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History of Texas
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The history of Texas (as part of the United States) began in 1845, but settlement of the region dates back to the end of the Upper Paleolithic Period, around 10,000 BC. Its history has been shaped by being part of six independent countries: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederacy, and the United States. Starting in the 1820s, American and European immigrants began arriving in the area; joined by Hispanic Tejanos they revolted against Mexico in 1836 and defeated an invasion army. After a decade as an independent country, Texas joined the Union (the United States) in 1845. The western frontier state was characterized by large-scale cattle ranching and cotton farming. In the 20th century, it grew rapidly, becoming the second largest state in population 1994, and became economically highly diversified, with a growing base in high technology. The state has been shaped by the interactions of Southern, Tejano, Native American, African American, and German Texan cultures.[1]

Indigenous peoples[]

Texas lies within the regions of three North American civilizations which had reached their developmental peak prior to the arrival of European explorers. [2] Namely, the Pueblo from the upper Rio Grande region, the Mound Builder of the Mississippi Valley region, and the civilizations of the pre-Columbian cultures of Mexico and Central America. [2] No one culture was dominant in the present-day Texas region and many different peoples inhabited the area. [2] Native American tribes that lived inside the boundaries of present-day Texas include the Alabama, Apache, Atakapan, Bidai, Caddo, Coahuiltecan, Comanche, Cherokee, Choctaw, Coushatta, Hasinai, Jumano, Karankawa, Kickapoo, Kiowa, Tonkawa, and Wichita. [3] The name Texas derives from táyshaʔ, a word in the Caddoan language of the Hasinai, which means "friends" or "allies". [4] [5] [6]

Native Americans determined the fate of European explorers and settlers depending on whether a tribe was friendly or warlike. [7] Friendly tribes taught newcomers how to grow indigenous crops, prepare foods, and hunting methods for wild game. Warlike tribes made life unpleasant, difficult and dangerous for explorers and settlers through their attacks and resistance to European conquest. [8]

A remnant of the Choctaw tribe in East Texas still lives in the Mt. Tabor Community near Amberly, Texas. Currently, there are three federally-recognized Native American tribes which reside in Texas: the Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas, the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, and the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo of Texas.

Early European exploration[]

The first European to see Texas was Alonso Álvarez de Pineda, who led an expedition on behalf of the governor of Jamaica, Francisco de Garay, in 1519.[9] While searching for a passage between the Gulf of Mexico and Asia,[9] Álvarez de Pineda created the first map of the northern Gulf Coast.[10] This map is the earliest recorded document of Texas history.[10]

Between 1528 and 1535, four survivors of the Narváez expedition, including Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and Estevanico, spent six and a half years in Texas as slaves and traders among various native groups.

French Texas[]

The French flag of the Bourbons

In April 1682, French nobleman René-Robert Cavelier arrived at the Gulf of Mexico after traversing the Mississippi River from New France and claimed the entire Mississippi River Valley for France.[11] La Salle believed the Mississippi River was very near the edge of New Spain,[12] and knew that French control of the Mississippi would split Spanish Florida from New Spain.[13] In 1683, he convinced Louis XIV to establish a colony near the Mississippi.[14][15]

The expedition left on July 24, 1684, but one of the four ships was captured by Spanish privateers off the coast of Santo Domingo. Several people deserted the expedition on that island.[16] A combination of inaccurate maps, La Salle's previous miscalculation of the latitude of the mouth of the Mississippi River, and overcorrecting for the Gulf currents led the ships to be unable to find the Mississippi.[17] Instead, they landed at Matagorda Bay in early 1685, 400 miles (644 km) west of the Mississippi.[17] In February, the colonists constructed Fort Saint Louis.[15]

René-Robert Cavelier founded the French colony in Texas.

After the fort was constructed, one of the ships returned to France, and the other two were soon destroyed in storms. La Salle and his men searched overland for the Mississippi River, some traveling as far west as the Rio Grande[15] and as far east as the Trinity River.[18] By early January 1687, fewer than 45 people remained in the colony. That month, a third expedition left to explore East Texas. During a quarrel on March 19, 1687, La Salle was killed by other members of the expedition.[19]

The Spanish learned of the French colony in late 1685 from a Frenchman who had deserted in Santo Domingo. Feeling that the French colony was a threat to Spanish mines and shipping routes, Carlos II's Council of war thought that "Spain needed swift action 'to remove this thorn which has been thrust into the heart of America. The greater the delay the greater the difficulty of attainment.'"[15] Having no idea where to find La Salle, the Spanish launched ten expeditions—both land and sea—over the next three years. The last expedition discovered a French deserter living in Southern Texas with the Coahuiltecans.[20]

Using this guide, the Spanish reached the French fort in late April 1689.[21] The fort and the five crude houses surrounding it were in ruins.[22] Several months before, the Karankawa had become angry that the French had taken their canoes without payment and had attacked the settlement[21] and spared only four children.[19]

Despite the failure of their colony in Texas, the French continued to claim Texas, even after the Spanish arrived and colonized it. The French period of Texan history is memorialized in the Texas state seal and as the first (or second) of the traditional "six flags over Texas." In 1762, the French abandoned their claims to Texas and ceded Louisiana to Spain for forty years (until 1800). On 1 October, 1800 much of north Texas is retroceded to France but later sold to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.

Spanish Texas[]

The Spanish flag of Burgundy.

Establishment of Spanish colony[]

The failure of the French colony became known throughout the world. A year thereafter, the Spanish entered Texas, eager to keep the French in Louisiana, far from the wealth of New Spain. Texas became an important but sparsely populated buffer between the claims of the world powers France and Spain. Spanish Texas lasted between 1690 and 1821 when Texas was governed as a Spanish colony separate from New Spain, known as the "Kingdom of Texas". This period begins with the expedition of the governor of Coahuila to destroy the ruins of the French colony of Fort Saint Louis and establish a Spanish presence in the area, and ends with the independence of Mexico in 1821, facilitating Mexican Texas. During this period, Texas was a part of four provinces in the Viceroyalty of New Spain (Colonial Mexico): the El Paso area was under the jurisdiction of New Mexico, the missions founded near La Junta de los Ríosqv were under Nueva Vizcaya,qv the coastal region from the Nueces River to the Rio Grande and thence upstream to Laredo was under Nuevo Santanderqv after 1749, and Texas was initially under joint jurisdiction with the province of Coahuila. Slightly more than three centuries elapsed between the time the Texas shoreline was first viewed by a Spaniard in 1519 and July 21, 1821, when the flag of Castile and León was lowered for the last time at San Antonio. Those 300 years may be divided into three stages: the era of early exploration, in which there was a preliminary evaluation of the land and its resources; the period of cultural absorption, in which the Texas Indians began to acquire Hispanic cultural elements, at first indirectly from Indian intermediaries and then directly from the Spanish themselves; and the time of defensive occupation, in which the Spanish presence in Texas was more dictated by international considerations than caused by the momentum of an expanding empire.

For most of the period of Spanish Texas, the area assumed a geopolitical importance vastly disproportionate to its economic or demographic place in the Spanish Empire. During the initial period of Spanish expansion into Texas, the Empire moved to establish a string of missions (often with an accompanying presidio) to establish a toehold in the frontier land. Because the environs of Texas were relatively unknown or unsubstantiated above reports made during the early Conquistadore period, Spainish expansion was as much about delineating the extent of their power as much as actually settling the area. A system of mission-presidios were established at present day San Antonio, La Bahia, Los Adaes, El Paso, Loredao, Nagodoches, and San Louis de las Amarillas. This initial expansion in the early 18th century met with immediate setback, when during the War of the Quadruple Alliance in Europe, hostilities spread to the New World and French troops from Natchitoches briefly captured the capital of Texas, Los Adaes, in what is now Northwest Louisiana. Following this setback, the Presidios was San Luis de las Amarillas although strengthened and maintained over various years had to be abandoned in 1770 oweing to Indian depredations and economic viability. Thus, Spanish efforts toward expansion in Texas during the years 1731-62 were a failure, except at La Bahía, San Antonio de Bexar, and along the lower Rio Grande. Missions and presidios, although proven frontier institutions, had clearly failed north of San Antonio.

Consolidation of power[]

Spanish Texas had solidified upon three primary centers. The oldest and largest of colonial Texas communities was San Antonio de Béxar. In its eighty-year history the settlement had evolved from a presidio-mission complex to the first chartered municipality and finally to the provincial capital. Its population of approximately 2,000 was composed chiefly of Mexican settlers from Coahuila, Nuevo León, and other frontier provinces mixed with a small number of Canary Islanders. After the United States acquired Louisiana, reinforcement of the Spanish military presence in Texas resulted in the transfer of the Second Flying Company of San Carlos de Parrasqv (the Álamo de Parras company) to San Antonio, where it was headquartered in 1803 at San Antonio de Valero Mission, which had been closed. Other units from Nuevo Santander and Nuevo León swelled the population to over 3,000 by 1810.

The secondary center of Spanish colonial power La Bahíaq (present-day Goliad), was the second oldest settlement in the province. It was originally established in 1721 at the site of La Salle'sqv Fort St. Louis, then moved in 1749 to the San Antonio River, where the presidio and two missions had the task of guarding the Texas Gulf Coast against foreign encroachment. In 1803 the settlement's population of approximately 618 soldiers and civilians continued to live under military jurisdiction.

The third center of Spanish power and the one with the most limited amount of Spanish royal control was far to the northeast, near the Louisiana border. North-Eastern Texas had traditionally been a community of English, French, and Spanish settlers who had established the Presidio de Las Adaes as the first capital of Texas. However, North-East Texas was even further removed from Mexico City than San Antonio de Bexar. Consequently, the area was downgraded in colonial status and by Imperial edict the settlement was ordered abandoned. The viceroy eventually did permit the resettlement of East Texas, but would not consent to dwellings within 100 leagues of Natchitoches, Louisiana. Still, the refugees in San Antonio viewed any concession as encouraging. In August 1774 they founded the settlement of Bucareliqv on the Trinity River at a site in what is now Madison County. The town had attracted 347 inhabitants by 1777, but it was plagued by floods and Comanche raids. Without authorization, the population moved again in 1779 to Nacogdoches. The new town began to be garrisoned in 1795 by a detachment from Bexar as a means of further solidifying the interests of San Antonio over the province. By the beginning of the 19th century, the settlement was attracting increasing numbers of immigrants, legal and otherwise, from the Anglo-American frontier.

Foreign encroachment[]

Towards the end of the 18th century Texas remained a sparsely settled territory, heavily dependent on the military and continually exposed to the depredations of Indians that resisted Spanish sovereignty in the region. Crown efforts during much of the 18th century to bolster the small population and thus improve the province's viability proved in general unsuccessful. The population remained a mixture of hispanized Indians centered on the missions, Spanish and Mexican soldiers with their families, Spanish colonial officials and their families, and various communities of French, British, Italian, German, and American settlers who had been assimilated into the Spanish system. Then in the early years of the 19th century Spain once again faced concerted efforts by rivals, now including the United States, to wrest from it important parts of its North American empire. Relations with the United States had come dangerously close to war over navigation rights on the Mississippi River and the expansion of Anglo-American frontier settlements into the Spanish Floridas. Napoleon's coerced acquisition of Louisiana in 1800 and his subsequent sale of the vast territory to the United States in 1803 left Spanish North America divided and vulnerable.

The most complete census data for Spanish Texas in the early nineteenth century are for 1804, the first year after the sale of Louisiana to the United States. It is quite possible that this systematic count resulted from the need to assess the strength and numbers of the Spanish and Hispanicized population in the face of aggressive Americans to the east. The following population figures were compiled between January and December 1804: Nacogdoches, 789; Presidial Company of San Antonio de Béxar (see SECOND FLYING COMPANY OF SAN CARLOS DE PARRAS), 413; Mission San Juan Capistrano, 74; Mission San Antonio de Valero, 121; Presidio (Settlement) of La Bahía, 399; Presidial Company of La Bahía, 301; Missions La Bahía, Rosario, and Refugio, 224; Mission San Francisco de la Espada, 107; Villa San Fernando de Béxar and Presidio (Settlement) of Béxar, 1,177. Total: 3,605. Although the Spanish-speaking population included merchants and a few artisans such as tailors and blacksmiths, the vast majority of Texans were stock raisers and small farmers. The figures do not include unsettled Indians or black slaves; as Randolph B. Campbell has demonstrated, there were virtually no black bondsmen in Spanish Texas on the eve of Mexican independence.

The early 19th century position of Spanish Texas did not look promising. Foreign encroachments, Indian warfare, and insurrectionary activity all contributed to demographic and economic collapse. In the end, desperate Spanish authorities authorized Anglo-American colonization in an effort to bolster the province and so produced a new set of problems for the Mexican authorities who soon replaced them. In the years following the Louisiana Purchase and the acquisition of New Orleans by the U.S., American settlers had begun to move westward into Mexican claimed territory. Some settlers were active filibusters, who sought the long-term annexation of the area by the U.S. In 1812-1813, the Gutiérrez-Magee Expedition attempted to separate Texas from the Spanish Empire. In response the Spanish government in Mexico ordered a virtuall genocide of the entire Tejano-American population and any of their collaborators amongst the Tejano-Spanish population. The result was the utter devastation of Texas which left it with a population size it had at the beginning of the 18th century. Spanish Texas was a failing colonial policy.


The uninterrupted Spanish occupation of Texas (1716-1821) lasted for just 105 years. However, the legacies of Spanish Texas are lasting and significant. On reflection they seem all out of proportion to the relatively small number of Spaniards and Hispanicized Indians who became the Mexican nation in 1821. Perhaps most obvious, yet superficial in importance, is the use of Spanish names for hundreds of towns, cities, counties, and geographic features in Texas. San Antonio, the first formal municipality in Texas, is one of the ten largest cities in the United States. Forty-two of the 254 counties in Texas bear either Hispanic names, or an Anglicized derivation such as Galveston, or a misspelling such as Uvalde. The names of physiographical features such as Llano Estacado, Guadalupe Mountains, and Padre Island serve as reminders of Spanish explorers and conquistadors who crossed portions of Texas well before the English settled the Atlantic Coast of North America. Spaniards introduced numerous European crops, irrigationqv at San Antonio and other mission sites, livestock, and livestock-handling techniques. Farming, initially practiced by some Indian groups in Texas, was likewise expanded and improved by Spanish missionaries and settlers. The restored missions at San Antonio and Goliad stand as enduring monuments to the Franciscans who brought the mantle of Christianity to Texas Indians. With the exception of those in California, the finest examples of Spanish mission architecture in the United States are found in Texas.

Important dates[]

Mexican Texas[]

Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas."

Mexican Texas is the name given by Texas historians to the brief period between 1821—1836, when Texas was part of Mexico, as a part of the State of Coahuila y Tejas. The period begins with Mexico's victory over Spain in its war of independence in 1821 and ends with Texas's Declaration of Independence from Mexico in 1836, forming the Republic of Texas.

The Rio Grande and South Texas areas have had a long and turbulent history of independence movements by the local Mexican population, on account of unitary and perceived dictatorial and unconstitutional practices by the central Mexican government. North Texas and East Texas, meanwhile, remained largely in the hands of Native American tribes, some of whom were hostile to Spanish and then Mexican rule.

In the 1820s, the population in Texas was very sparse and the Mexican government had difficulty in attracting Mexicans to the area. In order to populate and develop the area, Mexico sought settlers from Europe and especially the neighboring United States. Mexico reached an agreement with Stephen F. Austin to permit several hundred families from the United States, known as Texians, to move into the region. Thousands of additional settlers soon flooded into Texas. Mexico expected its citizens to be members in good standing of the Catholic Church, whereas the settlers from the United States were Protestant. When Mexico abolished slavery nationwide, some immigrants from the U.S. refused to comply with the law. American-Texans complained about the tightening political and economic control over the territory by the central government in Mexico City.

In 1835, Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna abolished the Constitution of 1824 and sought to centralize national power in Mexico City. This caused much political unrest throughout Mexico, an example of which was the rebellion and resulting massacre in Zacatecas. The new government's efforts to tighten political and economic control over the territory of Texas roused emotions in the Texian settlers and local Tejanos, leading to the Texas Revolution.

Important dates[]

Republic of Texas[]

The Republic of Texas. The present-day outlines of the U.S. states are superimposed on the boundaries of 1836–1845.

The first declaration of independence for modern Texas, by both Anglo-Texan settlers and local Tejanos, was signed in Goliad on December 20, 1835. The Texas Declaration of Independence was enacted at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 2, 1836, effectively creating the Republic of Texas.

Four days later, the two-week long Battle of the Alamo ended as Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna's forces defeated the nearly 200 Texans defending the small mission (which would eventually become the center of the city of San Antonio). "Remember the Alamo!" became the battle cry of the Texas Revolution. The Battle of San Jacinto was fought on April 21, 1836 near the present-day city of Houston. General Santa Anna's entire force of 1,600 men was killed or captured by Texas General Sam Houston's army of 800 Texans; only nine Texans died. This decisive battle resulted in Texas's independence from Mexico. Sam Houston, a native of Virginia, was President of the Republic of Texas for two separate terms, 1836–1838 and 1841–1844. He also was Governor of the state of Texas from 1859 to 1861.

The first Congress of the Republic of Texas convened in October 1836 at Columbia (now West Columbia). 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. In 1836, five sites served as temporary capitals of Texas (Washington-on-the-Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston, Velasco and Columbia) before Sam Houston moved the capital to Houston in 1837. In 1839, the capital was moved to the new town of Austin.

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 Ocean. Their opponents, led by Sam Houston, advocated the annexation of Texas to the United States and peaceful co-existence with Native Americans. 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. The Republic received diplomatic recognition from the United States, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the Republic of Yucatán.

In London, England, the original Embassy of the Republic of Texas still stands. Immediately opposite the gates to St James Palace, Sam Houston's original Embassy of the Republic of Texas to His Majesty's Court is now a hat shop, but is clearly marked with a large plaque.

Important dates[]

  • 1835: The Texas Revolution began. Early in 1835 Stephen F. Austin announced that only war with Mexico could secure Texan freedom.
  • 2 October 1835: Texans fought a Mexican cavalry detachment at the town of Gonzales, which began the actual revolution.
  • 28 October 1835: At the "Battle of Concepcion", 90 Texans defeated 450 Mexicans.
  • 2 March 1836: The "Convention of 1836" signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, making an attempt at a clear break from Mexican rule.
  • 6 March 1836: A Mexican army (numbering 4,000 to 5,000) besieged approximately 230 Texans, led by William B. Travis, at the Alamo in San Antonio. The thirteen-day siege resulted in the deaths of all of the white malendefenders, including Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and Travis. The women, children, and slaves, who were not considered to have participated in the battle of their own free wills, were released.
  • 27 March 1836: By the order of General Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexicans executed James Fannin and nearly 400 Texans in the Massacre at Goliad. The battleplace-names Goliad, Alamo, San Jacinto, etc. line the rim of the Rotunda of the Capitol in Austin.
  • 21 April 1836: Having seemingly defeated the Texas rebellion, General Santa Anna divided his forces to conduct mopping up operations. Those forces directly under Santa Anna's command advanced to San Jacinto in pursuit of the fleeing rebels. Led by Sam Houston, the Texans won their independence in one of the most decisive battles in history when they defeated the Mexican forces of Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. Houston's army of 800 killed or captured the entire Mexican force of 1,600 men, themselves suffering only nine fatal casualties. Santa Anna himself passed into captivity.
  • 14 May 1836: Republic of Texas officials and General Santa Anna signed the treaty of Velasco.
  • 1836: Five cities (Washington-on-the-Brazos, Galveston, Harrisburg, Velasco, and Columbia) each served as temporary capitals of Texas before Sam Houston moved the capital to Houston in 1837.
  • 1839: Austin is chosen to become the capital of the Republic of Texas.
  • 5 March 1842: A Mexican force of over 500 men, led by Rafael Vasquez, invaded Texas for the first time since the revolution. They soon headed back to the Rio Grande after briefly occupying San Antonio.
  • 11 September 1842: 1,400 Mexican troops, led by Adrian Woll, captured San Antonio again. They retreated, as before, but with prisoners this time.


The U.S. and Texas flags at the Texas State Capitol.

On February 28, 1845, the U.S. Congress passed a bill that would authorize the United States to annex the Republic of Texas and 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. On October 13 of the same year, a majority of voters in the Republic approved a proposed constitution that specifically endorsed slavery and the slave trade. This constitution was later accepted by the U.S. Congress, making Texas a U.S. state on the same day annexation took effect (therefore bypassing a territorial phase). One of the primary motivations for annexation was that the Texas government had incurred huge debts which the United States agreed to assume upon annexation. In the Compromise of 1850, in return for this assumption of $10 million of debt, a large portion of Texas-claimed territory, now parts of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Wyoming, was ceded to the Federal government.

The annexation resolution has been the topic of some incorrect historical beliefs—chiefly, that the resolution was a treaty between sovereign states, and granted Texas the explicit right to secede from the Union. This was a right argued by some to be implicitly held by all states at the time, and until the conclusion of the Civil War. However, no such right was explicitly enumerated in the resolution. That having been said, the resolution did include two unique provisions: first, it gave the new state of Texas the right to divide itself into as many as five states (a proposal never seriously considered). Second, Texas did not have to surrender its public lands to the federal government. Thus the only lands owned by the federal government within Texas have actually been purchased by the government, and the vast oil discoveries on state lands have provided a major revenue flow for the state universities.

Important dates[]

  • February 28. 1845 Congress passes and President Tyler signs joint resolution to annex Texas, if Texas agrees.
  • October 13. 1845 Texas voters vote for annexation.
  • December 29, 1845 Texas admitted to the Union as a state.

Civil War and Reconstruction: 1860–1876[]

See the main article Texas in the Civil War and Category:Texas in the American Civil War.

Texas seceded from the United States on February 1, 1861, and joined the Confederate States of America on March 2, 1861. Texas was mainly a "supply state" for the Confederate forces until mid 1863, when the Union capture of the Mississippi River made large movements of men, horses or cattle impossible. Texas regiments fought in every major battle throughout the war.

The last battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Palmito Ranch, was fought in Texas on May 12 1865.

Clampitt (2005) suggests that Confederate soldiers of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi in Texas after the Confederacy's collapse in April 1865 were undisciplined. Due to low morale, a lack of discipline, and a large number of desertions, disbanded regiments and deserters pillaged government and private property as they made their way homeward. Moreover, a lack of participation in the larger campaigns of the war, a feeling that their sacrifice had been a waste, and the fact that they had not been paid in more than 16 months all made the former soldiers feel entitled to take government property (however, most Texas soldiers, being from a "supply state," conducted themselves well in armies such as Lee's Army of Northern Virginia).


When the news arrived in Galveston, on June 19, 1865, of the Confederate collapse, the freed slaves rejoiced, creating the celebration of Juneteenth. The State had suffered little during the War but trade and finance was disrupted. Angry returning veterans seized state property and Texas went through a period of extensive violence and disorder. Most outrages took place in northern Texas and were committed by outlaws who had their headquarters in the Indian Territory and plundered and murdered without distinction of party. President Andrew Johnson appointed Union General A. J. Hamilton as provisional governor on June 17, 1865. Hamilton had been a prominent politician before the war. He granted amnesty to ex-Confederates if they promised to support the Union in the future, appointing some to office. On March 30, 1870, although Texas did not meet all the requirements, the United States Congress readmitted Texas into the Union.

Important dates[]

  • 23 February 1861: In the statewide election on the secession ordinance, Texans voted to secede from the Union by a vote of 46,129 to 14,697 (a 76% majority). The Secession Convention immediately organized a government, replacing Sam Houston when he refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy.
  • 1 August 1862: Confederate troops kill 34 pro-Union German Texans in the "Nueces Massacre" of civilians
  • 19 June 1865: Union troops landed in Galveston, Texas putting into effect the Emancipation Proclamation, which abolished slavery
  • 30 March 1870: The US Congress readmitted Texas.

Border dispute with New Mexico[]

The creation of the New Mexico Territory in 1850 fixed the boundary with the state of Texas at the Rio Grande. Between then and 1912, when New Mexico became a state, the course of the river shifted. A boundary dispute case was filed with the Supreme Court of the United States in 1913. The court settled the matter in 1927 by determining where the river had flowed in 1850, largely in agreement with the claims of Texas.

Texas in prosperity, depression, and war: 1914–1945[]

Anthony F. Lucas, an experienced mining engineer drilled the first major oil well at Spindletop, on the morning of January 10, 1901 the little hill south of Beaumont. The East Texas Oil Field, discovered on October 5, 1930 is located in east central part of the state, and is the largest and most prolific oil reservoir in the contiguous United States. Other oil fields were later discovered in West Texas and under the Gulf of Mexico. The resulting "Oil Boom" permanently transformed the economy of Texas, and led to the first significant economic expansion after the Civil War.

The economy, which had experienced significant recovery since the Civil War, was dealt a double blow by the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. After the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the economy suffered significant reversals and thousands of city workers became unemployed, many of who depended on federal relief programs such as FERA, WPA and CCC. Farmers and ranchers were especially hard hit, as prices for cotton and livestock fell sharply. Beginning in 1934 and lasting until 1939, an ecological disaster of severe wind and drought caused an exodus from Texas and Arkansas, the Oklahoma Panhandle region and the surrounding plains, in which over 500,000 Americans were homeless, hungry and jobless. [1] Thousands left the region forever to seek economic opportunities along the West Coast. Immediately preceding and during World War II, existing military bases in Texas were expanded and numerous new training bases were built, especially for aviation training. Hundreds of thousands of American (and some allied) soldiers, sailors and airmen trained in the state. All sectors of the economy boomed as the homefront prospered.

Important dates[]

Texas modernizes: 1945–Present[]

From 1950 through the 1960s, Texas modernized and dramatically expanded its system of higher education. Under the leadership of Governor John B. Connally, the state produced a long-range plan for higher education, a more rational distribution of resources, and a central state apparatus that managed state institutions with greater efficiency. Because of these changes, Texas universities received federal funds for research and development during the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson administrations. [Blanton 2005]


  1. ^ D. W. Meinig, Imperial Texas: An Interpretive Essay in Cultural Geography (1969)
  2. ^ a b c Richardson, Rupert N.; Adrian Anderson, Cary D. Wintz & Ernest Wallace (2005). Texas: the Lone Star State (9th edition ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall. pp. p 9. ISBN 0131835505.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Richardson" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Richardson" defined multiple times with different content
  3. ^ Richardson, pp 10-16
  4. ^ Fry, Phillip L.. "Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. ","". Retrieved 2007–07–24. 
  5. ^ Richardson, p 1
  6. ^ "Texas Almanac". Retrieved 2007–07–24. 
  7. ^ Richardson, p 10
  8. ^ Richardson, pp 10 & 16
  9. ^ a b Weber (1992), p. 34.
  10. ^ a b Chipman (1992), p. 243.
  11. ^ Chipman (1992), p. 72.
  12. ^ Weber (1992), p. 148.
  13. ^ Chipman (1992), p. 73.
  14. ^ Chipman (1992), p. 74.
  15. ^ a b c d Weber (1992), p. 149.
  16. ^ Chipman (1992), p. 75.
  17. ^ a b Chipman (1992), p. 76.
  18. ^ Chipman (1992), pp.83–84.
  19. ^ a b Chipman (1992), p. 84.
  20. ^ Weber (1992), pp. 151–152.
  21. ^ a b Weber (1992), p. 152.
  22. ^ Chipman (1992), p. 83.




  • Randolph B. Campbell, Gone to Texas: a History of the Lone Star State (Oxford University Press, 2003, 500 pages.
  • De Leon, Arnoldo. Mexican Americans in Texas: A Brief History 2nd ed. Harlan Davidson, 1999.
  • Patricia Evridge Hill. Dallas: The Making of a Modern City U of Texas Press, 1996.
  • Great River, The Rio Grande in North American History, Paul Horgan, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, reprint, 1977, ISBN 0-03-029305-7
  • Terry G. Jordan. Texas, a Geography Westview Press. 1984.
  • David G. McComb. Houston, a History U of Texas Press, 1981.
  • D. W. Meinig, Imperial Texas: An Interpretive Essay in Cultural Geography, University of Texas Press, 1969, 145 pages.
  • Montejano, David. Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836–1986 University of Texas Press, 1987.
  • Wooster, Ralph A. and Robert A. Calvert, eds. Texas Vistas (1987) reprinted scholarly essays


  • Baum, Dale. The Shattering of Texas Unionism: Politics in the Lone Star State during the Civil War Era Louisiana State University Press, 1998.
  • Bell, Walter F. "Civil War Texas: A Review of the Historical Literature" Southwestern Historical Quarterly 2005 109(2): 204-232. Issn: 0038-478x
  • Buenger, Walter L. Secession and the Union in Texas. University of Texas Press, 1984.
  • Campbell, Randolph B. An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821–1865 Louisiana State University Press, 1989.
  • Campbell, Randolph B. Sam Houston and the American Southwest HarperCollins, 1993.
  • Campbell, Randolph B., and Richard G. Lowe. Wealth and Power in Antebellum Texas Texas A&M University Press, 1977.
  • Cantrell, Gregg. Stephen F. Austin: Empresario of Texas. Yale University Press, 1999.
  • Carroll, Mark M. Homesteads Ungovernable: Families, Sex, Race, and the Law in Frontier Texas, 1823–1860 University of Texas Press, 2001.
  • Chipman, Donald E. Spanish Texas, 1519–1821 University of Texas Press, 1992.
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  • De Leon, Arnoldo. The Tejano Community, 1836–1900 University of New Mexico Press, 1982.
  • Friend, Llerena B. Sam Houston: The Great Designer University of Texas Press, 1954.
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  • Kerby, Robert L. Kirby Smith's Confederacy: The Trans-Mississippi South, 1863–1865 Columbia University Press, 1972.
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  • Crouch, Barry A. The Freedmen's Bureau and Black Texans. University of Texas Press, 1992.
  • Gould, Lewis N. Progressives and Prohibitionists: Texas Democrats in the Wilson Era University of Texas Press, 1973.
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  • Martin, Roscoe C. The People's Party in Texas: A Study in Third Party Politics University of Texas Press, 1933.
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  • Utley, Robert M. Lone Star Justice: The First Century of the Texas Rangers Oxford University Press, 2002.


  • Blackwelder, Julia Kirk. Women of the Depression: Caste and Culture in San Antonio, 1929–1939. Texas A&M University Press, 1984.
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  • Davidson, Chandler. Race and Class in Texas Politics. Princeton University Press, 1990.
  • Foley, Neil. The White Scourge: Mexicans, Blacks, and Poor Whites in Texas Cotton Culture University of California Press, 1997.
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  • Lee, James Ward, et al., eds. 1941: Texas Goes to War. University of North Texas Press, 1991.
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  • Patenaude, Lionel V. Texans, Politics, and the New Deal Garland Publishing, 1983.
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  • Volanto, Keith J. Texas, Cotton, and the New Deal Texas A&M University Press, 2005.
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  • The End of Cheap Oil National Geographic Society, 2004.

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External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at History of Texas. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.