The Texas Portal
Texas (, ;
Spanish: Texas or Tejas, pronounced
listen)) is a state in the
South Central Region of the
United States. It is the second largest
U.S. state by both
California). Texas shares borders with the states of
Louisiana to the east,
Arkansas to the northeast,
Oklahoma to the north,
New Mexico to the west, and the
Nuevo León, and
Tamaulipas to the southwest, and has a coastline with the
Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.
Houston is the
most populous city in Texas and the
fourth largest in the U.S., while
San Antonio is the second-most populous in the state and seventh largest in the U.S.
Dallas–Fort Worth and
Greater Houston are the fourth and fifth largest
metropolitan statistical areas in the country, respectively. Other major cities include
Austin, the second-most populous
state capital in the U.S., and
El Paso. Texas is nicknamed the "Lone Star State" for its former status 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. The origin of Texas's name is from the word taysha, which means "friends" in the
Due to its size and geologic features such as the
Balcones Fault, Texas contains diverse
landscapes common to both the U.S.
Southern and the
Southwestern regions. Although Texas is popularly associated with the U.S.
southwestern deserts, less than ten percent of Texas's land area is
desert. Most of the population centers are in areas of former
forests, and the
coastline. Traveling from east to west, one can observe terrain that ranges from coastal
piney woods, to rolling plains and rugged hills, and finally the
desert and mountains of the
The term "
six flags over Texas" refers to several nations that have ruled over the territory.
Spain was the
first European country to claim and control the area of Texas. France held a
short-lived colony. Mexico controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming an
independent republic. In 1845, Texas joined the union as the 28th state. The state's
annexation set off a chain of events that led to the
Mexican–American War in 1846. A
slave state before the
American Civil War, Texas declared its secession from the U.S. in early 1861, and officially joined the
Confederate States of America on March 2 of the same year. After the Civil War and the restoration of its representation in the federal government, Texas entered a long period of economic stagnation.
Texas Ranger Division, commonly known as the Texas Rangers, is a
law enforcement agency with statewide
jurisdiction based in
Austin, the capital city of
Texas. Over the years, the Texas Rangers have investigated crimes ranging from murder to political corruption, kept the peace during riots, acted as detectives, protected the
Texas governor, tracked down fugitives, and functioned as a quasi-military force at the service of both the
Republic (1836–45) and the state of Texas. The Texas Rangers were unofficially created by
Stephen F. Austin in 1823 and formally constituted in 1835. Although the organization went through periods of inactivity during the 19th century, it was never officially dissolved. Since 1935, the organization has been a division of the
Texas Department of Public Safety, and currently fulfills the role of Texas'
State Bureau of Investigation. As of 2005 , there are 118 active Rangers.
James Bowie (
1796 - March 6, 1836), aka Jim Bowie, was a
soldier who took a prominent part in the
Texas Revolution and was killed at the
Battle of the Alamo. He was born in
Kentucky, and spent most of his life in
Louisiana before moving to
Texas and joining in the revolution.
Bowie is also known for the style of knife he carried, which came to be known as the "
Bowie knife". Stories of his
frontier spirit has made him one of the most colorful
folk heroes of
Texas history. During the period before the Texas Revolution, Bowie had all sorts of adventures, including his famous search for the silver mines of
San Saba, which proved unsuccessful. Also during this time, he became embroiled in many fights and was known for his fiery temper.
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