The oil boom may have passed; but Texas is now the leader in the petrochemical industry. Although not in the same dimension that the oil industry, Texas is also big in the cattle industry and cotton production. In the last 20 years Texas industry has been diversifying, and now the state is one of the leaders in technology. However one of the most interesting things of Texas is its history. Texas is the only state that had six flags, including the current one."Six flags over Texas". It is very common to see the Texas flag next to the American flag in many buildings. Texas also has its own capitolio building in Austin. Texas past goes back to Spain and Mexico, until Texas got the independence from Mexico, after many battles, being the most famous The Alamo (Thirteen Days of Glory), which turned out a victory for the Mexican army but a psychological victory for Texas, because of the courage displayed by the defenders who gave their lifes, and eventually lead to the independence of Texas. For a while Texas was a republic; then joined the Union. It broke away from the Union participating in the civil war taking the side of the south, and finally back to the Union.

History

When The Austins came to Texas in 1821 they opened the way for people from the states, and Texas history had its real beginning. Years later after many battles like The Alamo, and finally San Jacinto, Texas became a Republic.
During the Baltimore convention in 1844, Southern leaders under James K. Polk, of Tennessee, declared the annexation of Texas and the acquisition of Oregon to United States.

The Land:

Europeans have claimed portions of the Americas based upon exploration and discovery. For those so-called civilized nations, the Indian inhabitants who had peopled these continents for centuries had any title to their native land, any rights to be respected. Spanish adventurers reached the mainland through the Gulf of Mexico. De Leon and De Soto explored Florida and gave the title to Spain in 1542.

La Salle in 1682 sailed down the Mississippi River with a small company of daring Frenchman and claimed the land for his French monarch. Eventually claimed the entire country for their King. The land claimed was up to East Florida, and even Texas was included. La Salle lost his life in Matagorda after he founded a colony in that place.

Meanwhile the Spaniards through Mexico have made futile efforts at settlements here. Years passed and Texas and Louisiana were still wild, and unknown territories. New Orleans became a port of some importance, but the Indians and French have been at wars in the middle of the Eighteenth Century. France and England also had their own wars in the valley of Ohio.
Fearing that England would win the war, France handled Louisiana to Spain in 1762. Napoleon, forty years later sold Louisiana to the Unites States to keep it out of England's hands.

The United States annexed Texas in 1845 to keep England from dominating it. During the period Spain held Louisiana, the title to Texas was Spanish, whether it be treated as part of Louisiana or part of Mexico. At the close of the American Revolution, Spanish sovereignty was acknowledged. The Colonies (United States) didn't covet for more land, but they needed to navigate all the way trough the Gulf along the Mississippi River, and consequently trough Spanish territory.

At the close of the eighteen-century England was in control of Canada, United States of his colonies (States) and Spain as the nominal master of the greater part of North America. Mission Nuestra Senora de la Purisima concepcion Texas at that time was just a name on a map. Spain had sent the Franciscan Fathers to build missions, to tame and save the Red brother (the Indians), but the missions failed.

But with the nineteenth century came Napoleon, who made himself master of France, and a kingmaker. He made the Duke of Parma (a Bourbon Duke), in the north of Italy, a king of Etruria, rulers of an Italian kingdom, with his Spanish wife. In return Napoleon collected a fee from King Charles of Spain, and that fee was Louisiana; so after more than 50 years in 1800, Louisiana went back to France, and consequently that name in the map called Texas.

When United States learned this transfer got very worry in having south of the country again a very powerful neighbor. This deal was kept so secret by the Spaniards that it was denied several times. When United States kept insisting the Spanish Intendment at New Orleans annulled the treaty of 1795, between the United States and Spain, and closed New Orleans to ships bearing American merchandise and products. Finally Spain admitted that they have passed Louisiana back to France, but they said that it was not for sale at all. President Jefferson knew that if United States could not purchase New Orleans and the unrestricted right to use the Lower Mississippi, that would be a matter of few years that the westerners would take it by force.

United States decided to offer the purchase of New Orleans and the East Side of the Mississippi. They didn't have any intention of purchasing the West Side. But Napoleon had many plans for Louisiana, such as to found a vast colonial empire. However his eternal quarrels with England renewed again, and it was known that the British Government was planning an expedition to occupy New Orleans. This prompted Napoleon to hurriedly sell Louisiana to the United States in 1803, to keep it from falling into English hands.

However the Spaniards that protested the sale for a while, now became very concerned that Unites States was too close to Mexico. However United States had bought the whole Louisiana territory at the insistence of Napoleon to purchase all, or nothing. They didn't have interest in Texas, but to get East Florida. When the Spanish acceded to trade Texas for Florida, both sides were pleased. United States was getting Spain out of the East Coast for good, and Spain got Texas back as a buffer area between Spanish territory and United States, since most of Texas was inhabitated by hostile Indians.

The Revolution:

In 1832 it was ten years since Stephen Austin brought the first colonists to Texas territory. There were about 30,000 people settled in Texas. The people in Texas began to assemble in conventions and to discuss issues related to Texas. During the conventions there was a well-balanced division of sentiment. On one side Austin representing the conservatives that wanted to keep the ties to Mexico, and the Whartons the leaders of the more radicals that wanted separation from Mexico.

The fact that the Mexican government denied the privilege of people coming and acquiring citizenship was one main concern of the colonists, also the fact that Texas became a part of Coahuila. During the convention of 1833 a proposal for a constitution for a new state was presented. Austin was imprisoned in Mexico when he traveled to present a memorial requesting separate statehood. In 1834 Almonte a brilliant Mexican officer interceded to get Austin liberated.

In 1835 land speculation started. Mexicans were allowed to buy in a single grant eleven leagues of land (fifty thousands English acres) and then speculators purchased the certificates. Some of the people that benefited from this fraud became heroes later like Bowie and Grant.
These land transactions were seized by Santa Ana, and were the reason by which Santa Ana punished Coahuila and Texas. General Cos marched to Bexar with a considerably army and arrested some of the more outspoken men in the Colonies, however some of them escaped.

In October Colonel Ugartechea came to Gonzales with a small detachment of men to take away a cannon that the government had provided some years before to the settlers to defend themselves against the Indians. A skirmish ensued and the Mexicans left to Bexar without the cannon.

In the last days of October 1835, the patriot army from Texas sent by Austin under two commanders, James Bowie and Edward Burleson reached Bexar. These men welcomed a reinforcement of sixty-four men from the New Orleans Grays on November 21st. Later on many of them would be murdered in Goliad together with Fannin's men. When Austin had to depart to accept a mission to the United States, Colonel Edward Burleson was chosen as commander.
However the main figure in the taken of Bexar was Ben Milam. He addressed his men with, "Who will go into San Antonio with Old Ben Milam?" The battle lasted six days, the Mexican army capitulated, but Milam lost his life on the third day, and he was buried in the same place were he died.

After the fell of Bexar in December, only a small garrison remained in San Antonio. While Sam Houston was trying to prepare for an organized defense, James Fannin and Doctor John Grant were planning to invade Mexico with merely 500 men. But the year 1836 is the most important in Texas history. It began with the declaration of Independence on March 2nd at Washington on the Brazos. The Alamo fell on March 6th. Fannin fell at Goliad on March 27th, and the San Jacinto battle was won on April 21st. The first President was elected in September (Sam Houston). The first Congress of the Republic of Texas met at Columbia October 3rd. Austin died December 27th.

Capitol: Austin

Area: 262,840 square miles, (672,870 Km2) just a little bigger that one half of Peru (52%).

Most important cities:

Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin.

Texas became the 28th state of the Union on December 29, 1845.

Highest point: The highest point is Guadalupe with 8,751 feet, (2667 meters)

State's flower: The Bluebonnet.

Governor: Rick Perry (Republican)

The state of Texas has a highway system that together with California are the best in the Unites States.

Most important cities of Texas:

Click Image

Houston

San Antonio

Austin

Houston
San Antonio
Austin



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Updated on 04/24/05



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