A BRIEF HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF TEXAS TEJAS…
Texas, the great state whose land mass exceeds that of France, was once part of the Mexican empire. The name given the state comes from the Tejas Indian word which translates as “friend.”
Early settlers we’re mainly independent-minded adventurers who saw freedom and opportunity in the vast, unsettled areas. The earliest “official” settlers were members of Stephen F. Austin’s “Old 300” who received, for a nominal filing fee paid to the Mexican government, land grants of between 177 and 4,428 acres. The land was some of the most fertile prairie between the Trinity and Colorado Rivers, so why did Mexico offer such a bargain to settlers? Indians. Specifically Comanches and Lipan Apaches who terrorized Mexican settlements with impunity. The Mexican government hoped that a colonial presence would take on the bloody mantle of curtailing, if not displacing, the Indian threat. Although there was some degree of success with this tactic it tested the wisdom of Mexico’s immigration policy. Colonists were required, as part of the offer, to become citizens of and pay taxes to Mexico and adopt Roman Catholicism as their official religion. Forced allegiance to a foreign government and its religion did not appeal to the settler’s independent mindset and they resisted the edicts. Later, they flatly refused to abide by them.
In 1836 tension and conflicts gave way to full blown war. In March of that year, 183 brave “texicans” fought to the last man at the Battle for the Alamo. A few weeks later, 350 unarmed volunteer militiamen – mostly farmers, ranchers and merchants – were massacred at Goliad. “Remember the Alamo” and “Remember Goliad” became the war cry for Sam Houston’s remaining forces, who determined to win independence at any cost. In April at the Battle of San Jacinto, Sam Houston’s troops soundly defeated Santa Anna’s army, and the Mexican General agreed to an unconditional surrender. Thus was born the Republic of Texas.
A STAR IS BORN…
With independence won, “texicans” became “Texians” and would proudly carry that moniker until 1845, when Texas was admitted to the U.S (they then became Texans!). The ensuing war between the U.S. and Mexico resulted in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and The Gadsden Purchase with Mexico ceding – for $15,000,000 - a vast area of land from west Texas to Wyoming to California.
So, how did Texas become known as the Lone Star State? In 1836, the new republic adopted a flag whose design consisted of a gold 5-pointed star centered on an azure blue background. It was known as the “Lone Star” flag. When Texas became the 28th state (1845), a new design symbolic of the bravery, loyalty and purity of early settlers was adopted. It became the official state flag in 1933, and is the flag we salute to this day.
“deguello” is “The Assassin’s Song” that Santa Anna’s troops played while laying siege to the Alamo.
Santa Anna had a wooden leg, which resides at the Illinois State Military Museum.
Texas was never a territory of the U.S. and was never annexed. It entered the union through treaty, and is the only state to do so.
Farms and ranches cover 80% of the land mass in Texas.
There are no storm drains in the City of Lubbock.
The King Ranch in south Texas is larger than the State of Rhode Island.
The State of Texas is larger than France.
The official sport of Texas is rodeo. The first ever rodeo was held in Pecos, TX on July 4, 1883.