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The Republic of Texas was an independent state in North America, bordering the United Statesmarker and Mexicomarker, that existed from 1836 to 1846.

Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S. state of Texasmarker, as well as parts of present-day New Mexicomarker, Oklahomamarker, Kansasmarker, Coloradomarker, and Wyomingmarker based upon the Treaties of Velasco between the newly created Texas Republic and Mexico. The eastern boundary with the United States was defined by the Adams-Onís Treaty between the United States and Spainmarker, in 1819. Its southern and western-most boundary with Mexicomarker was under dispute throughout the existence of the Republic, with Texas claiming that the boundary was the Rio Grandemarker, and Mexico claiming the Nueces Rivermarker as the boundary. This dispute would later become a trigger for the Mexican-American War, after the annexation of Texas.



The Republic of Texas was created from part of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas as a result of the Texas Revolution. Mexico was in turmoil as leaders attempted to determine an optimal form of government. In early 1835, as the Mexican government transitioned from a federalist model to centralism, wary colonists in Texas began forming Committees of Correspondence and Safety. A central committee in San Felipe de Austinmarker coordinated their activities. In the Mexican interior, several states revolted against the new centralist policies. The Texas Revolution officially began on October 2, 1835, in the Battle of Gonzales. Although the Texians originally fought for the reinstatement of the Constitution of 1824, by 1836 the aim of the war had changed. The Convention of 1836 declared independence on March 2, 1836, and officially formed the Republic of Texas.


The first Congress of the Republic of Texas convened in October 1836 at Columbiamarker (now West Columbiamarker). Stephen F. Austin, known as the Father of Texas, died December 27, 1836, after serving two months as Secretary of State for the new Republic.

The original (or "Burnet") flag of Texas (1836–1839)
The first flag of the republic was the "Burnet Flag" (a gold star on an azure field), followed shortly thereafter by official adoption of the Lone Star Flag.

In 1836, five sites served as temporary capitals of Texas (Washington-on-the-Brazosmarker, Harrisburg, Galvestonmarker, Velascomarker and Columbiamarker) before president Sam Houston moved the capital to Houstonmarker in 1837. In 1839, the capital was moved to the new town of Austinmarker by the next president Mirabeau B. Lamar.

Internal politics of the Republic were based on the conflict between two factions. The nationalist faction, led by Mirabeau B. Lamar, advocated the continued independence of Texas, the expulsion of the Native Americans, and the expansion of Texas to the Pacific Oceanmarker. Their opponents, led by Sam Houston, advocated the annexation of Texas to the United States and peaceful co-existence with Native Americans.The Texas Congress even passed a resolution over Houston's veto claiming the Californias for Texas.

The 1844 presidential election split dramatically with the newer western regions of the Republic preferring the nationalist candidate Edward Burleson while the cotton country, particularly east of the Trinity Rivermarker, went for Anson Jones.

The Comanches were the main Native American opposition to the Texas Republic. In the late 1830s Sam Houston negotiated a peace between Texas and the Comanches. In 1838 Lamar replaced Houston as president and reversed the Indian policies. He launched a genocidal war against the Comanches and invaded Comancheria itself. In retaliation the Comanche attacked Texas in a series of raids. After peace talks in 1840 ended with the massacre of 34 Comanche leaders in San Antonio the Comanches launched a major attack deep into Texas, known as the Great Raid of 1840. Under command of Potsanaquahip (Buffalo Hump), 500-700 Comanche cavalry warriors swept down the Guadalupe Rivermarker valley, killing and plundering all the way to the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, where they sacked the towns of Victoriamarker and Linnville. Houston became president again in 1841 and, with both Texans and Comanches exhausted by war, a new peace was established.

Although Texas governed itself, Mexico refused to recognize its independence. On March 5, 1842, a Mexican force of over 500 men, led by Rafael Vásquez, invaded Texas for the first time since the revolution. They soon headed back to the Rio Grande after briefly occupying San Antonio. 1,400 Mexican troops, led by the French mercenary general Adrian Woll launched a second attack and captured San Antonio on September 11, 1842. A Texas militia retaliated at the Battle of Salado Creek. However on September 18, this militia was defeated by Mexican soldiers and Texas Cherokee Indians during the Dawson Massacre. The Mexican army would later retreat from the city of San Antonio.

Among the effects of Mexico's attacks on Texas was the intensification of conflicts between political factions, including an incident known as the Texas Archive War. To "protect" the Texas national archives, President Sam Houston ordered them removed from Austin. The archives were eventually returned back to Austin, albeit at gunpoint. The Texas Congress admonished Houston for the incident, and this episode in Texas history would solidify Austin as Texas's seat of government for the Republic and the future state.


After gaining their independence, the Texas voters had elected a Congress of 14 senators and 29 representatives in September 1836. The Constitution of the Republic of Texas allowed the first president to serve for only two years. It set a three year term for all later presidents.

The first Congress of the Republic of Texas convened in October 1836 at Columbiamarker (now West Columbia). Stephen F. Austin, sometimes called the "Father of Texas," died December 27, 1836, after serving two months as Secretary of State for the new Republic. Due mainly to the ongoing war for independence, five sites served as temporary capitals of Texas in 1836: (Washington-on-the-Brazosmarker, Harrisburg, Galvestonmarker, Velascomarker and Columbiamarker). The capital was moved to the new city of Houstonmarker in 1837. In 1839, the capital was moved to a tiny frontier settlement on the Colorado River named Waterloo. A new city was laid out, and Waterloo was renamed Austinmarker.

The court system inaugurated by Congress included a Supreme Court consisting of a chief justice appointed by the president and four associate justices, elected by a joint ballot of both houses of Congress for four-year terms and eligible for reelection. The associates also presided over four judicial districts. Houston nominated James Collinsworth to be the first chief justice. The county-court system consisted of a chief justice and two associates, chosen by a majority of the justices of the peace in the county. Each county was also to have a sheriff, a coroner, justices of the peace, and constables to serve two-year terms. Congress formed 23 counties, whose boundaries generally coincided with the existing municipalities.

Internal politics of the Republic were based on the conflict between two factions. The nationalist faction, led by Mirabeau B. Lamar, advocated the continued independence of Texas, the expulsion of the Cherokee and other Native American tribes, and the expansion of Texas 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.

In 1839 Texas became the first nation in the world to enact a homestead exemption, under which a person's primary residence could not be seized by creditors.

Diplomatic relations

On March 3, 1837, US President Andrew Jackson appointed Alcée La Branche as American chargé d'affaires to the Republic of Texas, thus officially recognizing Texas as an independent republic. Francemarker granted official recognition of Texas on September 25, 1839, appointing Alponse Dubois de Saligny to serve as chargé d'affaires. The French Legationmarker was built in 1841 and still stands in Austin as the oldest frame structure in the city.

The Republic also received diplomatic recognition from Belgiummarker, the Netherlandsmarker, and the Republic of Yucatán. The United Kingdommarker never granted official recognition of Texas due to its own friendly relations with Mexico, but admitted Texan goods into British ports on their own terms. In Londonmarker, the original Embassy of the Republic of Texas still stands. Immediately opposite the gates to St. James's Palacemarker, Sam Houston's original Embassy of the Republic of Texas to the Court of St. James's is now a hat shop, but is clearly marked with a large plaque and a nearby restaurant is called Texas Embassy.

Presidents and vice presidents

Presidents and Vice Presidents of the Republic of Texas with election results
From To President Vice president Presidential
Vice pres.
March 16, 1836 October 22, 1836 David G. Burnet


Lorenzo de Zavala
October 22, 1836 December 10, 1838 Sam Houston

Mirabeau B. Lamar Sam Houston
Henry Smith
Stephen F.



Mirabeau B. Lamar  
December 10, 1838 December 13, 1841 Mirabeau B. Lamar

David G. Burnet Mirabeau B. Lamar
Robert Wilson
David G. Burnet  
December 13, 1841 December 9, 1844 Sam Houston

Edward Burleson Sam Houston
David G.

Edward Burleson
Memucan Hunt
December 9, 1844 February 19, 1846 Anson Jones

Kenneth L. Anderson Anson Jones
Edward Burleson
Kenneth L. Anderson  


A map of Mexico, 1835-1846 with separatist movements highlighted.

On February 28, 1845, the U.S. Congress passed a bill that would authorize the United Statesmarker to annex the Republic of Texas. On March 1, U.S. President John Tyler signed the bill. The legislation set the date for annexation for December 29 of the same year. Faced with imminent American annexation of Texas, Charles Elliot and Alphonse de Saligny, the British and French ministers to Texas, were dispatched to Mexico City by their governments. Meeting together with Mexico's foreign secretary, they signed a "Diplomatic Act" in which Mexico offered to recognize an independent Texas, with boundaries that would be determined with French and British mediation. Texas President Anson Jones forwarded both offers to a specially elected convention meeting at Austin, and the American proposal was accepted with only one dissenting vote. The Mexican proposal was never put to a vote. Following the previous decree of President Jones, the proposal was then put to a national vote.

On October 13, 1845 a large majority of voters in the Republic approved both the American offer and the proposed constitution that specifically endorsed slavery and emigrants bringing slaves to Texas. This constitution was later accepted by the U.S. Congress, making Texasmarker a U.S. state on the same day annexation took effect, December 29, 1845 (therefore bypassing a territorial phase). One of the motivations for annexation was that the Texas government had incurred huge debts which the United States agreed to assume upon annexation. As part of the Compromise of 1850, in return for this assumption of debt ($10,000,000), Texas dropped claims to territory, now parts of Coloradomarker, Kansasmarker, Oklahomamarker, New Mexicomarker, and Wyomingmarker, which Texas had never controlled and which the Federal government had captured directly from Mexico early in the Mexican War and governed directly.

The annexation resolution has been the topic of some historical myths—one that remains is that the resolution granted Texas the explicit right to secede from the Union. This is a right argued by some to be implicitly held by all states. The resolution did include two unique provisions: first, it said that up to four additional states could be created from Texas' territory, with the consent of the State of Texas (and that new states north of the Missouri Compromise Line would be free states). The resolution did not include any special exceptions to the provisions of the US Constitution regarding statehood. The right to create these possible new states was not "reserved" for Texas, as is sometimes stated. Second, Texas did not have to surrender its public lands to the federal government. While Texas did cede all territory outside of its current area to the federal government in 1850, it did not cede any public lands within its current boundaries. This means that the only lands owned by the federal government within Texas have subsequently been purchased by the federal government. This also means that the state government has control over oil reserves which were later used to fund the state's public university system through the Permanent University Fund. In addition, the state's control over offshore oil reserves in Texas runs out to 3 leagues (10.357 miles, 16.668 km) rather than three miles (4.828 km) as with other states.

See also


  1. .
  2. .
  3. #Fehrenbach, page 263
  4. #Fehrenbach, page 265
  5. .
  6. .
  7. "Dawson Massacre". Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved Sep.24, 2006.
  8. Museum Info, French Legation Museum.
  9. Diplomatic Relations of the Republic of Texas
  11. The Avalon Project at Yale Law School: Texas - From Independence to Annexation
  12. Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States
  13. Texas Annexation : Questions and Answers, Texas State Library & Archives Commission.
  14. Overview of U.S. Legislation and Regulations Affecting Offshore Natural Gas and Oil Activity


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