From Academic Kids

State of Texas
State flag of Texas Missing image
State seal of Texas

(Flag of Texas) (Seal of Texas)
State nickname: Lone Star State
Map of the U.S. with Texas highlighted
Other U.S. States
Capital Austin
Largest city Houston
Governor Rick Perry
Official languages None. English and Spanish are de facto.
Area 696,241 km² (2nd)
 - Land 678,907 km²
 - Water 17,333 km² (2.5%)
Population (2000)
 - Population 20,851,820 (2nd)
 - Density 30.75 /km² (28th)
Admission into Union
 - Date December 29, 1845
 - Order 28th
Time zoneCentral: UTC-6/-5
Mountain: UTC-7/-6 (part of west Texas)
Latitude25°50'N to 36°30'N
Longitude93°31'W to 106°38'W
Width 1,065 km
Length 1,270 km
 - Highest Guadalupe Peak, 2,667 m
 - Mean 520 m
 - Lowest 0 m
 - ISO 3166-2 US-TX
Web site www.state.tx.us

Texas joined the United States of America as its 28th member state in 1845. It has the postal abbreviation TX.

The state name derives from a word in a Caddoan language of the Hasinai, tejas, meaning friends or allies; Spanish explorers mistakenly applied the word to the people and their location.

Major state designations and symbols include:

With an area of 690,000 km2, Texas forms the second-largest US state in size after Alaska and the largest state in the contiguous 48 states. It has historically had a "larger than life" reputation, especially in cowboy films.



Texas borders New Mexico on the west, Oklahoma on the north (across the Red River), and Louisiana (across the Sabine River) and Arkansas on the east. To the southwest, across the Rio Grande, Texas borders the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, [[Nuevo Le󮝝, and Tamaulipas. To the southeast of Texas lies the Gulf of Mexico.

Texas lies in the south-central part of the United States of America. Depending on whom you talk to (and which part of Texas they come from), Texas forms part of the US South or part of the US Southwest. Texas shares some cultural elements with both regions, with more similarities with the South, especially Arkansas and Louisiana, in East Texas, and more similarities with the Southwest, especially Mexico and New Mexico, in West Texas and South Texas.


Main article: History of Texas

Texas can claim that 'Six Flags' have flown over its soil: the Fleur-de-lis of France, and the national flags of Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America and the Confederate States of America.

Pre-Historic Texas

For more information on Texas Pre-History, go to the Handbook of Texas On Line (http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/PP/bfp2.htm).

Native American Texas

Native American tribes that once lived inside the boundaries of present-day Texas include Apache, Atakapan, Bidai, Caddo, Comanche, Cherokee, Kiowa, Tonkawa, and Wichita. 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. For more information on Texas Indians, see Handbook of Texas On Line (http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/II/bzi4.html).

Spanish Texas

Prior to 1821, Texas was part of the Spanish colony of New Spain; see Spanish Texas for details.

On November 6, 1528 shipwrecked Spanish conquistador ?var N?Cabeza de Vaca became the first known European to set foot on Texas.

The Republic of Mexico (1821–1836)

After Mexican independence in 1821, Texas became a part of Mexico. See Mexican Texas.

The Texas Revolution (1835–1836)

Travis' Appeal for Aid from the Alamo (http://www.lsjunction.com/docs/appeal.htm) 24 February 1836 The Texas Declaration of Independence (http://www.lsjunction.com/docs/tdoi.htm) 2 March 1836 The Treaties of Velasco (http://www.lsjunction.com/docs/velasco.htm) 14 May 1836

The Republic of Texas (1836–1845)

The Republic of Texas included all the area now included in the state of Texas, although its self-proclaimed western and northwestern borders extended as far west as Santa Fe and as far northwest as present-day Wyoming, respectively.

Annexation of Texas (1845)

In 1845, Texas became the first and, to date, only internationally recognized independent, sovereign state directly admitted to the United States as a constituent state of the Union. (Vermont, which declared itself an independent Republic in 1777, and joined the Union in 1791, operated autonomously of the United States during that period, but was not internationally recognized. The self-proclaimed California Republic and the internationally-recognized Republic of Hawaii were both annexed by the United States, but were not immediately admited as states. The territory included in the California Republic operated under military rule from 1848 until California's admission to the Union in 1850. Hawaii was annexed in 1898, but was organized into a territory in 1900 and remained such until its admission in 1959.)

Resolution Annexing Texas to the United States (http://www.lsjunction.com/docs/annex.htm) 1 March 1845

Civil War Texas

Reconstruction Texas

Early Modern Texas

20th Century Texas

Important dates

Government and politics

Law and government

Austin is the capital of Texas. The state Capitol resembles the federal Capitol Building in Washington, DC, but is faced in pink granite and is topped by a statue of the "Goddess of Liberty" holding aloft a five-point Texas star. Like several other southern state capitols, it faces south instead of north. The capitol building is taller than the U.S. national capitol, but less massive.

Republican Rick Perry has served as Governor of Texas since December 2000 when the office was vacated by President-elect George W. Bush; two Republicans represent Texas in the U.S. Senate: Kay Bailey Hutchison (since 1993) and John Cornyn (since 2002).

The current Texas constitution, adopted in 1876, is the second longest in the nation. As with many state constitutions, it explicitly provides for the separation of powers and incorporates its bill of rights directly into the text of the constitution (as Article I). The bill of rights is considerably lengthier and more detailed than the federal Bill of Rights, and includes some provisions unique to Texas.

The executive branch consists of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Land Commissioner, Attorney General, Agriculture Commissioner, the three-member Railroad Commission, the State Board of Education, and the Secretary of State. Except for the Secretary of State—who is appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate—each of these officials is elected. There are also a large number of state agencies and numerous boards and commissions. Partly because of the large number of elected officials, the Governor's powers are quite limited in comparison to other state governors or the U.S. President. In popular lore and belief the Lieutenant Governor, who heads the Senate and appoints its committees, has more power than the Governor. The Governor commands the state militia and can veto bills passed by the Legislature and call special sessions of the Legislature. He or she also appoints members of various executive boards and fills judicial vacancies between elections.

The Legislature of Texas, like the legislature of every other state except Nebraska, is bicameral (that is, has two chambers). The House of Representatives has 150 members, while the Senate has 31. The speaker of the house (currently Tom Craddick R-Midland) leads the House, and the Lieutenant Governor (currently Republican David Dewhurst) leads the State Senate. The Legislature meets in regular session only once every two years.

The judicial system of Texas has a reputation as one of the most complex in the United States—if not in the world—with many layers and many overlapping jurisdictions. Texas has two courts of last resort: the Texas Supreme Court—which hears civil cases—and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Except in the case of some municipal benches, partisan elections choose all of the judges at all levels of the judiciary; the Governor fills vacancies by appointment.

Texas has a total of 254 counties, each run by a county commissioners' court headed by an elected "county judge".


Main article: Politics of Texas

Texas politics is currently dominated by the Republican Party, which has strong majorities in the Texas Senate and House of Representatives. Every executive branch official elected statewide is Republican, as is every member of Texas' two courts of last resort; no Democrat has won a statewide election since 1994. The majority of the state's delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives is Republican, as are both U.S. Senators.

Like other Southern states, Texas historically was a one-party state of the Democratic Party. The Democrats controlled a majority in the Texas House and in the state's Congressional delegation until the 2002 and 2004 elections, respectively.

Template:Texas Congressional Districts


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Caddo Lake
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El Capitan
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Hill Country

Texas has five major topographic regions:

  1. The Coastal Plain, from the Gulf of Mexico inland to about San Antonio and just southeast of Austin
  2. The Hill Country and Edwards Plateau, a hilly rocky area in central Texas bordered on the east by the Balcones Fault zone and Blackland Prairie.
  3. The Great Plains region extends into northern Texas, including the Llano Estacado and the Panhandle high plains
  4. The North Central Plains
  5. The Trans Pecos Desert.
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Texas map depicting rivers, roads and major cities

Articles on Texas regions:

For the 254 counties of Texas, see: List of Texas counties

Interstate highways

United States highways

North-south routesEast-west routes


Cotton harvesting in Texas.
Cotton harvesting in Texas.

Texas remained largely rural until World War II, with cattle ranching, oil, and agriculture as its main industries. In 1926 San Antonio had over 120,000 people, the largest population of any city in Texas.

After World War II, Texas became increasingly industralized. Its economy (circa 2000) relies largely on information technology, oil and natural gas, energy exploration and energy trading, agriculture, and manufacturing. Two major economic centers exist: Houston—Sugar Land—Baytown, centered in Houston, and Dallas—Fort Worth—Arlington, centered on Dallas and Fort Worth. Houston stands at the center of the petrochemical and NASA/space trades while Dallas functions as the center of the agricultural and information technology labor market in Texas. Other major cities include San Antonio, Austin, Brownsville, Lubbock, Amarillo, McAllen, Tyler, Odessa and Midland. Other important cities include Killeen, home to Fort Hood the largest military Post in the US, El Paso, Eagle Pass, and Laredo; these have particular significance due to their location on the border with Mexico, making them important trade points.

The state passed New York in the 1990s to become the second-largest U.S. state in population (after California). In 2001 Texas had a gross state product of $764 billion. Texas's growth is often attributed to the availability of jobs, the low cost of living, the lack of a state income tax, low taxation of business, limited government (the state legislature of Texas meets only once every two years) and favorable climate.

Film and Television

Texas is one of the top filmmaking states in the United States, just after California and New York. More than $1.2 billion has been spent in Texas just for filming since 1990.

The Texas Film Commission was founded for free services to filmmakers, from location research to traveling.


The people of Texas, historically often known as Texians, are now generally referred to as Texans.

As of 2003, the state had a population of 22,118,509, nearly one-third of them Latinos, some of whom have recently immigrated from Mexico, Central America, and South America. Others, known as Tejanos, have ancestors who have lived in Texas since before Texan independence, or at least for several generations.

Other population groups in Texas also exhibit great diversity. Frontier Texas saw settlements of Germans, particularly in Fredericksburg and New Braunfels. After the European revolutions of 1848, German, Polish, Swedish, Norwegian, Czech and French immigration grew, and continued until World War I. The influence of the diverse immigrants from Europe survives in the names of towns, styles of architecture, genres of music, and varieties of cuisine.

In recent years the Asian population in Texas has grown, especially in Houston and in Dallas. People from mainland China, Vietnam, India, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Pakistan and other countries have settled in Texas.

Texas will be before 2010 the fourth minority-majority state in the nation (after Hawaii, New Mexico and California). Moreover, according to the Texas state Data center, Latinos will become a majority by 2030.

Racial makeup of Texas:

2000 2003
White Non-Hispanic 52.4% 50.6%
Hispanic 32% 34.2%
Black 11.5% 11.5%
Asian 2.7%
American Indian 0.6%
Mixed/Other 2.5% 3.7%

2000 demographic data comes from the United States Census [2] (http://www.census.gov). 2003 demographic data comes from estimates by the Demographer of the State of Texas[3] (http://txsdc.utsa.edu/download/pdf/presentations/2005_02_23_Leadership_Group_Austin.pdf). The State Demographer does not currently have estimates on Asian and American Indian demographics for the state; these are included under 'Mixed/Other' for 2003. The 2003 estimates are necessarily not as accurate as the 2000 census.

The most prominent ancestry groups in Texas include Mexican (24.3%), African (11.5%), German (9.9%), American (7.2%), and Irish (7.2%).

Census data reports 7.8% of Texas's population as under 5, 28.2% under 18, and 9.9% over 64 years. Females made up 50.4% of the population.


The religious affiliations of the citizens of Texas are:

The three largest Protestant denominations in Texas are: Baptist (32% of the total state population), Methodist (9%), Pentecostal (3%).

Important cities and towns

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Main Article: List of cities in Texas
List of cities by population (2000)
List of metropolitan areas by population (2000)
Texas has 27 Metropolitan Statistical Areas or MSAs designated by the U.S. Census as of November 2004.


Colleges and universities

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Professional sports teams

The Houston Oilers, formerly based in Texas, moved to Memphis and later to Nashville, Tennessee, and became the Tennessee Titans. Houston also formerly had the Arena Football League team Houston Thunderbears, and the Minor League Soccer team Houston Hotshots.

Through 2004, El Paso had a minor-league baseball team in the Texas League, the El Paso Diablos, but the club moved to Springfield, Missouri after that season and became known as the Springfield Cardinals.

Miscellaneous information

  • Famous for their role in the history of Texas law enforcement, the Texas Rangers continue today to provide special law enforcement services to the state.
  • At 311 feet, Texas' capitol building in Austin is taller than the capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Other state designations

The pledge to the Texas Flag is:

Honor the Texas Flag
I pledge allegiance to thee
Texas, one, and indivisible

See also

Clip Art and Pictures

State Maps

  • US State Maps (http://classroomclipart.com/cgi-bin/kids/imageFolio.cgi?direct=Clipart/US_State_Maps)

State Flags

  • US State Flags (http://classroomclipart.com/cgi-bin/kids/imageFolio.cgi?direct=Clipart/State_Flags)

Lesson Plans, Resources and Activites

External links

Flag of Texas
Regions: Arklatex | Big Bend | Central Texas | Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex | East Texas | Edwards Plateau | Houston Metropolitan Area | North Texas | Northeast Texas | Piney Woods | Rio Grande Valley | Texas Hill Country | Texas Panhandle | Llano Estacado | Southeast Texas | South Texas | West Texas
Metropolitan Areas: Abilene | Amarillo | Austin-Round Rock | Beaumont-Port Arthur | Brownsville-Harlingen | College Station-Bryan | Corpus Christi | Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington | El Paso | Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown | Killeen-Temple | Laredo | Longview-Marshall | Lubbock | McAllen-Edinburg-Mission | Midland | Odessa | San Angelo | San Antonio | Sherman-Denison | Texarkana | Tyler | Victoria | Waco | Wichita Falls
See also: List of Texas counties

Political divisions of the United States Missing image
Flag of the United States

States Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming
Federal district District of Columbia
Insular areas American Samoa | Baker Island | Guam | Howland Island | Jarvis Island | Johnston Atoll | Kingman Reef | Midway Atoll | Navassa Island | Northern Mariana Islands | Palmyra Atoll | Puerto Rico | Virgin Islands | Wake Island

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