( ) is the second-largest U.S. state in both
area and population, and the largest state
in the contiguous United States
had wide usage among native Americans, meaning "friends" or
"allies". Located in the South Central United States,
Texas is bordered by Mexico to the
Mexico to the west, Oklahoma to the
north, Arkansas to the
northeast, and Louisiana to the east.
Texas has an area of , and a
growing population of 24.6 million residents. Houston is the
largest city in Texas and the fourth-largest in
the United States, while Dallas–Fort Worth and
Houston are the 4th and 6th largest United States metropolitan
areas.Other major cities include San Antonio, El
Paso, and Austin—the state capital.
Texas is nicknamed the Lone Star State
to signify Texas as
an 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.
Due to its size and geologic features such as the Balcones Fault
, Texas contains diverse
that resemble both the
Texas is popularly associated with the Southwestern deserts
than 10% of the land area is desert
. Most of
the population centers are located in areas of former prairies
, 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
Due to its long history as a center of the
industry, Texas is associated
with the image of the cowboy
The term "six flags over Texas
came from the several nations that had rule over the territory.
was the first European country
to claim the area of Texas. France held a
short-lived colony in Texas.
the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming
an independent Republic.
1845 it joined the United States as the 28th state. The state's
set off a chain of events
caused the Mexican–American
in 1846. Texas declared its secession from the United
States in early 1861, joining the Confederate States of America
during the American Civil War
After the war and its restoration to the Union, Texas entered a
long period of economic stagnation.
early 1900s, oil discoveries initiated an economic
boom in the state.
Texas has since economically diversified
. Today it has more
companies than any other
U.S. state. With a growing base of industry, the state is a leader
in many, including agriculture
, and biomedical sciences
. It leads the nation in
export revenue since 2002 and has the second-highest gross state product
Texas lies between two major cultural spheres of Pre-Columbian North America
and the Plains
have found that three major
indigenous cultures lived in this territory, and reached their
developmental peak before the first European contact. These were:
No culture was dominant in the present-day Texas region, and many
peoples inhabited the area. Native American
that lived inside the boundaries of present-day Texas include the
, and Wichita
. The name
derives from , a word in the
, which means "friends" or "allies".
Whether a Native American tribe was friendly or warlike was
critical to the fates of European explorers and settlers
in that land. Friendly tribes taught
newcomers how to grow indigenous crops, prepare foods, and hunt
. Warlike tribes made life
difficult and dangerous for Europeans through their attacks and
resistance to the newcomers.
The first historical document related to Texas was a map of the
, created in 1519 by Spanish
explorer Alonso Álvarez de
. Nine years later, shipwrecked Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de
and his cohort became the first European
in Texas. European powers
ignored Texas until accidentally settling there in 1685.
Miscalculations by René Robert Cavelier de La
Salle resulted in his establishing the colony of Fort Saint Louis at Matagorda Bay rather than along the Mississippi River.
lasted only four years before succumbing to harsh conditions
and hostile natives.
In 1690 Spanish authorities, concerned that France posed
competitive threat, constructed several missions
in East Texas
. After Native American resistance, the
Spanish missionaries returned to Mexico. When France began settling
, mostly in the southern part
of the state, in 1716 Spanish authorities responded by founding a
new series of missions in East Texas. Two years later,
they created San
Antonio as the first Spanish civilian settlement in
Hostile native tribes and distance from nearby Spanish colonies
discouraged settlers from moving to Texas. It was one of New
Spain's least populated provinces. In 1749, the Spanish peace
treaty with the Lipan Apache
many tribes, including the Comanche
, and Hasinai
The Comanche signed a treaty with Spain in 1785 and later helped to
defeat the Lipan Apache and Karankawa
tribes. With more numerous missions being established, priests led
a peaceful conversion of most tribes. By the end of the 1700s only
a few nomadic
tribes had not converted to
When the United States purchased
from France in 1801, American authorities insisted
that the agreement also included Texas. The boundary between
New Spain and the United States was finally set at the Sabine
River in 1819.
Eager for new land, many United
States settlers refused to recognize the agreement. Several
raised armies to
invade Texas. In 1821, the Mexican War of Independence
included the Texas territory, which became part of Mexico. Due to
its low population, Mexico made the area part of the state of
Coahuila y Tejas
Hoping that more settlers would reduce the near-constant Comanche
raids, Mexican Texas
immigration policies to permit immigrants from outside Mexico and
Spain. Under the Mexican immigration system, large swathes of land
were allotted to empresarios
who recruited settlers from the United States, Europe, and the
Mexican interior. The first grant, to Moses
, was passed to his son Stephen F. Austin
after his death.
Austin's settlers, the Old Three
, made places along the Brazos
in 1822. Twenty-three other empresarios brought settlers
to the state, the majority of whom were from the United States. The
population of Texas grew rapidly. In 1825, Texas had a population
of approximately 3,500, with most of Mexican descent. By 1834,
Texas had grown to approximately 37,800 people, with only 7,800 of
Many immigrants openly flouted Mexican law, especially the
prohibition against slavery
. Combined with
United States' attempts to purchase Texas, Mexican authorities
decided in 1830 to prohibit continued immigration from the United
States. New laws also called for the enforcement of customs duties
angering both native Mexican
) and recent
The Anahuac Disturbances
1832 were the first open revolt against Mexican rule and they
coincided with a revolt in Mexico against the nation's president.
sided with the federalists
against the current government and
drove all Mexican soldiers out of East Texas. They took advantage
of the lack of oversight to agitate for more political freedom.
Texians met at the Convention of
to discuss requesting independent statehood, among other
issues. The following year, Texians reiterated their demands at the
Convention of 1833
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
. This launched the Texas
, and over the next two months, the Texians
successfully 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
defeated all the Texian resistance along the coast
culminating in the Goliad Massacre
Anna's forces, after a thirteen-day
siege, overwhelmed Texian defenders at the Battle of
News of the defeats sparked panic amongst
Texas settlers.The newly-elected Texian delegates to the Convention of 1836
quickly signed a
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
, 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
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
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.
As early as 1837, the Republic made several attempts to negotiate
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
. On December 29, 1845, Congress
admitted Texas to the U.S.
as a constituent state
When Texas was annexed, 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
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
. The first
battles 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 US $
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 Rio Grande.
The Compromise of 1850
Texas's boundaries at their present form. 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.
Civil War and Reconstruction
Texas was at war again after the election of 1860
's election triggered
South Carolina's declaration of secession from the Union. A State
Convention considering secession opened in Austin on January 28,
1861. On February 1, by a vote of 166–8, the Convention adopted an
Ordinance of Secession
the United States. Texas voters approved this Ordinance on February
23, 1861. Texas joined the Confederate States of America, ratifying
the permanent C.S.
March 23, 1861. Not all Texans favored secession initially,
although many of the same would later support the Southern cause.
Texas's most notable unionist
was the state Governor,
Sam Houston. Not wanting to aggravate the situation further,
Houston refused two offers from President Lincoln for Union troops
to keep him in office. After refusing to swear an oath of
allegiance to the Confederacy, Houston was deposed as
While far from the major battlefields
of the American Civil War
contributed large numbers of men and equipment to the rest of the
Confederacy. Though few battles were fought in Texas, Union troops
state's primary port, Galveston. Texas's border with Mexico was
known as the "backdoor of the Confederacy" because trade occurred
at the border, bypassing the Union blockade. The Confederacy
repulsed all Union attempts to shut down this route, but Texas's
role as a supply state was marginalized in mid-1863 after the Union
capture of the Mississippi River
final battle of the Civil
War was fought near Brownsville Texas at Palmito
descended into near anarchy for two months between the surrender of the Army of
Northern Virginia and the assumption of authority by Union
General Gordon Granger.
Violence marked the early months of Reconstruction
commemorates the announcement
of the Emancipation
in Galveston by General Gordon Granger, over two
and a half years after the original announcement. President
Johnson, in 1866, declared the civilian government restored in
Texas. Despite not meeting reconstruction
requirements, Congress readmitted Texas into the Union in 1870.
Social volatility continued as the
state struggled with agricultural depression and labor
January 10, 1901, the first major oil well
in Texas, Spindletop, was found south of Beaumont. Other fields were later discovered nearby in
Texas, West Texas, and under
the Gulf of
The resulting "Oil Boom
" transformed Texas. Oil production
eventually averaged three million barrels per day at its peak in
The Great Depression
dealt a double blow to the
state's economy, which had significantly improved since the Civil
War. Migrants abandoned the worst hit sections of Texas during the
Dust Bowl years. Especially from this period on, blacks left
Texas in the Great
Migration to get work in the Northern United States or California and to escape the oppression of segregation. =
On November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, Lee Harvey Oswald
John F. Kennedy
. Texas Governor
John B. Connally
was also critically injured in the
incident but survived. On Air Force
One at Dallas's Love Field Airport, Kennedy's vice president, the
Texan Lyndon Baines Johnson,
was sworn in as the 36th
Texas modernized and expanded its system of higher
through the 1960s. Under the leadership of Governor
Connally, the state created a comprehensive plan for higher
education, a different distribution of resources, and a central
state apparatus designed to manage state institutions more
efficiently. These changes helped Texas universities receive
federal research funds.
Texas is the second largest
U.S. state, behind Alaska, with an area of . It is 10% larger than
France and almost
twice as large as Germany or Japan, though it ranks only 27th
worldwide amongst country
subdivisions by size
. If it were a country, Texas would be the
Texas is in the south-central
part of the United
States of America. Three of its borders
defined by rivers. The Rio Grande river forms a natural border with the Mexican
states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo
León, and Tamaulipas to the south. The Red
River forms a natural border with Oklahoma and Arkansas
to the north. The Sabine
River forms a natural border with Louisiana to the
east. The Texas Panhandle has an eastern border with Oklahoma at 100° W, a northern border with Oklahoma
at 36°30' N and a western
border with New Mexico at 103°
Paso lies on the state's western tip at 32° N and the Rio Grande.
With 10 climatic
, 14 soil
, and 11 distinct ecological
, regional classification becomes problematic with
differences in soils, topography, geology, rainfall, and plant and
animal communities. One classification system divides Texas, in
order southeast to west, into the following: Gulf Coastal
Plains, Interior Lowlands, Great Plains, and Basin and Range Province.
Coastal Plains region wraps around the Gulf of Mexico on the
southeast section of the state. Vegetation in this region consists
of thick pineywoods. The Interior Lowlands region consists of
gently rolling to hilly forested land is part of a larger
pine-hardwood forest. The Great Plains region in central Texas is
located in spans through the state's panhandle to the state's hill
country near Austin. This region is dominated by prairie
. In the
state's extreme west, is the state's Basin and Range Province. The
most complex of the regions, this area includes Sand Hills, the
Stockton Plateau, desert valleys, wooded mountain slopes and desert
Texas has 3,700 named streams and 15 major rivers. The largest of
these rivers is Rio Grande. While Texas does not have any large
natural lakes, Texans have built over 100 artificial reservoirs
Texas's size and unique history makes its regional affiliation
debatable. Depending on the source, it can be fairly considered
either or both a Southern or Southwestern state. The vast
geographic, economic, and cultural diversity within the state
itself prohibits easy categorization of the whole state into a
of the United States
. The East, Central, and North Texas
regions have a stronger association with the American South
than with the Southwest
. Others, such as far
West Texas and South Texas share more similarities with the
Texas is the southernmost part of the Great Plains, which ends in
the south against the folded Sierra Madre Occidental
The continental crust
stable Mesoproterozoic craton
which changes across a broad continental
margin and transitional crust into true oceanic crust
of the Gulf of Mexico. The
oldest rocks in Texas date from the Mesoproterozoic and are about
1,600 million years old. These Precambrian
igneous and metamorphic rocks underlie most of the
state, and are exposed in three places: Llano uplift,
Horn, and the Franklin Mountains, near El
Paso. Sedimentary rocks
overlay most of these ancient rocks. The oldest sediments were
deposited on the flanks of a rifted continental margin, or passive margin
that developed during Cambrian
time. This margin existed until Laurasia
collided in the Pennsylvanian
. This is the buried crest of the Appalachian
Mountains–Ouachita Mountains zone of Pennsylvanian continental collision.
orogenic crest is today buried beneath the
The late Paleozoic
mountains collapsed as
in the Jurassic
era began to open the Gulf of Mexico.
Pangea began to break up in the Triassic
but seafloor spreading
the Gulf of Mexico occurred only in the mid and late Jurassic
. The shoreline shifted again to
the eastern margin of the state and the Gulf of Mexico passive
margin began to form. Today to of sediments are buried beneath the
Texas continental shelf and a large proportion of remaining US
are located here. At the
start of its formation, the incipient Gulf of Mexico basin was
restricted and seawater often evaporated completely to form thick
deposits of Jurassic age. These
salt deposits formed salt dome diapirs
, and are found in East Texas along the Gulf
East Texas outcrops consist of Cretaceous
sediments which contain
important deposits of Eocene lignite
. The Mississippian and Pennsylvanian
sediments in the north; Permian sediments in the west; and
Cretaceous sediments in the east, along the Gulf coast and out on
the Texas continental shelf
contain oil. Oligocene volcanic rocks are found in far west Texas in the
Bend area. A blanket of Miocene
sediments known as the Ogallala formation in the western high plains region is an important
Located far from an active
boundary, Texas has no
and few earthquakes
The large size of Texas and its location at the intersection of
gives the state very variable weather. The Panhandle of
the state has colder winters than North Texas, while the Gulf Coast
has mild winters. Texas has wide variations in precipitation
patterns. El Paso, on the western end of the state, averages as
little as of annual rainfall while Houston, on the southeast Texas
averages as much as per year. Dallas in the North Central region
averages a more moderate per year.
Generally, snow falls multiple times each winter in the Panhandle
and mountainous areas of West Texas, once or twice a year in North
Texas, and once every few years in Central and East Texas. Snow
rarely falls south of San Antonio or on the coast except in rare
circumstances. Of note is the 2004 Christmas Eve Snowstorm
was the first recorded White
Christmas in Houston where 6 inches of snow fell as far
south as Kingsville, where the average high temperature in December is
temperatures in the summer months average from the 80s °F (26 °C) in the mountains
of West Texas and on Galveston Island to around in the Rio
Grande Valley, but most areas of Texas see consistent summer
high temperatures in the range.
Night time summer temperatures range from the upper 50s °F (14 °C)
in the West Texas mountains to in Galveston.
strike Texas often,
especially the eastern and northern portions of the state. Tornado Alley
covers the northern section of
Texas. The state experiences the most tornadoes
in the United States, an average of 139 a
year. These strike most frequently in North Texas and the
Panhandle. Tornadoes in Texas generally occur in the months of
April, May, and June.
Some of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history have
impacted Texas. A hurricane in 1875 killed approximately 400
people in Indianola, followed by another hurricane in 1886 that
destroyed the town. At the time Indianola was the most important
port city in the state and these events allowed Galveston to take over as the chief port city.
hurricane of 1900 subsequently devastated that city killing
approximately 8,000 people (possibly as many as 12,000), making it
the deadliest natural disaster in
Other devastating Texas hurricanes include the
1915 Galveston Hurricane
in 1957 which
killed over 600 people, Hurricane
in 1961, Hurricane Beulah
in 1967, Hurricane Alicia
in 2005, and Hurricane Ike
in 2008. Tropical storms
have also caused their
share of damage: Allison
in 1989 and again
, and Claudette
in 1979 among them.
Texas emits the most greenhouse gases
in the U.S. The state emits nearly 1.5 trillion pounds (680 billion
kg) of carbon dioxide annually. As an independent nation, Texas
would rank as the world's seventh-largest producer of greenhouse
gases. Causes of the state's vast greenhouse gas emissions include
the state's large number of coal
and the state's refining and manufacturing
Texas Population Density Map
As of 2008, the state has an estimated population of 24,236,974, an
increase of 2.0% from the prior year and 16.1% since the year 2000.
The state's rate of natural
(births - deaths) since the last census was 1,389,275
from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of
801,576 people, and migration within the country produced a net
increase of 451,910 people. As of 2004, the state had 3.5 million
foreign-born residents (15.6 percent of the state population), of
which an estimated 1.2 million are illegal immigrants
Texas from 2000–2006 had the fastest growing illegal immigration
rate in the nation.
Texas's population density is 34.8 persons/km2
slightly higher than the average population density
of the US as a whole, at 31 persons/km2
. In contrast,
while Texas and France are similarly sized geographically, the
European country has a population density of 110
Two-thirds of all Texans live in a major metropolitan area such as
Houston. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area is the largest in
Texas. While Houston is legally the largest city in Texas and the
fourth largest city in the United States, the Dallas-Fort Worth
conglomerate is much bigger than Houston and all surrounding
Racial group and ethnic origins
As of the 2006 US Census estimates, the racial distributions in
Texas are as follows:
Grouped by ethnicity, the population was:
German descendants inhabit much of central and southeast-central
Texas. Over one-third of Texas residents are of Hispanic origin;
while many have recently arrived, some Tejanos
have ancestors with multigenerational ties
to 18th century Texas. In addition to the descendants of the
state's former slave population, many African American college
graduates have come to the state for work recently in the New Great Migration
. Recently, the Asian
population in Texas has grown—primarily in Houston and Dallas.
communities with a significantly growing Asian American population
is in Austin, Corpus Christi, and the Sharyland area next McAllen,
Currently, three federally recognized
Native American tribes reside in Texas: the Alabama-Coushatta
Tribe, the Kickapoo
Traditional Tribe, and the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo
Lakewood Church interior
Texas has the highest percentage of people with a religious
affiliation in the United States. The largest denominations by
number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church
the Southern Baptist
with 3,519,459; and the United Methodist Church
Known as the "buckle" of the Bible Belt
East Texas is socially conservative. Dallas-Fort Worth
, home to three
major evangelical seminaries and a host of monasteries as well as
the landmark University of Dallas, a Catholic school of Theology
and seminary. Lakewood Church in Houston, although not considered a "church" in
the traditional sense of the word, boasts the largest attendance in
the nation averaging more than 43,000 weekly. Lubbock, according to local lore, has the most churches per
capita in the nation.
Adherents of many non-Christian religions reside predominantly in
the urban centers of Texas. Approximately 400,000 Muslims
live in Texas while the Jewish
population stands at approximately 128,000.
Approximately 146,000 adherents of non Abrahamic religions
such as Hinduism
Cities and towns
The state has the most cities with populations exceeding 1,000,000:
Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. These three rank among the 10
most populous cities of the United States. As of 2000, six Texas
cities had populations greater than 500,000. Austin,
Fort Worth, and El Paso are among the 25 largest U.S.
. Texas has four metropolitan areas
populations greater than 1,000,000: Dallas-Fort Worth
and Austin-Round Rock
The Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston metropolitan areas number about
6.3 million and 5.7 million residents, respectively. Three interstate highways I-35 to the west (Dallas-Fort Worth to
San Antonio, with Austin in between), I-45 to the east (Dallas to Houston),
and I-10 to the south (San
Antonio to Houston) define the Texas Urban Triangle region.
The 60,000 square mile region
contains most of the state's largest cities and metropolitan areas
as well as 17 million people, nearly 75 percent of Texas's total
population. Dallas and Houston have been recognized as beta
In contrast to the cities, unincorporated rural settlements known
and are marked
. As of 2007, Texas had at least
2,294 colonias, located primarily along the state's border with
Mexico. Texas has the largest concentration of people,
approximately 400,000, living in colonias.
Government and politics
The current Texas Constitution
was adopted in 1876. Like many states
, it explicitly
provides for a separation of powers. The state's Bill of Rights is
much larger than its federal counterpart
, and has
provisions unique to Texas.
Texas has a plural executive branch
system limiting the power of the Governor. Except for the Secretary of State
, voters elect
executive officers independently making candidates directly
answerable to the public, not the Governor. This election system
has led to some executive branches split between parties. When
President George W. Bush
served as Texas's governor, the state
had a Democratic
Lieutenant Governor, Bob Bullock
executive branch positions consist of the Governor
, Lieutenant Governor
Comptroller of Public Accounts, Land Commissioner, Attorney
General, Agriculture Commissioner, the three-member Texas Railroad Commission
State Board of Education, and the Secretary of State.
The bicameral Texas Legislature
consists of the House of Representatives
with 150 members, and a Senate
, with 31
members. The Speaker of the
leads the House, and the Lieutenant Governor, the Senate.
The Legislature meets in regular session biennially, but the
Governor can call for special sessions as often as desired. The
state's fiscal year
spans from the
previous calendar year's September 1 to the current year's August
31. Thus, the FY 2008 dates from September 1, 2007 through August
The judicial system of Texas
is one of the most complex in the United States, with many layers
and overlapping jurisdictions. Texas has two courts of last resort: the
Supreme Court, for civil cases, and the Texas Court
of Criminal Appeals.
Except for some municipal benches, partisan
elections select judges at all levels of the judiciary; the
Governor fills vacancies by appointment. Texas leads the nation in
executions – 442 as of October 2009 (see Capital punishment in
The Texas Ranger Division
the Texas Department
of Public Safety
is a law enforcement
with statewide jurisdiction
Over the years, the Texas Rangers have investigated crimes ranging
from murder to political
. They have acted as riot
and as detectives, protected the Texas governor, tracked down
fugitives, and functioned as a paramilitary
force both for the republic and
the state. The Texas Rangers were unofficially created by Stephen F. Austin
in 1823 and formally constituted in
1835. The Rangers were part of several important events of Texas
history and some of the best-known criminal cases in the history of
the Old West
Johnson, Texan and 36th president of the United States
As in other "Solid South"
resented the Republican Party after the American Civil War, and the
Democratic Party dominated Texas
from the end of Reconstruction
the late 20th century. When President Lyndon Johnson
signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964
reportedly said "We have lost the South for a generation".
The Texas political atmosphere leans towards fiscal
and social conservatism
. Since 1980, most
Texas voters have supported Republican presidential candidates. In
2000 and 2004, Republican George W. Bush won Texas with 60.1% of
the vote, partly due to his "favorite son" status as a former
Governor of the state. John McCain
the state in 2008
, but with a
smaller margin of victory compared to Bush at 55% of the vote.
Austin consistently leans Democratic in both local and statewide
elections. Houston, San Antonio and Dallas remain
Counties along the Rio Grande generally
vote for conservative Democrats, while most rural and suburban
areas of Texas vote Republican.
The 2003 Texas
of congressional districts led by the Republican
, was called by the New York
"an extreme case of partisan gerrymandering
". A group of Democratic
legislators, the "Texas Eleven
the state in a quorum-busting
these efforts, the legislature passed a map heavily in favor of
Republicans. Protests of the redistricting reached the national
Supreme court in the case League of
United Latin American Citizens v. Perry
but the ruling went in the Republicans' favor.
As of the general
elections of 2008
, a large majority of the members of Texas's
Republican, along with both U.S.
. In the 111th United States Congress
of the 32 congressional
districts in Texas
, 20 are held by Republicans and 12 by
Democrats. Texas's Senators are Kay
and John Cornyn
Since 1994, Texans have not elected a Democrat to a statewide
office. The state's Democratic presence comes primarily from some
and urban voters,
particularly in El Paso, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and
Texas has 32 congressional districts, the most after California,
and 254 counties
most nationwide. Each county runs on Commissioners' Court
of four elected commissioners and a county judge. County government
runs similar to a "weak" mayor-council
system; the county judge has no veto authority, but votes along
with the other commissioners.
Although Texas permits cities and counties to enter "interlocal
agreements" to share services, the state does not allow consolidated city-county
, nor does it have metropolitan governments
are not granted home rule
powers are strictly defined by state law. The state does not have
— areas within a county are
either incorporated or unincorporated. Incorporated areas are part
of a municipality. The county provides limited services to
unincorporated areas. Municipalities are classified either "general
law" cities or "home rule". A municipality may elect home rule
status once it exceeds 5,000 population with voter approval.
Municipal elections are nonpartisan
are elections for school boards and community college
Texas had a gross state
(GSP) of $1.09 trillion, the second highest
U.S. Its GSP is comparable
to the GDP of
India or Canada which are ranked 12th and 11th worldwide.
economy is the third largest in the world of country
subdivisions behind California and Tokyo Prefecture.
Its Per Capita
in 2007 was $37,083, ranking 22nd in the
nation. Texas's large population, abundance of natural resources,
and diverse population and geography have led to a large and
diverse economy. Since oil was discovered, the state's economy has
reflected the state of the petroleum
industry. In recent times, urban centers of the state have
increased in size, containing two-thirds of the population in 2005.
The state's economic growth has led to excessive urban sprawl
and its associated symptoms.
Texas has a "low taxes, low services" reputation. According to the
, Texans' state and
local tax burdens rank among the lowest in the nation, 7th lowest
nationally; state and local taxes cost $3,580 per capita, or 8.7%
of resident incomes. Texas is one of six states that lack a
state income tax
. Instead, the
state collects revenue from a state sales
, which is charged at the rate of 6.25%. Texas is a "tax
donor state"; in 2005, for every dollar Texans paid to the federal
government in federal
, the state received approximately $0.94 in
In 2004, Site Selection Magazine
ranked Texas as the most
business friendly state in the nation in part because of the
state's three-billion-dollar Texas
. The state holds the most Fortune 500
company headquarters in the United
Agriculture and mining
Texas has the most farms and the highest acreage in the United
States. Texas leads the nation livestock production. Cattle is the
state's most valuable agricultural product, and the state leads
nationally in production of sheep and goat products. Texas leads
the nation in production of cotton. The state grows significant
amounts of cereal crops and produce. Texas has a large commercial
fishing industry. With mineral resources, Texas leads in creating
cement, crushed stone, lime, salt, sand and gravel.
since the discovery of oil at Spindletop, energy has been a dominant force politically and
economically within the state.
According to the Energy Information
, Texans consume the most energy in the nation
per capita and as a whole. Unlike the rest of the nation, most of
Texas is on its own alternating
current power grid
, the Texas Interconnection
. Despite the
, Texas still has a deregulated
The Railroad Commission of
, contrary to its name, regulates the state's oil and gas industry
, gas utilities, pipeline
safety, safety in the liquefied
industry, and surface coal
mining. Until the 1970s, the
commission controlled the price of petroleum because of its ability
to regulate Texas's oil reserves. The founders of the Organization of
Petroleum Exporting Countries
(OPEC) used the Texas agency as
one of their models for petroleum price control.
Texas has known petroleum deposits of about , which makes up
approximately one-fourth of the known U.S. reserves. The state's
can process of oil a day.
Refinery in the Houston area is the largest refinery in
Texas also leads in natural
production, producing one-fourth of the nation's supply.
are based in Texas such as: Conoco-Phillips
, and Marathon Oil
The state is a leader in renewable
sources; it produces the most wind power
in the nation. The Horse Hollow
Wind Energy Center in Taylor and Nolan County, Texas, is the world's largest wind farm as of November 2008 with a 735.5
megawatt (MW) capacity.
Information Administration states that the state's large
agriculture and forestry industries could give Texas an enormous
for use in biofuels. The
state also has the highest solar power
potential for development in the nation.
With large universities systems coupled with initiatives like the
Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Emerging Technology
, a wide array of different high
industries have developed in Texas. The Austin area is
nicknamed the "Silicon Hills" and the north Dallas area the
". Texas has the
headquarters of many high technology companies, such as Dell, Inc., Texas Instruments, Perot Systems,
AT&T and Electronic Data Systems
National Aeronautics and Space
Administration's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (NASA JSC) located in Southeast Houston, sits as
the crown jewel of Texas's aeronautics industry.
Worth hosts both Lockheed
division and Bell Helicopter
Lockheed builds the F-16 Fighting Falcon
, the largest
Western fighter program, and its successor, the F-35 Lightning II
in Fort Worth.
stimulates a strong commercial sector consisting of retail,
wholesale, banking and insurance, and construction industries.
Examples of Fortune 500 companies not based on Texas traditional
industries are: AT&T
, Men's Warehouse
, Landry's Restaurants
, Whole Foods Market
, and Tenet Healthcare
Dallas–Fort Worth area, home to the second
shopping mall in the United States, has the most shopping malls per capita of any American
North American Free
(NAFTA) contributes to Mexico, the state's
largest trading partner, importing a third of the state's exports.
NAFTA has encouraged the formation of controversial maquiladoras
on the Texas/Mexico border.
Texans have historically had difficulties traversing Texas due to
the state's large size and rough terrain. Texas has compensated by
building both America's largest highway
railway systems in terms of mileage, as well as the largest number
of airports. The regulatory
, the Texas Department of
(TxDOT) maintains the state's immense highway
system, regulates aviation
, and public transportation
in centrally in North America, the state is an important transportation hub
. From the Dallas/Fort
Worth area, trucks can reach 93% of the nation's population within
48 hours, and 37% within 24 hours. Texas has 33 foreign trade zones
(FTZ), the most in
the nation. In 2004, a combined total of $298 billion of goods
passed though Texas FTZs.
I-10 and I-45 interchange in
Texans have heavily traveled their freeways
since the 1948 opening of the Gulf
in Houston. As of 2005, of public highway crisscrossed
Texas (up from in 1984). To fund recent growth in the state
highways, Texas has 17 toll roads (see list
several additional tollways
west Texas, both I-10
have speed limits of
the highest in the nation. Every mile of federal and state highway
in Texas is paved.
Texas has the most airports of any state in the nation.
of these is Dallas-Fort Worth International
Airport (DFW), the second largest in the United States, and
fourth in the world.
In traffic, DFW is the busiest in the
state, fourth in the United States, and sixth worldwide. AMR Corporation
/ American Eagle
, the world's largest
airline in total passengers-miles transported and passenger fleet
size, uses DFW as its largest and main hub
. Southwest Airlines, also headquartered in Dallas, began its operations
at Dallas Love
It ranks as the largest airline in the
United States by number of passengers carried domestically per year
and the largest
airline in the world
by number of passengers carried.
second-largest air facility is Houston's George Bush
Intercontinental Airport (IAH).
It serves as Houston based Continental Airlines
's largest hub. IAH
offers service to the most Mexican destinations of any U.S.
Over 1,000 seaports
dot Texas's coast with
over of channels
. Ports employ
nearly one-million people and handle an average of 317 million
. Texas ports connect with
the rest of the U.S. Atlantic seaboard with the Gulf
section of the Intracoastal Waterway
. The Port of Houston
today is the busiest port in
the United States in foreign tonnage, second in overall tonnage,
worldwide in tonnage. The Houston Ship Channel currently spans wide by deep by long.
Part of the state's tradition
originates from cattle drives
herded livestock to
in Kansas. The first
railroad to operate in Texas was the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos
and Colorado Railway
, opening in August 1853..The first
railroad to enter Texas from the north, completed in 1872, was the
. Since 1911, Texas has led the nation in railroad
length. Texas railway mileage peaked in 1932 at , but declined to
by 2000. While the Railroad
Commission of Texas
originally regulated state railroads, in
2005 the state reassigned these duties to TxDOT.
Both Dallas and Houston feature light
systems. Dallas Area
(DART) built the first light rail system in the
Southwest United States
Trinity Railway Express
(TRE) commuter rail
service that links
Fort Worth and Dallas is provided by the Fort Worth Transportation
(the T) and DART. The Metropolitan
Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas
light rail lines in the Houston area.
provides Texas limited intercity
passenger rail service both in size and frequency. Just three
scheduled routes serve the state: the daily Texas Eagle
; the tri-weekly Sunset Limited
, with stops in Texas;
and the daily Heartland
Historically, Texas culture comes from a blend of Southwestern
(Mexican), Southern (Dixie), and Western (frontier) influences. A
popular food item, the breakfast burrito
, draws from all
three influences, having a soft flour tortilla wrapped around bacon
and scrambled eggs or other hot, cooked fillings. Adding to Texas's
traditional culture, established in the 18th and 19th centuries,
immigration has made Texas a melting pot
of cultures from around the world.
is one of only five American cities with permanent professional
resident companies in all of the major performing arts disciplines:
the Houston Grand Opera, the
Orchestra, the Houston Ballet,
and The Alley
Known for the vibrancy of its visual
, the Houston Theatre
—a 17-block area in the heart of Downtown Houston
—ranks second in the
country in the number of theater seats in a concentrated downtown
area, with 12,948 seats for live performances and 1,480 movie
Founded in 1892, Modern
Art Museum of Fort Worth
, also called "The Modern", is Texas's
oldest art museum. Fort Worth also has the Kimbell Art
Museum, the Amon Carter Museum, the National
Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, the Will Rogers Memorial Center, and the Bass Performance Hall downtown. The Arts District of Downtown Dallas
has arts venues such as the Dallas Museum of Art, the Morton H. Meyerson
Symphony Center, the
Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, the Trammell & Margaret Crow
Collection of Asian Art, and the Nasher Sculpture Center.
The Deep Ellum
district within Dallas
became popular during the 1920s and 1930s as the prime jazz
hotspot in the
Southern United States. The name Deep Ellum comes from local people
pronouncing "Deep Elm" as "Deep Ellum". Artists such as Blind Lemon Jefferson
, Robert Johnson
, Huddie "Leadbelly
" Ledbetter, and Bessie Smith
played in early Deep Ellum
Austin, the The Live Music Capital of the World
boasts "more live music venues per capita than such music hotbeds
as Nashville, Memphis, Los Angeles, Las Vegas or New York City."
city's music revolves around the nightclubs on 6th
Street; events like the film, music, and multimedia festival South by Southwest; the longest-running
concert music program on American television, Austin City Limits; and the Austin City
Limits Music Festival held in Zilker Park.
Since 1980, San Antonio has evolved into the "The Tejano Music
Capital Of The World." The
Tejano Music Awards
provided a forum to create greater awareness and appreciation for
Tejano music and culture.
While American football
been considered "king" in the state, Texans today enjoy a wide
variety of sports.
Texans can cheer for a plethora of professional sports
teams. Within the
Four" professional leagues
, Texas has two NFL
teams (the Dallas Cowboys
and the Houston Texans
), two Major League Baseball
), three NBA
teams (the Houston Rockets
, the San Antonio Spurs
, and the Dallas Mavericks
), and one National Hockey
League team (the Dallas Stars
Dallas – Fort
is one of only thirteen American
that hosts sports teams from all the "Big Four"
professional leagues. Outside of the "Big Four" leagues, Texas also
has one WNBA
team (the San Antonio Silver
) and two Major League
teams (the Houston Dynamo
and FC Dallas
significance in Texas culture. The state has ten Division I-FBS
schools, the most in the
nation. The four largest programs in the state, the
Bears, Texas Longhorns,
Texas A&M Aggies, and
Texas Tech Red Raiders,
belong to the Big 12
Conference. According to a survey of Division I-A
coaches the rivalry between the
of Oklahoma and the University of Texas, the Red River Shootout, ranks the third best
in the nation.
A fierce rivalry, the Lone Star Showdown
, also exists between
the state's two largest universities, Texas A&M University and
the University of Texas.
(UIL) organizes most primary and
secondary school competitions. Events organized by UIL include
contests in athletics (the most popular being high school football
) as well as
artistic and academic subjects.
Texans also enjoy the rodeo
. The world's first
rodeo was hosted in Pecos,
The annual Houston Livestock Show and
is the largest rodeo in the world. It begins with trail
rides that originate from several points throughout the state that
convene at Reliant
Exposition and Livestock Show
in Fort Worth is the oldest
continuously running rodeo incorporating many of the state's most
historic traditions into its annual events. Dallas hosts the
State Fair of Texas each year at
The Commonwealth Fund
the Texas healthcare system
third worst in the nation. Texas ranks close to last in access to
healthcare, quality of care, avoidable hospital spending, and
equity among various groups. Causes of the state's poor rankings
include: politics, a high poverty rate, and the highest rate of
illegal immigration in the nation. In May 2006, Texas initiated the
program "code red" in response to the report that the state had
25.1% of the population without health insurance, the largest
proportion in the nation. Texas also has controversial non-economic damages caps
set at $250,000, in an attempt to "curb rising malpractice
premiums, and control escalating healthcare costs".
The Trust for America's
ranked Texas 15th highest in adult obesity
, with 27.2% of the state's population
measured as obese. The 2008 Men's
Health obesity survey ranked four Texas cities among the top 25
fattest cities in America; Houston ranked 6th, Dallas 7th, El Paso
8th, and Arlington 14th.
Texas had only one city, Austin,
ranked 21st, in the top 25 among the "fittest cities" in America.
The same survey has evaluated the state's obesity initiatives
favorably with a "B+".
Aerial of Texas Medical Center in
Many elite research medical centers are located in Texas. The state
, three dental schools, and one optometry
school. Texas has two Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) laboratories:
one at The University of Texas Medical
Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, and the other at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical
Research in San Antonio—the first privately owned BSL-4 lab
in the United States.
Medical Center in Houston, holds the world's largest concentration
of research and healthcare institutions, with 47 member
Texas Medical Center performs the most heart
transplants in the world. The University of Texas M. D. Anderson
Cancer Center in Houston is a highly regarded academic institution
that centers around cancer patient care, research, education and
San Antonio's South Texas
facilities rank sixth in clinical medicine
research impact in the United States. The University of Texas Health Science Center
highly ranked research and educational institution in San
Both the American Heart
and the University of
Texas Southwestern Medical Center
call Dallas home. The
Southwestern Medical Center ranks "among the top academic medical
centers in the world". The institution's medical school employs the most medical school Nobel laureates in the world.
The second president of the
Republic of Texas
, Mirabeau B.
, is the Father of Texas
. During his term, the state set aside three leagues
of land in each county for equipping
public schools. An additional 50 leagues of land set aside for the
support of two universities would later become the basis of the
state's Permanent University
. Lamar's actions set the foundation for a Texas-wide
public school system. Texas ranked 26 in the American Legislative
's Report Card on American Education. Texas
students ranked higher than average in mathematics, but lower in
reading. Between 2005–2006, Texas spent $7,584 per pupil ranking it
below the national average of $9,295. The pupil/teacher ratio was
15.0, slightly below average. Texas paid instructors $38,130, below
the national average. The state provided 89.22% of the funding for
education, the federal government 10.8%.
The Texas Education Agency
(TEA) administers the state's public school systems. Texas has
except the Stafford
Municipal School District
are independent from municipal government
and many cross
city boundaries. School districts have the power to tax
their residents and to assert eminent domain
over privately owned property.
Due to court-mandated equitable school financing for school
districts, the state has a controversial tax redistribution system
called the"Robin Hood plan
plan transfers property tax revenue from wealthy school districts
to poor ones. The TEA has no authority over private
Students in Texas take the Texas Assessment of
Knowledge and Skills
(TAKS) in primary
and secondary school
. TAKS assess students'
attainment of reading
, and social studies
skills required under Texas
education standards and the No
Child Left Behind Act
. In spring 2007, Texas legislators
replaced the TAKS for freshmen in the 2011–2012 school year and
onward with End of Course exams for core high school classes.
Colleges and universities
Texas's controversial alternative affirmative action
plan, Texas House Bill 588
, guarantees Texas
students who graduated in the percent of their high school class
automatic admission to state-funded universities. The bill
problems stemming from the Hopwood
Texas has six state university
and four independent public universities. Discovery of minerals
on Permanent University
Fund land, particularly oil, has helped fund the rapid growth
the state's largest university systems: University of Texas and Texas A&M. The PUF principal in fall 2005 was
approximately $15 billion, second in size only to Harvard
The other four university
systems are the , University of
, , and .
University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University are flagship
universities of the state of Texas.
established by the Texas
and hold stakes in the Permanent University Fund.
The state is trying to expand the number of flagship universities
by elevating some of its seven emerging research universities.
of Houston, Texas Tech University, and The University of Texas at
Dallas are generally considered in the upper echelon from
which the next tier one research flagship university will
Texas has many private institutions ranging from liberal arts
colleges to a nationally recognized tier one research university.
in Houston is one of the leading teaching and research universities
of the United States and ranked the nation's 17th-best overall
university by U.S. News & World Report
Texas did not form public universities until its statehood, the
former republic chartered two private universities: and .
private institutions include Texas Christian University, , and Trinity University.
Universities in Texas currently host two
Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University and the Lyndon
Baines Johnson Library and Museum at The University of Texas at Austin.
agreement has been reached to create a third; the George W. Bush Presidential
at Southern Methodist University.
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