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History >> US Geography >> US State History

Texas

State History

Native Americans

Before Europeans arrived in the 1500s, Texas was the home to several Native American tribes. The Caddos lived in east Texas and were excellent farmers growing corn and sunflowers. The Karankawa people lived along the Gulf Coast of Texas. They were good at fishing and made dugout canoes for traveling. In the northwest lived the Comanche who were hunters and excellent horsemen. To the west and southwest were the Apache who were warlike and lived in wikiups or teepees.


Six different flags have flown over Texas
The Six Flags of Texas by ThornEth

Europeans Arrive

In 1519, the Spanish arrived in Texas when Alonso Alvarez de Pineda mapped the coastline. Another Spanish explorer, Cabeza de Vaca, shipwrecked off the coast of Texas in 1528. He met the local Indians and lived there for seven years. Later, he wrote of gold which inspired the Spanish conquistadors to explore Texas including Hernando do Soto. They never found the gold, however.

Colonization

It wasn't until the late 1600s that the Europeans began to settle in Texas. First the French claimed the land when Robert de La Salle arrived and established Fort St. Louis in 1685. The French didn't last long in Texas, however, and soon the Spanish took over.

The Spanish settled Texas by establishing Catholic missions. They built a number of missions across Texas where they would teach the Native Americans about Christianity. In 1718, San Antonio was established with the building of the Mission San Antonio de Valero. The mission would later be known as the Alamo.


The Alamo
The Alamo by Ellabell14

Republic of Mexico

Texas was a part of Mexico when Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821. In 1825, American Samuel Austin established a colony in Texas. He arrived with around 300 families and settled the land with the approval of the Mexican government. The colony grew rapidly, but also they began to have many disagreements with the Mexican government.

Republic of Texas

The tensions between the Texans and Mexico turned to battle in 1835 at the Battle of Gonzales. Fighting broke out throughout Texas and the Texas Revolution began. At the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, 180 Texans held off 4,000 Mexican soldiers for thirteen days before being killed. Despite the defeat, the Texans declared their independence and formed the Republic of Texas on March 2, 1836. Then, led by General Sam Houston, the Texans defeated the Mexicans at the Battle of San Jacinto.

Becoming a State

Although the Texans had declared independence, they were still very vulnerable to attacks from Mexico. Some people wanted to join the United States while others wanted to remain independent. Sam Houston convinced the Texan leaders that joining the United States would offer Texas protection from Mexico as well as new trade partners. On December 29, 1845 Texas was admitted as the 28th state.

Mexican-American War

When the U.S. admitted Texas as a state, this sparked a war between the U.S. and Mexico called the Mexican-American War. After a year and a half of fighting from 1846 to 1848, General Zachary Taylor led the U.S. to victory over Mexico. The war ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848.

Civil War

In 1861, when the Civil War began, Texas seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy. There was little actual fighting during the war in the state of Texas. After the war was lost, the slaves in Texas did not find out until a month later on June 19, 1865. This day is still celebrated today as Juneteenth. Texas was readmitted into the Union in 1870.

What does the "six flags over Texas" mean?

In the history of Texas there have been six nations, or flags, that have ruled the land including Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, United States, and the Confederacy.


The city of Dallas skyline
Dallas skyline by Pwu2005

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Works Cited

History >> US Geography >> US State History





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