Texas is the second largest State within the United States in terms of both population and area. The nickname of Texas is the “Lone Star State”, which refers back to when Texas was an independent republic.
Texas originates from the Caddo word “Tejas” which means friends. The flag for the State incorporates the single star and the nearby location of Mexico has influenced much of its history. The state is synonymous with the term “Six flags over Texas” which refers to the nations that have held sovereignty over the state. The first nation to have claimed sovereignty were the Spanish in 1519.
Prior to the Europeans arriving three major indigenous cultures occupied the region, the Pueblo, the Mound Builders and the Mesoamerica. There were also many Native American tribes such as the Apache, the Jumano and the Tonkawa. Some of the tribes were friendly towards the first European settlers showing them how to grow the local crops and hunt the wild game. There were other tribes that did not welcome the new settlers and attacked the Europeans.
In 1519 the Spanish explorer Alonso Alvarez de Pineda drew the first map of Texas and many of the first settlers referred to a way of life where the local Querechos and the Teyas were regularly at war with each other. The harsh conditions resulted in the European powers staying away from the area until Fort Saint Louis was built at Matagorda Bay by the French in 1684. Rene-Robert Cavalier de la Salle raised the flag but four years later he was murdered, and the colony disappeared. Now feeling threatened by the presence of the French the Spanish created San Antonio in 1718.
The natives were proving difficult to appease and many Spanish settlers kept away from the area for safety concerns. Spain then signed a number of different peace treaties with the local tribes but from 1803 the creation of the United States resulted in many Americans entering the State to claim land. In 1821 a bigger threat emerged with the Mexican War of Independence. Texas was now controlled by Mexico who wanted to create a larger population, so it allowed migrants to enter Mexico from the United States and Europe, as well as from Mexico itself. The population grew from 3,500 in 1825 to 37,800 in 1834.
Harsh conditions still existed in the area and people started to rebel against Mexican rule and by 1833 there was a large desire for independent rule. In 1836 the two-month Texas Revolution resulted in it becoming its own Republic. However, Mexico responded and victories such as at the battle of the Alamo in 1836, resulted in the Mexicans attempting to defeat the Texan forces. However, at the Battle of San Jacinto the Sam Houston inspired Texan Army claimed victory and the Republic was confirmed.
With continuing raids from Mexico Texas maintained close links with the United States. In 1845 Texas was admitted to the United States by Congress and its new boundaries were confirmed with the Compromise of 1850. Since this time it has remained as part of the USA. Following its initial inclusion, it did suffer as a result of the Civil War that was fought between 1860 and 1900. Despite it being fought further north the State did send many men to do battle and it was affected economically by the conflict.
The 20th century as seen the region stabilise and flourish. Agriculture, the space industry, tourism and oil have combined to attract more people into the region. There were an estimated 28 million people living in the State in 2011 and this figure looks likely to grow.