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Alternate meanings: See Texas (disambiguation)

State nickname: Lone Star State

Other U.S. States
Capital Austin
Largest City Houston
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water
 - % water
Ranked 2nd
696,241 km²
678,907 km²
17,333 km²
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 2nd
Admittance into Union
 - Order
 - Date

December 29, 1845
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Mountain: UTC-7/-6
All (except part of west Texas) lies in Central
25°50'N to 36°30'N
93°31'W to 106°38'W
1,065 km
1,270 km
2,667 meters
520 meters
0 meters
ISO 3166-2:US-TX

Texas is a state of the United States of America. It has the postal abbreviation TX.

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

Major state designations and symbols include:

Table of contents
1 Other state designations
2 Location
3 History
4 The Republic of Texas (1836-1845)
5 Important dates
6 Law and government
7 Geography
8 Interstate highways
9 United States highways
10 Economy
11 Demographics
12 Important cities and towns
13 Education
14 Colleges and universities
15 Professional sports teams
16 Miscellaneous information
17 Further reading
18 See also
19 External links

Other state designations

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

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


Texas has borders on the west with New Mexico, on the north with Oklahoma (across the Red River), and on the east with Louisiana (across the Sabine River) and with Arkansas. To the southwest, across the Rio Grande, Texas borders the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, 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 who 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 Louisiana, in East Texas, and more similarities with the Southwest, especially New Mexico, in West Texas.


Native American inhabitants of present-day Texas include Apache, Atakapa, Bidai, Caddo, Comanche, Karankawa, Kiowa, Tonkawa, and Wichita.

On November 6, 1528 shipwrecked Spanish conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca became the first known European to set foot on 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.

Texas formed part of the Spanish colony of New Spain; see Spanish Texas for details.

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

Also see Texas Revolution.

The Republic of Texas (1836-1845)

Apart from aboriginal nations and the Vermont Republic, Texas became the first sovereign nation which the United States annexed. (Other such annexations followed: the California Republic and the Republic of Hawaii.) The area now known as "Texas" comprised The Republic of Texas from 1836 to 1845, although its (disputed) western borders went as far as Santa Fe and northwestern borders as far as Wyoming.

Important dates

Law and government

Austin, also known as the "Live Music Capital of the World", functions as the capital of Texas. The state Capitol is loosely modeled after the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, except that it is built of pink granite and its dome is topped by a statue of the "Goddess of Liberty," holding aloft a five-point Texas star. 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; two Republicans represent Texas in the U.S. Senate: Kay Bailey Hutchison (since 1993) and John Cornyn (since 2002)

Texas has a republican constitution with separation of powers and a bill of rights more inclusive than the federal Bill of Rights. The executive branch consists of an elected Governor ("first among equals"), a Lieutenant Governor, an Attorney General, a Land Commissioner, an Agriculture Commissioner, three Railroad Commissioners, the state board of education, a governor-appointed Secretary of State and the bureaucracy. As a consequence of having so many officials elected, the Governor remains fairly weak and has few powers. In popular lore and belief the Lieutenant Governor has more power than the Governor, since he heads the State Senate and appoints committees. The Governor commands the state militia and can veto bills passed by the Legislature and call special sessions of the Legislature. He also appoints members of various executive boards and fills judicial vacancies between elections.

The Legislature of Texas has two chambers, a 150-member House of Representatives and a 31-member Senate. 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 "highest" courts, the Texas Supreme Court for 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 a county judge (elected by the entire county). Every county maintains a constitutionally-required county courthouse.


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 Prarie.
  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.

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


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

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: the Houston Metropolitan Area, centered in Houston, and Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, centered on those two cities. Houston stands the center of the petrochemical and NASA trades while Dallas functions as the center of the agricultural and information technology labor market in Texas. Other major cities include San Antonio, Brownsville, Lubbock, Amarillo, McAllen, Tyler, Odessa and Midland. Other important cities include 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). Texas's growth allegedly stems largely from the availability of jobs, the low cost of living, the generally high living-standard, the lack of a state income tax, low taxation of business, limited government (the state legislature of Texas meets only once every two years), warm weather, and perhaps the reputation of Texans as friendly people.


As of 2000, the state had a population of 20,851,820.

Texas has a large number of "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 independence from Mexico, or at least for several generations. Unlike other United States states that border Mexico, the culture of Texas gradually merges into that of Mexico. This results in a vibrant border region.

Texas has largely had the good fortune of generally avoiding the racial and ethnic problems found in many southern states, in the state of California, and in large cities of the U.S. Northeast. Texas's immigrant population and cultural connections with Mexico have allegedly had a highly positive influence on the state's economy.

But Texas's diversity comes from more than its Hispanic residents. Frontier Texas also saw settlements of Germans (particularly in Fredericksburg and New Braunfels), Poles, Swedes, Norwegians, Czechs, and the French, and their influence survives in the names of towns, in styles of architecture, in genres of music, and in varieties of cuisine.

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

Important cities and towns

Main Article: List of cities in Texas
List of cities by population (2000)
List of metropolitan areas by population (2000)
As of the 2000 Census Texas had 22 Metropolitan Statistical Areas or MSAs and 2 Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Areas or CMSAs; for a total of 24 metropolitan areas.


Colleges and universities

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.

Miscellaneous information

A number of ships of the United States Navy have borne the name USS Texas in honor of the state.

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.

Further reading

See also

External links

Regions: Central Texas | East Texas | North Texas | Northeast Texas | Rio Grande Valley | Texas Hill Country | Texas Panhandle | Llano Estacado | West Texas | Houston Metropolitan Area | Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex
Largest Metropolitan areas: Abilene | Amarillo | Austin- San Marcos | Beaumont- Port Arthur | Brownsville- Harlingen- San Benito | Bryan- College Station | Corpus Christi | Dallas-Fort Worth | El Paso | Houston-Galveston-Brazoria | Killeen- Temple | Laredo | Longview- Marshall | Lubbock | McAllen- Edinburg- Mission | Odessa-Midland | San Angelo | San Antonio | Sherman- Denison | Texarkana | Tyler | Victoria | Waco | Wichita Falls
See also: List of counties in Texas

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