History of Texas

History of Texas

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 Confederate States of America, and the United States of America. 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, Spanish, Tejano, Native American, African American, Czech Texan, and German Texan cultures. [ D. W. Meinig, "Imperial Texas: An Interpretive Essay in Cultural Geography" (1969)]

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. 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 and Central America.Richardson (2005), p. 9.] No one culture was dominant in the present-day Texas region and many different peoples inhabited the area. 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. [Richardson (2005), pp 10–16] The name "Texas" derives from "unicode|táyshaʔ", a word in the Caddoan language of the Hasinai, which means "friends" or "allies".cite web
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Native Americans determined the fate of European explorers and settlers depending on whether a tribe was friendly or warlike. [Richardson, p 10] 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. [Richardson, pp 10 & 16]

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. Weber (1992), p. 34.] While searching for a passage between the Gulf of Mexico and Asia, Álvarez de Pineda created the first map of the northern Gulf Coast.Chipman (1992), p. 243.] This map is the earliest recorded document of Texas history.

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

In April 1682, French nobleman René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle arrived at the Gulf of Mexico after traversing the Mississippi River from New France and claimed the entire Mississippi River Valley for France. [Chipman (1992), p. 72.] La Salle believed the Mississippi River was very near the edge of New Spain,Weber (1992), p. 148.] and knew that French control of the Mississippi would split Spanish Florida from New Spain. [Chipman (1992), p. 73.] In 1683, he convinced Louis XIV to establish a colony near the Mississippi. [Chipman (1992), p. 74.] Weber (1992), p. 149.]

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.Chipman (1992), p. 75.] 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.Chipman (1992), p. 76.] Instead, they landed at Matagorda Bay in early 1685, convert|400|mi|km|0|lk=on west of the Mississippi. In February, the colonists constructed Fort Saint Louis.

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 and as far east as the Trinity River. [Chipman (1992), pp.83–84.] 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.Chipman (1992), p. 84.]

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.'" 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. [Weber (1992), pp. 151–152.]

Using this guide, the Spanish reached the French fort in late April 1689.Weber (1992), p. 152.] The fort and the five crude houses surrounding it were in ruins.Chipman (1992), p. 83.] Several months before, the Karankawa had become angry that the French had taken their canoes without payment and had attacked the settlement and spared only four children.

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

Establishment of Spanish colony

Spain had learned a great deal about the geography of Texas during the many expeditions searching for Fort Saint Louis. [Weber (1992), pp. 151–152.] News of the destruction of the French fort "created instant optimism and quickened religious fervor" in Mexico City.Chipman (1992), p. 87.] An expedition led by Alonso De León set out on March 26, 1690 to establish a mission in East Texas.Chipman (1992), p. 89.] Mission San Franciso de los Tejas was completed near the Hasinai village of Nabedaches in late May, and its first mass was conducted on June 1.Weber (1992), p. 154.] On January 23, 1691, Spain appointed the first governor of Texas, General Domingo Terán de los Ríos. [Chipman (1992), pp. 93–94.] His expedition reached the existing mission in August 1691 and discovered that the priests there had established a second mission, Santisimo Nombre de Maria, convert|5|mi|km east of San Francisco de los Tejas. One of the priests had died, leaving two to operate the missions. The Indians regularly stole their cattle and houses and were becoming insolent. With provisions running low, Terán chose not to establish any more missions.Chipman (1992), p. 97.] When he left Texas later that year, most of the missionaries chose to return with him, leaving only 3 religious people and 9 soldiers at the missions.Chipman (1992), p. 98.] The group also left behind a smallpox epidemic, angering the Indians. The angry Caddo threatened the remaining Spaniards, who soon abandoned the fledgling missions and returned to Coahuila. For the next 20 years, Spain again ignored Texas.Weber (1992), p. 155.]

In 1711, Franciscan missionary Francisco Hidalgo, who had served in the earlier Texas missions two decades before, wanted to reestablish missions with the Caddos. The Spanish were unwilling to provide the funding and troops for the project, so Hidalgo approached the French governor of Louisiana for help. [Weber (1992), p. 159.] The French governor sent Louis Juchereau de St. Denis to assist Hidalgo.The Spanish recognized that the French could become a threat to other Spanish areas, and ordered the reoccupation of Texas as a buffer between French settlements in Louisiana and New Spain.Weber (1992), p. 160.] In 1716, Domingo Ramon left for East Texas to establish four missions and a presidio. With him were the first recorded female settlers in Spanish Texas.Chipman (1992), p. 112.] After learning that the French were building a fort in Natchitoches, the Spanish founded two additional missions just west of Natchitoches.Weber (1992), p. 162.]

The new missions were over convert|400|mi|km|0 from the nearest Spanish settlement, San Juan Bautista.Chipman (1992), p. 113.] Martin de Alarcon, who had been appointed governor of Texas in late 1716, wished to establish a way station between the settlements along the Rio Grande and the new missions in East Texas.Weber (1992), p. 163.] Alarcon led a group of 72 people, including 10 families, into Texas in April 1718, where they settled along the San Antonio River. Within the next week, the settlers had founded San Antonio de Valero, whose chapel was later known as the Alamo and a presidio, and chartered the municipality of San Antonio de Bexar, now San Antonio, Texas.Chipman (1992), p. 117.]

The following year, the War of the Quadruple Alliance pitted Spain against France, which immediately moved to take over Spanish interests in North America. [Weber (1992), pp. 165–166.] In June 1719, 7 Frenchmen from Natchitoches took control of the mission of San Miguel de los Adeas from its sole defender, who did not know that the countries were at war. The French soldiers explained that 100 additional soldiers were coming, and the Spanish colonists, missionaries, and remaining soldiers abandoned the area and fled to San Antonio. [Weber (1992), p. 166–167.]

The new governor of Coahuila and Texas, the Marquis de San Miguel de Aguayo, drove the French from Los Adaes without firing a shot. He then ordered the building of a new Spanish fort Nuetra Senora del Pilar de Los Adaes, located near present-day Robeline, Louisiana, only 12 mi (19 km) from Natchitoches. The new fort became the first capital of Texas, and was guarded by 6 cannon and 100 soldiers.Weber (1992), p. 167.] The six East Texas missions were reopened, [Chipman (1992), p. 123.] and an additional mission and presidio were established at Matagorda Bay on the site of Fort Saint Louis.Weber (1992), p. 168.] Chipman (1992), p. 126.]

Difficulties with the Indians

In the late 1720s, the viceroy of New Spain appointed Colonel Pedro de Rivera y Villalon to inspect the entire northern frontier.His reports of Los Adaes, Presidio Nuetra Senora de Loreta, and the presidio at San Antonio were favorable, but he was unimpressed with Presidio de los Tejas, which had only 25 soldiers, and was guarding missions that contained no Indians.Chipman (1992), p. 129.] The viceroy followed Rivera's recommendations and closed Presidio de los Tejas and reduced the number of soldiers at the remaining presidios,Chipman (1992), p. 130.] leaving only 144 soldiers in the entire province. With no presidio to protect them, the East Texas missions relocated to San Antonio.Chipman (1992), p. 131.] Although the missionaries had been unable to convert the Tejas tribe of East Texas, they did become friendly with the natives. The Tejas were bitter enemies of the Lipan Apache, who transferred their enmity to Spain and began raiding San Antonio and other Spanish areas.Chipman (1992), p. 133.] Weber (1992), p. 188.] Constant Apache raids led to the closure of several newly established missions along the San Gabriel River. [Chipman (1992), p. 151.] [Chipman (1992), p. 156.] A temporary peace was finally negotiated with the Apache in 1749,Weber (1992), p. 193.] and at the request of the Indians a mission was established along the San Saba River northwest of San Antonio. [Chipman (1992), pp. 158, 159.] The Apaches shunned the mission, but the fact that Spaniards now appeared to be friends of the Apache angered the Apache enemies, primarily the Comanche, Tonkawa,andHasinai tribes, who promptly destroyed the mission.Weber (1992), p. 222.] The settlers helped smuggle contraband goods from Louisiana to San Antonio and also helped the soldiers with coastal reconnaissance.Weddle (1995), p. 86.] Comanche raids in 1779 led the settlers to move without authorization, and they established the town of Nacogdoches.

The Comanche agreed to a peace treaty in 1785. [Weddle (1995), p. 163.] By late 1786, northern and western Texas were secure enough that Pedro Vial and a single companion safely "pioneered a trail from San Antonio to Santa Fe," a distance of 700 mi (1126 km). [Weber (1992), pp. 234–235.] The Comanches were willing to fight the enemies of their new friends, and soon attacked the Karankawa. Over the next several years the Comanches killed many of the Karankawa in the area and drove the others into Mexico.Weddle (1995), p. 164.] In January 1790, the Comanche also helped the Spanish fight a large battle against the Mescalero and Lipan Apaches at Soledad Creek west of San Antonio. The Apaches were resoundingly defeated and the majority of the raids stopped.Chipman (1992), p. 200.] By the end of the 1700s only a small number of the remaining hunting and gathering tribes within Texas had not been Christianized. In 1793, mission San Antonio de Valero was secularized, and the following year the four remaining missions at San Antonio were partially secularized.Chipman (1992), p. 202.]


In 1799, Spain gave Louisiana back to France in exchange for the promise of a throne in central Italy. Although the agreement was signed on October 1, 1800, it did not go into effect until 1802. The following year, Napoleon sold Louisiana to the United States. The original agreement between Spain and France had not explicitly specified the borders of Louisiana, and the descriptions in the documents were ambiguous and contradictory.Weber (1992), p. 291.] The United States insisted that its purchase also included most of West Florida and all of Texas.Weber (1992), p. 291.] Thomas Jefferson claimed that Louisiana stretched west to the Rocky Mountains and included the entire watershed of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and their tributaries, and that the southern border was the Rio Grande. Spain maintained that Louisiana extended only as far as Natchitoches, and that it did not include the Illinois Territory. [Weber (1992), p. 292.] Texas was again considered a buffer province, this time between New Spain and the United States.Weber (1992), p. 295.] The disagreement would continue until 1819, when Spain gave Florida to the United States in return for undisputed control of Texas.Weber (1992), p. 299.]

During much of the dispute with the United States, governship of New Spain was in question. In 1808, Napoleon forced the Spanish king to abdicate the throne and appointed Joseph Bonaparte as the new monarch. [Weber (1992), p. 275.] A shadow government operated out of Cadiz during Joseph's reign. [Weber (1992), p. 297.] Revolutionaries within Mexico and the United States unsuccessfully combined to declare Texas and Mexico independent. [Weber (1992), p. 298.] Spanish troops reacted harshly, looting the province and executing any Tejanos accused of having Republican tendencies. By 1820 fewer than 2000 Hispanic citizens remained in Texas.Weber (1992), p. 299.] The situation did not normalize until 1821, when Agustin de Iturbide launched a drive for Mexican Independence. Texas became a part of the newly independent nation without a shot being fired, ending the period of Spanish Texas.Weber (1992), p. 300.]


Spanish control of Texas was followed by Mexican control of Texas, and it can be difficult to separate the Spanish and Mexican influences on the future state. The most obvious legacy is that of the language; every major river in modern Texas, except the Red River, has a Spanish or Anglicized name, as do 42 of the state's 254 counties. Numerous towns also bear Spanish names.Chipman (1992), p. 242.] An additional obvious legacy is that of Roman Catholicism. At the end of Spain's reign over Texas, virtually all inhabitants practiced the Catholic religion, and it is still practiced in Texas by a large number of people.Chipman (1992), p. 259.] The Spanish missions built in San Antonio to convert Indians to Catholicism have been restored and are a National Historic Landmark.Chipman (1992), p. 255.]

The Spanish introduced European livestock, including cattle, horses, and mules, to Texas as early as the 1690s.Chipman (1992), p. 246.] These herds grazed heavily on the native grasses, allowing mesquite, which was native to the lower Texas coast, to spread inland. Spanish farmers also introduced tilling and irrigation to the land, further changing the landscape.Chipman (1992), p. 247.]

Furthermore, although Texas eventually adopted much of the Anglo-American legal system, many Spanish legal practices were retained. Among these are the concepts of homestead exemption, community property, and adoption.Chipman (1992), pp. 252–254.]

Mexican Texas

In 1821, the Mexican War for Independence severed the control that Spain had exercised on its North American territories, and the new country of Mexico was formed from much of the lands that had comprised New Spain, including Spanish Texas. [Manchaca (2001), p. 161.] The 1824 Constitution of Mexico joined Texas with Coahuila to form the state of Coahuila y Tejas.Manchaca (2001), p. 162.] The Congress did allow Texas the option of forming its own state "'as soon as it feels capable of doing so.'"Vazquez (1997), p. 51.] The same year, Mexico enacted the General Colonization Law, which enabled all heads of household, regardless of race or immigrant status, to claim land in Mexico.Manchaca (2001), p. 187.] The first empresarial grant had been made under Spanish control to Moses Austin. The grant was passed to his son Stephen F. Austin, whose settlers, known as the Old Three Hundred, settled along the Brazos River in 1822.Manchaca (2001), p. 198.] The grant was later ratified by the Mexican government.Edmondson (2000), p. 70.] Twenty-three other empresarios brought settlers to the state, the majority from the United States of America. [Manchaca (2001), p. 199.]

Many of the Anglo-American settlers owned slaves. Texas was granted a one-year exemption from Mexico's 1829 edict outlawing slavery but Mexican president Anastasio Bustamante ordered that all slaves be freed in 1830.Edmondson (2000), p. 80.] Manchaca (2001), p. 200.] To circumvent the law, many Anglo colonists converted their slaves into indentured servants for life;Barr (1996), p. 15.] by 1836 there were 5,000 slaves in Texas.Barr (1996), p. 17.]

As a result of multiple offers by the United States to buy Texas,Edmondson (2000), p. 78.] Bustamente outlawed the immigration of United States citizens to Texas in 1830. Several new presidios were established in the region to monitor immigration and customs practices.Edmondson (2000), p. 135.] Angry colonists held a convention in 1832 to demand that U.S. citizens be allowed to immigrate.Vazquez (1997), p. 66.] The following year, their Convention of 1833 proposed that Texas become a separate Mexican state.Vazquez (1997), p. 67.] Although Mexico implemented several measures to appease the colonists,Vazquez (1997), p. 68.] Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna's measures to transform Mexico from a federalist to a centralist state provided an excuse for the Texan colonists to revolt.Vazquez (1997), p. 71.]

The first violent incident occurred on October 2, 1835 at the battle of Gonzales.Vazquez (1997), p. 72.] On March 2, 1836, Texans signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. The revolt was justified as necessary to protect basic rights and because Mexico had annulled the federal pact. The colonists maintained that Mexico had invited them to move to the country and they were determined "to enjoy 'the republican institutions to which they were accustomed in their native land, the United States of America.'"Vazquez (1997), p. 74.] The Texas Revolution ended on April 21, 1836 when Santa Anna was taken prisoner following the battle of San Jacinto.Manchaca (2001), p. 201.] Vazquez (1997), p. 77.] Although Texas then governed itself as the Republic of Texas, Mexico refused to recognize its independence.Vazquez (1997), p. 76.]

Republic of Texas

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, 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 male defenders, 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. "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.


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. The resolution did, however, 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.

Post-war Texas grew rapidly as migrants poured into the cotton lands of the state. [Handbook of Texas|id=CC/afc3|name=Cotton Culture] German immigrants started to arrive in the early 1840s because of economic, social and political conditions in their states. In 1842, German nobles organized the "Adelsverein", banding together to buy land in central Texas to enable German settlement. The Revolutions of 1848 acted as another catalyst for so many immigrants that they became known as the "48ers". Many were educated artisans and businessmen. Germans continued to arrive in considerable numbers until 1890. [ [http://hostville.com/hoelscher/gertex.htm "German Immigration in Texas"] , accessed 27 April 2008]

The first Czech immigrants started their journey to Texas on August 19, 1851 headed by Josef Šilar. The rich farmland of Central Texas attracted the Czech immigrants. The counties of Austin, Fayette, Lavaca, Halletsville, and Washington had early Czech settlements. The Czech-American communities are characterized by a strong sense of community and social clubs were a dominant theme of Czech-American life in Texas. By 1865, the Czech population numbered 700 and climbed to over 60,000 Czech-americans by 1940. [ Handbook of Texas Online Czechs accessed July 28, 2008 ]

With their investments in cotton cultivation, Texas planters imported enslaved blacks from the earliest years of settlement. They established cotton plantations mostly in the eastern part of the state, where labor was done by enslaved African Americans. The central area of the state had more subsistence farmers.

Civil War and Reconstruction: 1860–1876

"See the main article Texas in the Civil War and ."

As part of the Cotton Kingdom, planters in parts of Texas depended on slave labor. In 1860 30% of the population of state total of 604,215 were enslaved. [ [http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/collections/stats/histcensus/php/state.php Historical Census Browser, 1860 US Census, University of Virginia] , accessed 15 Mar 2008.] 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.

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.

On 1 August 1862 Confederate troops killed 34 pro-Union German Texans in the "Nueces Massacre" of civilians. 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).

Reconstruction, Democratic control and disfranchisement

When the news arrived in Galveston, on June 19, 1865, of the Confederate collapse, the freed slaves rejoiced, creating the celebration of June teenth. 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.

Like other Southern states, by the late 1870s white Democrats regained control, often with a mix of intimidation and terrorism by paramilitary groups operating for the Democratic Party. They passed a new constitution in 1876 that segregated schools and established a poll tax to support them, but it was not originally required for voting. [Handbook of Texas |id=CC/mhc |name=Constitution of 1876, accessed 12 Apr 2008] In 1901 the legislature passed a poll tax as a prerequisite for voter registration. Given the economic difficulties of the times, the poll tax caused participation by poor whites, African Americans and Mexican Americans to drop sharply. By the early 20th century, the Democratic Party in Texas started using a "white primary", which the state legislature authorized in 1923.cite web |title=Historical Barriers to Voting |work=Texas Politics |publisher=University of Texas |url=http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/html/vce/0503.html|format=HTML |accessdate=2008-05-11] Since the Democratic Party dominated the state after 1900 for decades, the "white primary" provision reduced what little minority participation there was as the primaries were the true competitive contest. These provisions extended deep into the 20th century.

Texas in prosperity, depression, and war

Galveston, the fourth-largest city in Texas and then the major port, was destroyed by a hurricane with 100 mi (160 km) winds on September 8, 1900. The storm created a 20 ft (6 m) storm surge when it hit the island, 6–9 ft (2–3 m) higher than any previously recorded flood. Water covered the entire island, killing between 6,000 and 8,000 people, destroying 3,500 homes as well as the railroad causeway and wagon bridge that connected the island to the mainland. [Munsart (1997), p. 118.] To help rebuild their city, citizens implemented a reformed government featuring a five-man city commission. Galveston was the first city to implement a city commission government, and its plan was adopted by 500 other small cities across the United States. [Turner (1997), p. 187.]

In the aftermath of the Galveston disaster, action proceeded on building the Houston Ship Channel to create a more protected inland port. Houston quickly grew once the Channel was completed, and rapidly became the primary port in Texas. Railroads were constructed in a radial pattern to link Houston with other major cities such as Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin.

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, Texas. 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 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. In what became known as the Country Club Dispute, 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.

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 whom 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. [ [http://www.pbs.org/fmc/interviews/gregory.htm First Measured Century: Interview: James Gregory ] ] 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 Texas World War II Army Airfields ( [Brooke Army Medical Center, Camp Mabry, Corpus Christi Army Depot,Fort Bliss,Fort Hood ,Fort Sam Houston , Ingleside Army Depot, Red River Army Depot, especially for aviation training. The Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant was built as part of the WWII buildup. 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.

During WWII, Texas became home to as many as 78,982 enemy prisoners, mainly Germans. There were fourteen prisoner of war camps in the state. The men in the camps were used to supplement the local farm labor lost to the war. [ Handbook of Texas Online German Prisoners of War, accessed July 28, 2008 ]

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]

See also

* Texas Historical Commission
* Forts of Texas



*citation|last=Barr|first=Alwyn|title=Black Texans: A history of African Americans in Texas, 1528–1995|edition=2nd|publisher=University of Oklahoma Press|location=Norman, OK|date=1996|isbn=080612878X
*citation|last=Edmondson|first=J.R.|title=The Alamo Story-From History to Current Conflicts|publisher=Republic of Texas Press|place=Plano, TX|isbn=1-55622-678-0|date=2000
*citation|last=Manchaca|first=Martha|title=Recovering History, Constructing Race: The Indian, Black, and White Roots of Mexican Americans|series=The Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture|publisher=University of Texas Press|location=Austin, TX|date=2001|isbn=0292752539
*citation|last=Munsart|first=Craig A.|title=American History through Earth Science|date=1997|location=Englewood, CO|publisher=Teacher Ideas Press|isbn=1563081822
*cite book|last=Richardson|first=Rupert N.|coauthors=Adrian Anderson, Cary D. Wintz & Ernest Wallace|title=Texas: the Lone Star State|publisher=Prentice Hall|location=New Jersey|date=2005| edition = 9th edition|pages=p 9|isbn=0131835505
*citation|last=Turner|first=Elizabeth Hayes|title=Women, Culture, and Community: Religion and Reform in Galveston, 1880-1920|location=New York|publisher=Oxford University Press|date=1997|isbn=0195086880
*citation|title=Myths, Misdeeds, and Misunderstandings: The Roots of Conflict in U.S.–Mexican Relations|editor-last=Rodriguez O.|editor-first=Jaime E.|editor2-last=Vincent|editor2-first=Kathryn|location=Wilmington, DE|date=1997|publisher=Scholarly Resources Inc.|isbn=0842026622|contribution=The Colonization and Loss of Texas: A Mexican Perspective|last=Vazquez|first=Josefina Zoraida


* [http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/ The Handbook of Texas Online] "- Published by the Texas State Historical Association" thousands of scholarly articles on every aspect of Texas history
* [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=71910759 Alvin R. Bailey Jr. and Light Townsend Cummins, eds. "A Guide to the History of Texas." Greenwood Press. 1988.]


* [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=103945805 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" [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=98435058 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


* Campbell, Randolph B. "An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821–1865" Louisiana State University Press, 1989.
* Campbell, Randolph B., and Richard G. Lowe. "Wealth and Power in Antebellum Texas" Texas A&M University Press, 1977.
* De Leon, Arnoldo. "The Tejano Community, 1836–1900" University of New Mexico Press, 1982.
* Silverthorne, Elizabeth. "Plantation Life in Texas" Texas A&M University Press, 1986.

panish Texas

* Chipman, Donald E., and Harriett Denise Joseph. "Notable Men and Women of Spanish Texas". University of Texas Press, 1999.

Mexican Texas/Republic of Texas

* Campbell, Randolph B. "Sam Houston and the American Southwest" HarperCollins, 1993.
* 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.
* Friend, Llerena B. "Sam Houston: The Great Designer" University of Texas Press, 1954.
* Hardin, Stephen L. "Texian Iliad: A Military History of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836" University of Texas Press, 1994.
* Jordan, Terry G. "German Seed in Texas Soil: Immigrant Farmers in Nineteenth Century Texas" University of Texas Press, 1966.
* Lack, Paul D. "The Texas Revolutionary Experience: A Political and Social History, 1835–1836" Texas A&M University Press, 1992.
* Lowrie, Samuel H. "Culture Conflict in Texas, 1821–1835" Columbia University Press, 1932.
* Poyo, Gerald E., ed. "Tejano Journey, 1770–1850" University of Texas Press, 1996.

Civil War Era

* 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.
* Kerby, Robert L. "Kirby Smith's Confederacy: The Trans-Mississippi South, 1863–1865" Columbia University Press, 1972.
* Lowe, Richard G., and Randolph B. Campbell. "Planters and Plain Folk: Agriculture in Antebellum Texas" Southern Methodist University Press, 1987.


* Barr, Alwyn. "Reconstruction to Reform: Texas Politics, 1876–1906" University of Texas Press, 1971.
* Buenger, Walter L. "The Path to a Modern South: Northeast Texas between Reconstruction and the Great Depression" University of Texas Press, 2001.
* Campbell, Randolph B. "Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865–1880" Louisiana State University Press, 1997.
* Clampitt, Brad R. "The Breakup: the Collapse of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi Army in Texas, 1865" "Southwestern Historical Quarterly" 2005 108(4): 498-534. Issn: 0038-478x
* Cotner, Robert C. "James Stephen Hogg: A Biography". University of Texas Press, 1959.
* 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.
* Jordan, Terry G. "Trails to Texas: Southern Roots of Western Cattle Ranching" University of Nebraska Press, 1981.
* McArthur, Judith N. "Creating the New Woman: The Rise of Southern Women's Progressive Culture in Texas, 1893–1918." University of Illinois Press, 1998.
* Martin, Roscoe C. "The People's Party in Texas: A Study in Third Party Politics" University of Texas Press, 1933.
* Pitre, Merline. "Through Many Dangers, Toils, and Snares: The Black Leadership of Texas, 1868–1900" Eakin Press, 1985.
* Ramsdell, Charles William. "Reconstruction in Texas" Columbia University Press, 1910.
* Rice, Lawrence D. "The Negro in Texas, 1874–1900" Louisiana State University Press, 1971
* Spratt, John Stricklin. "The Road to Spindletop: Economic Change in Texas, 1875–1901." Southern Methodist University Press, 1955.
* 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.
* Brown, Norman D. "Hood, Bonnet, and Little Brown Jug: Texas Politics, 1921–1928" Texas A&M University Press, 1984.
* Robert A. Caro. "The Path to Power (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 1)" (1990); "Means of Ascent (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 2)" (1991)
* Cox, Patrick. "Ralph W. Yarborough, The People's Senator." University of Texas Press, 2001.
* Dallek, Robert. "Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908–1960". Oxford University Press, 1991.
* 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.
* Green, George Norris. "The Establishment in Texas Politics: The Primitive Years, 1938–1957" Greenwood Press, 1979.
* Knaggs, John R. "Two-Party Texas: The John Tower Era, 1961–1984" Eakin Press, 1986.
* Lee, James Ward, et al., eds. "1941: Texas Goes to War." University of North Texas Press, 1991.
* Char Miller. "Deep in the Heart of San Antonio: Land and Life in South Texas" Trinity University Press 2004.
* Olien, Diana Davids, and Roger M. Olien. "Oil in Texas: The Gusher Age, 1895–1945" University of Texas Press, 2002.
* Patenaude, Lionel V. "Texans, Politics, and the New Deal" Garland Publishing, 1983.
* Perryman, M. Ray. "Survive and Conquer, Texas in the '80s: Power—Money—Tragedy … Hope!" Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company, 1990.
* James Reston. "The Lone Star: The Life of John Connally" (1989)
* San Miguel, Guadalupe, Jr. "“Let All of Them Take Heed”: Mexican Americans and the Campaign for Educational Equality in Texas, 1910–1981" University of Texas Press, 1987.
* Volanto, Keith J. Texas, "Cotton, and the New Deal" Texas A&M University Press, 2005.
* Whisenhunt, Donald W. "The Depression in Texas: The Hoover Years" Garland Publishing, 1983.
* "The End of Cheap Oil" National Geographic Society, 2004.

Primary source collections

* [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=104481281 Gallaway, B. P., ed. "Texas, The Dark Corner of the Confederacy: Contemporary Accounts of the Lone Star State in the Civil War" 3rd. Ed. University of Nebraska Press, 1994.]

External links

* [http://www.texas.gov/ The State of Texas website]
* [http://www.thc.state.tx.us/ Texas Historical Commission]
* [http://www.thestoryoftexas.com/ The Texas State History Museum]
* [http://www.cah.utexas.edu/texashistory/annex/ Focus on Texas History: Colonization through Annexation (online collection of primary documents from Center of American History at the University of Texas at Austin)]
* [http://www.tshaonline.org/ Texas State Historical Association]
* [http://www.tshaonline.com/lshl/index.html Selected Texas History Primary Source Documents]
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/ The Portal to Texas History]
* [http://www.usastatesdates.com/texas.htm Texas history 1795 to 1895]

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