There’s a common saying among Texans: “Everything is bigger in Texas!”
Texas is the second biggest state in the country in terms of size, after Alaska, and larger than ANY country in Europe. Likewise, Texas also comes in second in terms of population, right behind California. Three of the country’s top 10 cities are in Texas: Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. Conversely, Luckenbach, the smallest town in the US, is also found in Texas. Can you believe that only 13 people live there?!
Most of the nearly 30 million residents of Texas speak English and Spanish. BUT, did you know that roughly 250,000 Vietnamese people and 200,000 Chinese people also call Texas home?
The state has experienced a turbulent past and is the only one to have six different flags fly over it: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States, and the United States.
What really happened…
- At least 16 types of dinosaurs roamed Texas from 225 million years ago to about 65 million years ago, at which time dinosaurs disappeared.
- Native Americans have lived in Texas for thousands of years. But in 1519, Spanish explorers arrived and claimed the land for Spain. The country ignored the land for more than 160 years so the French colonized it between 1684 and 1689, and then abandoned its claim to the land in 1762.
- The Alamo was a famous and important battle that took place in Texas. The compound, which is near San Antonio, was founded as a Roman Catholic mission and fortress. Texans were fighting for their independence from Mexico. But in 1836, the Texans, including the famous frontiersman Davy Crockett and Tennessee Congressman, were defeated.
- After Mexico’s war of independence with Spain, Texas became a possession of Mexico, but not for long. Texas became its own country for nine years, called the Republic of Texas, from 1836 until it agreed to join the United States in 1845.
- In 1861, Texas joined 10 other states to form the Confederacy. The Civil War forced it back into the US, where it has stayed ever since.
- Many historians claim that the final battle of the Civil War took place in Texas. The Battle of Palmito Ranch, which is near Brownsville, took place one month after General Robert E. Lee surrendered in 1865.
Stuff you should know…
- The Johnson Space Center in Houston is the site of Mission Control for all NASA flights into space. For more than 50 years, the country’s leading training, research, and flight control programs have been conducted here.
- The name ‘Texas’ comes from a Caddo Indian word, “tayshas,” which means friends or allies. This name was given by the native people who lived here before the Spanish conquest. In Spanish, this translated to “tejas” and the United States eventually converted it to Texas.
- The deadliest natural disaster in US history took place in 1900, on Galveston, an island city. A hurricane slammed the area, causing between 6,000 and 12,000 deaths.
- Amarillo is considered the “Helium Capital of the World.” Home to America’s National Helium Reserve, Amarillo contains about 90% of the world’s recoverable helium supply.
Crazy, funny, or just plain weird…
- According to Texas law, all thieves must give authorities a 24-hour oral or written notice of their crime. This was supposed to help reduce theft. Apparently, you must comply with the law before you break it.
- In 2005, the town of Clark renamed itself to “Dish” in order to get 10 years of free DISH Network Programming for each resident.
- In 2014, the small town of Decatur voted to reschedule Halloween to October 30th because the October 31st date would have conflicted with the local high school’s Friday night football game.
Tell me more…
- The largest known bat colony in North America is located in Bracken Cave, Texas. More than 20 million bats live there!
- A small town in Lamb County (West Texas) is called Earth. It may be the only place on this planet that is named Earth.
Texas is so LARGE, that we couldn’t cover every unique detail in a single post! Are you from Texas? Do you have a highlight you think would be super interesting to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we might feature your fact or anecdote on our social media pages!