There’s a common saying among Texans: “Everything is bigger in Texas!”
After Alaska, Texas is the second biggest state in the country in terms of size and is 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 this state. Can you believe that only 13 people live there?
Most of the nearly 30 million residents here 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. That means it had eight changes of government: Spanish 1519-1685, French 1685-1690, Spanish 1690-1821, Mexican 1821-1836, Republic of Texas 1836-1845, United States 1845-1861, Confederate States 1861-1865, and United States 1865-present.
Do you know where Texas is located? It shares a border with five states: Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, Oklahoma to the north, Louisiana to the east, and Arkansas to the northeast. Its southern border is also shared with a country called Mexico and the coastline along the Gulf of Mexico.
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
- Native Americans have lived in the state 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 near the city of San Antonio. Spanish settlers called missionaries were among the first people to live at the Alamo, which was a Roman Catholic mission. In 1821, Mexico took control of the land. But in 1835, Texans rebelled and began fighting for their independence from Mexico. The following year, the Texans, including the famous frontiersman and Tennessee Congressman named Davy Crockett, were defeated at the Alamo.
- After Mexico’s war of independence with Spain, the state became a possession of Mexico, but not for long. In fact, Texas became its own country called the Republic of Texas for nine years. This lasted from 1836 until it agreed to join the United States in 1845.
- In 1861, Texas left the Union and 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 this state. 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, Amarillocontains about 90% of the world’s recoverable helium supply.
- The red, white and blue colors used on the Texas state flag are an exact match to those on the US flag. Each color has its own meaning: red for bravery, white for purity and blue for loyalty.
- Juneteenth, the federal holiday that celebrates freedom for enslaved people, started in Texas, which is nicknamed the Lone Star State.
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.
- In the city of Beaumont, there is a 24-foot high Dalmatian-spotted fire hydrant. The city’s Fire Museum of Texas was chosen by Walt Disney in 1999 to promote the re-release of its animated movie “101 Dalmatians”. The hydrant weighs an enormous 4,500 pounds and can blast 1,500 gallons of water a minute. How long do you think it would take for this hydrant to fill a swimming pool?
Tell me more
- More wool comes from Texas than any other US state. It also has the most farms in the country, we’re talking roughly 250,000 of them.
- The largest known bat colony in North America is located in Bracken Cave. More than 20 million bats live there!
- A small town in Lamb County, which is located in the western part of the state, is called Earth. It may be the only place on this planet that is named after our planet.
- King Ranch in the city of Kingsville is the largest ranch in the country. It covers 825,000 acres, which is more land than the state of Rhode Island.
- Like to smell the roses? Tyler, Texas is home to the country’s largest rose garden, spanning 14 acres and showcasing a staggering 38,000 rose bushes of up to 500 species.
- While Arizona can brag about its Grand Canyon, Texas is home to the second largest canyon in the country called Palo Duro Canyon. It stretches for about 120 miles through the rugged, red landscape of the Texas Panhandle near the cities of Amarillo and Canyon.
Texas is so LARGE, that we couldn’t cover every unique detail in a single post! Are you from this state? Do you have a highlight you think would be super interesting to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will feature it on Mo’s social media pages along with your first name, age, and state where you live!