State of Texas
ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Derived from the Caddo word tavshas, meaning "allies" or "friends."
NICKNAME: The Lone Star State.
ENTERED UNION: 29 December 1845 (28th).
SONG: "Texas, Our Texas;" "The Eyes of Texas."
FLAG: At the hoist is a vertical bar of blue with a single white five-pointed star; two horizontal bars of white and red cover the remainder of the flag.
OFFICIAL SEAL: A five-pointed star is encircled by olive and live oak branches, surrounded with the words "The State of Texas."
FISH: Guadelupe bass.
FLOWER: Bluebonnet; prickly pear cactus (plant).
LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Confederate Heroes Day, 19 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Presidents' Day, 3rd Monday in February; Texas Independence Day, 2 March: Cesar Cavez Day, 31 March (optional); Good Friday, Friday before Easter, March or April (optional); San Jacinto Day, 21 April; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Emancipation Day, 19 June; Independence Day, 4 July; Lyndon B. Johnson's Birthday, 27 August; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, September or October (optional); Veterans' Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November and the day following; Christmas, 24, 25, and 26 December.
TIME: 6 AM CST = noon GMT.
LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
Located in the west south-central United States, Texas is the largest of the 48 conterminous states. Texas's US rank slipped to second when Alaska entered the Union in 1959.
The total area of Texas is 266,807 sq mi (691,030 sq km), of which land comprises 262,017 sq mi (678,624 sq km) and inland water 4,790 sq mi (12,406 sq km). The state's land area represents 8.8% of the US mainland and 7.4% of the nation as a whole. The state's maximum e-w extension is 801 mi (1,289 km); its extreme n-s distance is 773 mi (1,244 km).
Texas is bordered on the n by Oklahoma and Arkansas (with part of the line formed by the Red River); on the e by Arkansas and Louisiana (with part of the Louisiana line defined by the Sabine River); on the se by the Gulf of Mexico; on the sw by the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Coahuila, and Chihuahua (with the line formed by the Rio Grande); and on the w by New Mexico. The state's geographic center is in McCulloch County, 15 mi (24 km) ne of Brady.
Large islands in the Gulf of Mexico belonging to Texas are Galveston, Matagorda, and Padre. The boundary length of the state totals 3,029 mi (4,875 km), including a general Gulf of Mexico coastline of 367 mi (591 km); the tidal shoreline is 3,359 mi (5,406 km).
Texas's major physiographic divisions are the Gulf Coastal Plain in the east and southeast; the North Central Plains, covering most of central Texas; the Great Plains, extending from west-central Texas up into the panhandle; and the mountainous trans-Pecos area in the extreme west.
Within the Gulf Coastal Plain are the Piney Woods, an extension of western Louisiana that introduces into East Texas for about 125 mi (200 km), and the Post Oak Belt, a flat region of mixed soil that gives way to the rolling prairie of the Blackland Belt, the state's most densely populated region. The Balcones Escarpment (so-called by the Spanish because its sharp profile suggests a balcony), a geological fault line running from the Rio Grande near Del Rio across central Texas, separates the Gulf Coastal Plain and Rio Grande Plain from the North Central Plains and south-central Hill Country, and in so doing, divides East Texas from West Texas, watered Texas from dry Texas, and (culturally speaking) the Old South from the burgeoning West. Sea level at the Gulf of Mexico is the lowest elevation of the state.
The North Central Plains extend from the Blackland Belt to the Cap Rock Escarpment, a natural boundary carved by erosion to heights of nearly 1,000 ft (300 m) in some places. Much of this plains region is rolling prairie, but the dude ranches of the Hill Country and the mineral-rich Burnet-Llano Basin are also found here. West of the Cap Rock Escarpment are the Great Plains, stretching north-south from the Panhandle Plains to the Edwards Plateau, just north of the Balcones Escarpment. Along the western edge of the panhandle and extending into New Mexico is the Llano Estacado (Staked Plains), an extension of the High Plains lying east of the base of the Rocky Mountains.
The trans-Pecos region, between the Pecos River and the Rio Grande, contains the highest point in the state: Guadalupe Peak, with an altitude of 8,749 ft (2,668 m), part of the Guadalupe Range extending southward from New Mexico into western Texas for about 20 mi (32 km). Also in the trans-Pecos region is the Diablo Plateau, which has no runoff to the sea and holds its scant water in lakes that often evaporate entirely. Farther south are the Davis Mountains, with a number of peaks rising above 7,000 ft (2,100 m), and Big Bend country (surrounded on three sides by the Rio Grande), whose canyons sometimes reach depths of nearly 2,000 ft (600 m). The Chisos Mountains, also exceeding 7,000 ft (2,100 m) at some points stand just north and west of the Rio Grande. The mean elevation of the state is approximately 1,700 ft (519 m).
For its vast expanse, Texas boasts few natural lakes. Caddo Lake, which lies in Texas and Louisiana, is the state's largest natural lake, though its present length of 20 mi (32 km) includes waters added by dam construction in Louisiana. Two artificial reservoirs—Amistad (shared with Mexico), near Del Rio, and Toledo Bend (shared with Louisiana) on the Sabine River—have respective storage capacities exceeding 3 million and 4 million acre-ft, and the Sam Rayburn Reservoir (covering 179 sq mi/464 sq km) has a capacity of 2.9 million acre-ft. All together, the state contains close to 200 major reservoirs, eight of which can store more than 1 million acre-ft of water. From the air, Texas looks as well watered as Minnesota, but the lakes are artificial, and much of the soil is dry.
One reason Texas has so many reservoirs is that it is blessed with a number of major river systems, although none is navigable for more than 50 mi (80 km) inland. Starting from the west, the Rio Grande, a majestic stream in some places but a trickling trough in others, imparts life to the Texas desert and serves as the international boundary with Mexico. Its total length of 1,896 mi (3,051 km), including segments in Colorado and New Mexico, makes the Rio Grande the nation's second-longest river, exceeded only by the Missouri-Mississippi river system. The Colorado River is the longest river wholly within the state, extending about 600 mi (970 km) on its journey across central and southeastern Texas to the Gulf of Mexico. Other important rivers include the Nueces, in whose brushy valley the range cattle industry began; the San Antonio, which stems from springs within the present city limits and flows, like most Texas rivers, to the Gulf of Mexico; the Brazos, which rises in New Mexico and stretches diagonally for about 840 mi (1,350 km) across Texas; the Trinity, which serves Fort Worth and Dallas; the San Jacinto, a short river but one of the most heavily trafficked in North America, overlapping the Houston Ship Channel, which connects the Port of Houston with the Gulf; the Neches, which makes an ocean port out of Beaumont; the Sabine, which has the largest water discharge (6,800,000 acre-ft) at its mouth of any Texas river; the Red, forming part of the northern boundary; and the Canadian, which crosses the Texas panhandle from New Mexico to Oklahoma, bringing moisture to the cattle raisers and wheat growers of that region. In all, Texas has about 3,700 identifiable streams, many of which dry up in the summer and flood during periods of rainfall.
Because of its extensive outcroppings of limestone, extending westward from the Balcones Escarpment, Texas contains a maze of caverns. Among the better-known caves are Longhorn Cavern in Burnet County; Wonder Cave, near San Marcos; the Caverns of Sonora, at Sonora; and Jack Pit Cave, in Menard County, which, with 19,000 ft (5,800 m) of passages, is the most extensive cave yet mapped in the state.
About 1 billion years ago, shallow seas covered much of Texas. After the seas receded, the land dropped gradually over millions of years, leaving a thick sediment that was then compressed into a long mountain range called the Ouachita Fold Belt. The sea was eventually restricted to a zone in West Texas called the Permian Basin, a giant evaporation pan holding gypsum and salt deposits hundreds of feet deep. As the mountain chain across central Texas eroded and the land continued to subside, the Rocky Mountains were uplifted, leaving deep cuts in Big Bend country and creating the Llano Estacado. The Gulf of Mexico subsided rapidly, depositing sediment accumulations several thousand feet deep, while salt domes formed over vast petroleum and sulfur deposits. All this geologic activity also deposited quicksilver in the Terlingua section of the Big Bend, built up the Horseshoe Atoll (a buried reef in west-central Texas that is the largest limestone reservoir in the nation), created uranium deposits in southern Texas, and preserved the oil-bearing Jurassic rocks of the northeast.
Texas's great size and topographic variety make climatic description difficult. Brownsville, at the mouth of the Rio Grande, has had no measurable snowfall during all the years that records have been kept, but Vega, in the panhandle, averages 23 in (58 cm) of snowfall per year. Near the Louisiana border, rainfall exceeds 56 in (142 cm) annually, while in parts of extreme West Texas, rainfall averages less than 8 in (20 cm). Average annual precipitation in Dallas is about 33.3 in (84 cm); in El Paso, 8.6 in (21 cm); and in Houston, 47.8 in (121.4 cm).
Generally, a maritime climate prevails along the Gulf coast, with continental conditions inland; the Balcones Escarpment is the main dividing line between the two zones, but they are not completely isolated from each other's influence. Texas has two basic seasons—a hot summer that may last from April through October, and a winter that starts in November and usually lasts until March. When summer ends, the state is too dry for autumn foliage, except in East Texas. Temperatures in El Paso, in the southwest, range from an average January minimum of 31°f (0°c) to an average July maximum of 95°f (35°c); at Amarillo, in the panhandle, from 22°f (−5°c) in January to 91°f (32°c) in July; and at Galveston, on the Gulf, from 48°f (9°c) in January to 88°f (31°c) in August. Perhaps the most startling contrast is in relative humidity, averaging 59% in the morning in El Paso, 73% in Amarillo, and 83% in Galveston. In the Texas panhandle, the average date of the first freeze is 1 November; in the lower Rio Grande Valley, 16 December. The last freeze arrives in the panhandle on 15 April, and in the lower Rio Grande Valley on 30 January. The valley thus falls only six weeks short of having a 12-month growing season while the panhandle approximates the growing season of the upper Midwest.
Record temperatures range from −23°f (−31°c) at Seminole, on 8 February 1933, to 120°f (49°c) at Seymour in north-central Texas on 12 August 1936. The greatest annual rainfall was 109 in (277 cm), measured in 1873 at Clarksville, just below the Red River in northeast Texas; the least annual rainfall, 1.786 in (4.47 cm), was recorded at Wink, near the New Mexico line, in 1956. Thrall, in central Texas, received 38.2 in (97 cm) of rain in 24 hours on 9-10 September 1921. Alvin, in Brazoria County on the Gulf Coast, had 43 in (109 cm) of rain on 25-26 July 1979, a national record for the most rainfall during a 24-hour period. Romero, on the New Mexico border, received a record 65 in (165 cm) of snow in the winter of 1923–24, and Hale Center, near Lubbock, measured 33 in (84 cm) during one storm in February 1956. The highest sustained wind velocity in Texas history, 145 mph (233 km/hr), occurred when Hurricane Carla hit Matagorda and Port Lavaca along the Gulf coast on 11 September 1961.
Hurricanes strike the Gulf coast about once every decade, usually in September or October. A hurricane on 19-20 August 1886 leveled the port of Indianola; the town (near present-day Port Lavaca) was never rebuilt. Galveston was the site of the most destructive storm in US history: on 8-9 September 1900, a hurricane blew across the island of 38,000 residents, leaving at least 6,000 dead (the exact total has never been ascertained) and leveling most of the city. A storm of equal intensity hit Galveston in mid-August 1915, but this time, the city was prepared; its new seawall held the toll to 275 deaths and $50 million worth of property damage. Because of well-planned damage-prevention and evacuation procedures, Hurricane Carla—at least as powerful as any previous hurricane—claimed no more than 34 lives.
Texas was not left unscathed by the hurricane season of 2005, which devastated much of the Gulf Coast region, particularly in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall at Buras, Louisiana on 29 August 2005, caused damage to Texas-operated oil production sites in the Gulf of Mexico. This led to the reduction of oil production by 95% during the immediate aftermath of the storm. Thousands of residents from New Orleans were evacuated to locations in Texas as 80% of their city was flooded by the storm and resulting levee damage. A month later, Hurricane Rita made landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border on 24 September 2005 as a Category 3 storm. Two oil refineries in Port Arthur were damaged and extensive flooding occurred in the region. As of early 2006, the estimated cost of damage for Hurricane Rita was about $10 billion in total losses.
Texas also lies in the path of "Tornado Alley," stretching across the Great Plains to Canada. The worst tornado in recent decades struck downtown Waco on 11 May 1953, killing 114 persons, injuring another 597, and destroying or damaging some 1,050 homes and 685 buildings. At least 115 tornadoes—the greatest concentration on record—occurred with Hurricane Beulah during 19-23 September 1967; the 67 tornadoes on 20 September set a record for the largest number of tornadoes on one day in the state.
Floods and droughts have also taken their toll in Texas. The worst flood occurred on 26-28 June 1954, when Hurricane Alice moved inland up the Rio Grande for several hundred miles, dropping 27 in (69 cm) of rain on Pandale above Del Rio. The Rio Grande rose 50 to 60 ft (15-18 m) within 48 hours, as a wall of water 86 ft (26 m) high in the Pecos River canyon fed it from the north. A Pecos River bridge built with a 50-ft (15-m) clearance was washed out, as was the international bridge linking Laredo with Mexico. Periodic droughts afflicted Texas in the 1930s and 1950s.
FLORA AND FAUNA
More than 500 species of grasses covered Texas when the Spanish and Anglo-Americans arrived. Although plowing and lack of soil conservation destroyed a considerable portion of this rich heritage, grassy pastureland still covers about two-thirds of the state. Bermuda grass is a favorite ground cover, especially an improved type called Coastal Bermuda, introduced after World War II. The prickly pear cactus is a mixed blessing: like the cedar and mesquite, it saps moisture and inhibits grass growth, but it does retain moisture in periods of drought and will survive the worst dry spells, so (with the spines burned off) it can be of great value to ranchers as cattle feed in difficult times. The bean of the mesquite also provides food for horses and cattle when they have little else to eat, and its wood is a favorite in barbecues and fireplaces.
Texas has more than 20 native trees, of which the catclaw, flowering mimosa, huisache, black persimmon, huajillo, and weeping juniper (unique to the Big Bend) are common only in Texas. Cottonwood grows along streams in almost every part of the state, while cypress inhabits the swamps. The flowering dogwood in East Texas draws tourists to that region every spring, and the largest bois d'arc trees in the United States are grown in the Red River Valley. Probably the most popular shade tree is the American (white) elm, which, like the gum tree, has considerable commercial importance. The magnolia is treasured for its grace and beauty; no home of substance in southeastern Texas would have a lawn without one. Of the principal hardwoods, the white oak is the most commercially valuable, the post oak the most common, and the live oak the most desirable for shade; the pecan is the state tree. Pines grow in two areas about 600 mi (970 km) apart—deep East Texas and the trans-Pecos region. In southeast Texas stands the Big Thicket, a unique area originally covering more than 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares) but now reduced to about one-tenth of that by lumbering. Gonzales County, in south-central Texas, is the home of palmettos, orchids, and other semitropical plants not found anywhere else in the state. Texas wild rice and several cactus species are classified as endangered throughout the state.
Possibly the rarest mammal in Texas is the red wolf, which inhabits the marshland between Houston and Beaumont, one of the most thickly settled areas of the state; owing to human encroachment and possible hybridization with coyotes, the red wolf is steadily disappearing despite efforts by naturalists throughout the United States to save it. On the other hand, Texans claim to have the largest number of white-tailed deer of any state in the Union, an estimated 3 million. Although the Hill Country is the white-tailed deer's natural habitat, the species has been transplanted successfully throughout the state.
Perhaps the most unusual mammal in Texas is the nine-banded armadillo. Originally confined to the Rio Grande border, the armadillo has gradually spread northward and eastward, crossing the Red River into Oklahoma and the Mississippi River into the Deep South. It accomplished these feats of transport by sucking in air until it becomes buoyant and then swimming across the water. The armadillo is likewise notable for always having its young in litters of identical quadruplets. The chief mammalian predators are the coyote, bobcat, and mountain lion.
Texas attracts more than 825 different kinds of birds, with bird life most abundant in the lower Rio Grande Valley and coastal plains. Argument continues as to whether Texas is the last home of the ivory-billed woodpecker, which lives in inaccessible swamps, preferably in cutover timber. Somewhat less rare is the pileated woodpecker, which also inhabits the forested lowlands. Other characteristic birds include the yellow-trimmed hooded warbler, which frequents the canebrakes and produces one of the most melodious songs of any Texas bird; the scissor-tailed flycatcher, known popularly as the scissor-tail; Attwater's greater prairie chicken, now declining because of inadequate protection from hunters and urbanization; the mockingbird, the state bird; and the roadrunner, also known as paisano and chaparral. Rare birds include the Mexican jacana, with a flesh comb and bright yellow-green wings; the white-throated swift, one of the world's fastest flyers; the Texas canyon wren, with a musical range of more than an octave; and the Colima warbler, which breeds only in the Chisos Mountains. In the Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge, along the central Gulf coast, lives the whooping crane, which has long been on the endangered list. Controversy surrounds the golden eagle, protected by federal law but despised by ranchers for allegedly preying on lambs and other young livestock.
Texas has its fair share of reptiles, including more than 100 species of snake, 16 of them poisonous, notably the deadly Texas coral snake. There are 10 kinds of rattlesnake, and some parts of West Texas hold annual rattlesnake roundups. Disappearing with the onset of urbanization are the horned toad, a small iguana-like lizard; the vinegarroon, a stinging scorpion; and the tarantula, a large, black, hairy spider that is scary to behold but basically harmless.
Caddo Lake, a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, is considered to be the site of the most diverse, native freshwater fish communities in the state. These include the American paddle-fish and the American eel. The area contains what is considered to be one of the best examples of a mature bald cypress swampland in the southern states. Inventories of the species found in the wetland include 189 species of trees and shrubs, 75 grasses, 42 woody vines, and 802 herbaceous plants. Animal life includes 216 species of bird, 47 mammal species, and 90 types of reptiles and amphibians.
In addition to providing protection for the animals on federal lists of threatened and endangered species, the state has its own wildlife protection programs. Among the animals classified as non-game (not hunted) and therefore given special consideration are the lesser yellow bat, spotted dolphin, reddish egret, white-tailed hawk, wood stork, Big Bend gecko, rock rattlesnake, Louisiana pine snake, white-lipped frog, giant toad, toothless blindcat, and blue sucker. In April 2006, The US Fish and Wildlife Service listed 28 Texas plant species as threatened or endangered, including ashy dogweed, black lace cactus, large-fruited sand-verbena, South Texas ambrosia, Terlingua creek cats-eye, Texas snowbells, Texas trailing phlox, and Texas wild-rice. In the same report, 62 animal species were listed as threatened or endangered in Texas (up from 43 in 1997), including the Mexican long-nosed bat, Louisiana black bear, bald eagle, ocelot, Mexican spotted owl, Texas blind salamander, Houston toad, black-capped vireo, two species of whale, and five species of turtle.
Conservation in Texas officially began with the creation of a State Department of Forestry in 1915; 11 years later, this body was reorganized as the Texas Forest Service, the name it retains today. The state's Soil Conservation Service was created in 1935.
The scarcity of water is the one environmental crisis every Texan must live with. Much of the state has absorbent soils, a high evaporation rate, vast areas without trees to hold moisture, and a rolling terrain susceptible to rapid runoff. The Texas Water Commission and Water Development Board direct the state's water supply and conservation programs. Various county and regional water authorities have been constituted, as have several water commissions for river systems. Probably the most complete system is that of the three Colorado River authorities—lower, central, and upper. The oldest of these is the Lower Colorado River Authority, created in 1934 by the Texas legislature to "control, store, preserve, and distribute" the waters of the Colorado River and its feeder streams. The authority exercises control over a 10-county area stretching from above Austin to the Gulf coast, overseeing flood control, municipal and industrial water supplies, irrigation, hydroelectric power generation, soil conservation, and recreation.
There are about 7.6 million acres (3 million hectares) of wetlands in the state, accounting for about 4.4% of the total land area. Caddo Lake, in Harrison and Marion Counties, was designated as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in 1993. Management for the site is under the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The most powerful conservation agency in Texas is the Railroad Commission. Originally established to regulate railroads, the commission extended its power to regulate oil and natural gas by virtue of its jurisdiction over the transportation of those products by rail and pipeline. In 1917, the state legislature empowered the commission to prevent the waste of oil and gas. The key step in conservation arrived with the discovery of oil in East Texas in 1930. With a national depression in full swing and the price of oil dropping to $1 a barrel, the commission agreed to halt ruinous overproduction, issuing the first proration order in April 1931. In a field composed of hundreds of small owners, however, control was difficult to establish; oil was bootlegged, the commission's authority broke down, Governor Ross S. Sterling declared martial law, and the state's conservation edicts were not heeded until the federal government stepped in to enforce them. As of 2003, the Railroad Commission is comprised of four divisions that oversee the state's oil and gas industry, gas utilities, pipeline and rail safety, safety in the liquefied petroleum gas industry, and coal and uranium mining.
As in other states, hazardous wastes have become an environmental concern in Texas. In 1984, for example, a suit was brought against eight oil and chemical companies, including both Exxon and Shell Oil, alleging that they had dumped hazardous wastes at four sites in Harris County. The agency that oversees compliance with hazardous-waste statutes is the Hazardous and Solid Waste Division of the Texas Water Commission. In 2003, some 261.9 million lb of toxic chemicals were released in the state. That year, Texas ranked third of all the states in the nation for the highest levels of toxic chemicals released (following Alaska and Nevada). In 2003, Texas had 298 hazardous waste sites listed in the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) database, 43 of which were on the National Priorities List as of 2006, including Crystal City Airport and two Army ammunitions plants (in Texarkana and Karnack). In 2005, the EPA spent over $11.5 million through the Superfund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. The same year, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $49.2 million to provide loans for wastewater system improvements to municipalities and interstate agencies.
The state has lost about one-half of its original wetlands, which reportedly covered about 5% of the state's total land area in 2003. The three agencies that define wetlands disagree on the total wetlands are in the state, with estimates ranging from about 6 million acres (2.4 million hectares) to 8 million acres (3.2 million hectares).
In 1998 Texas overtook New York as the nation's second most populous state. Between 1990 and 2000 Texas's population grew from 16,986,510 to 20,851,820, a gain of 22.8%, and the second-largest increase for the decade among the 50 states. The state had placed fourth in the 1970 census, with a population of 11,196,730, but had surpassed Pennsylvania in 1974. The estimated population as of 2005 was 22,859,968, an increase of 9.6% since 2000. The population is projected to reach 26.5 million by 2015 and 30.8 million by 2025. The population density in 2004 was 86 persons per sq mi.
At the first decennial census of 1850, less than five years after Texas had become a state, the population totaled 212,592. It reached 1,600,000 by the early 1880s (when the state ranked eleventh), passed 4,000,000 during World War I, and jumped to 7,700,000 in 1950. The slowest period of growth occurred during the Depression decade (1930–40) when the population rose only 10%, and the state was surpassed by California. The growth rate ranged between 17% and 27% for each decade from the 1940s through the 1970s; it was 19.4% between 1980 and 1990.
In 1870, only one out of 68 Texans was 65 years of age or older; by 1990, the proportion was one out of 10. In 2004, the median age for Texans was 32.9. In the same year, 27.9% of the populace were under age 18 while 9.9% was age 65 or older.
The largest metropolitan area in 2004 was Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington with an estimated 5,700,256 people. Close behind was the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown area, with 5,180,443 residents. Houston, the largest city proper in Texas and fourth-largest city in the United States, had an estimated 2004 population of 2,012,626. San Antonio proper, the eighth-largest city in the United States, had an estimated population of 1,236,249. Next was Dallas (ninth in the nation), with 1,210,393; followed by Austin, 681,804; Fort Worth, 603,337; El Paso, 592,099; Arlington, 359,467; and Corpus Christi, 281,196. With the exception of El Paso, in the far western corner of the trans-Peco region, most of the larger cities are situated along the Gulf coast or on or near an axis that extends north-south from Wichita Falls to Corpus Christi, in the heart of the Blackland Belt.
As white settlers pushed toward Texas during the 19th century, many Indian groups moved west and south into the region. The most notable tribes were the Comanche, Wichita, Kiowa, Apache, Choctaw, and Cherokee. Also entering in significant numbers were the Kickapoo and Potawatomi from Illinois, the Delaware and Shawnee from Missouri, the Quapaw from Arkansas, and the Creek from Alabama and Georgia. One of the few Texas tribes that has survived to the present time as an identifiable group is the Alabama-Coushatta, who inhabit a 4,351-acre (1,761-hectare) reservation in Polk County, 90 mi (145 km) northeast of Houston. The Tigua, living in Texas since the 1680s, were recognized by a federal law in 1968 that transferred all responsibility for them to the state of Texas. The two Indian reservations number about 500 persons each. Overall, at the 2000 census, there were 118,362 American Indians living in Texas. In 2004, 0.7% of the state's population was American Indian.
Blacks have been integral to the history of Texas ever since a black Moor named Estevanico was shipwrecked near present-day Galveston in 1528. By 1860, Texas had 182,921 blacks, or 30% of the total population, of whom only 355 were free. Once emancipated, blacks made effective use of the franchise, electing two of their number to the state Senate and nine to the House in 1868. After the return of the Democratic Party to political dominance, however, the power of blacks steadily diminished. Since then, their numbers have grown, but their proportion of the total population has dwindled, although Houston and Dallas were, respectively, about 25% and 26% black at the 2000 census. In 2000, 2,404,566 blacks lived in the state, which ranked second behind New York in the size of its black population. In 2004, 11.7% of the state's population was black.
Hispanics and Latinos, the largest minority in Texas, numbered 6,669,666 in 2000, representing 32% of the population, an increase over 1990, when Texans of Hispanic origin represented 25.5% of the total. In 2004, 34.6% of the population was Hispanic or Latino. Mostly of Mexican ancestry, they are nevertheless a heterogeneous group, divided by history, geography, and economic circumstances. Hispanics have been elected to the state legislature and to the US Congress. In 1980, the Houston independent school district, the state's largest, reported more Hispanic students than Anglos for the first time in its history.
Altogether, Texas has nearly 30 identifiable ethnic groups. Certain areas of central Texas are heavily Germanic and Czech. The first permanent Polish colony in the United States was established at Panna Maria, near San Antonio, in 1854. Texas has one of the largest colonies of Wends in the world, principally at Serbin in central Texas. Significant numbers of Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians have also settled in Texas.
As of 2000, foreign-born Texans numbered 2,899,642 (13.9% of the total population). In the same year, Asians numbered 562,319 (the third-largest Asian population among the 50 states). The 2000 census counted 105,829 Chinese (nearly double the 1990 total of 55,023), 58,340 Filipinos, 129,365 Asian Indians (more than triple the 1990 figure of 40,506), 45,571 Koreans, 17,120 Japanese, and 10,114 Laotians. Of the 134,961 Vietnamese (up from 60,649 in 1990), many were refugees who resettled in Texas beginning in 1975. Pacific Islanders numbered 14,434 in 2000. In 2004, 3.2% of the population was Asian, and 0.1% Pacific Islander. In 2004, 1% of the population reported origin of two or more races.
The term "Anglos" denotes all whites except Spanish-surnamed or Spanish-speaking individuals.
The Indians of Texas are mostly descendants of the Alabama-Coushatta who came to Texas in the 19th century. The few Indian place-names include Texas itself, Pecos, Waco, and Toyah.
Most of the regional features in Texas English derive from the influx of South Midland and Southern speakers, with a noticeable Spanish flavor from older as well as more recent loans. Settlers from the Gulf Coast states brought such terms as snap beans (green beans), the widespread pail (here probably of Southern rather the Northern origin), and carry (escort), with a 47% frequency in north Texas and 22% in the south. Louisiana praline
|Texas—Counties, County Seats, and County Areas and Populations|
|COUNTY||COUNTY SEAT||LAND AREA (SQ MI)||POPULATION (2005 EST.)||COUNTY||COUNTY SEAT||LAND AREA (SQ MI)||POPULATION (2005 EST.)|
|Angelina||Lufkin||807||81,557||El Paso||El Paso||1,014||721,598|
|Comal||New Braunfels||555||96,018||Howard||Big Spring||901||32,522|
|Crosby||Crosbyton||898||6,686||Jeff Davis||Ft. Davis||2,258||2,306|
|Texas—Counties, County Seats, and County Areas and Populations (cont.)|
|COUNTY||COUNTY SEAT||LAND AREA (SQ MI)||POPULATION (2005 EST.)||COUNTY||COUNTY SEAT||LAND AREA (SQ MI)||POPULATION (2005 EST.)|
|Lavaca||Hallettsville||971||18,925||San Augustine||San Augustine||524||8,907|
|Liberty||Liberty||1,174||75,141||San Saba||San Saba||1,136||6,076|
|Live Oak||George West||1,057||11,717||Shackelford||Albany||915||3,167|
|McCulloch||Brady||1,071||7,956||Starr||Rio Grande City||1,226||60,941|
|Milam||Cameron||1,019||25,354||Tom Green||San Angelo||1,515||103,611|
|Motley||Matador||959||1,299||Val Verde||Del Rio||3,150||47,596|
|Palo Pinto||Palo Pinto||949||27,478||Wheeler||Wheeler||905||4,799|
|Red River||Clarksville||1,054||13,575||Zavala||Crystal City||1,298||11,796|
(pecan patty) is now widespread, but banquette (sidewalk) appears only in the extreme southeast corner.
Southern and South Midland terms were largely introduced by settlers from Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee; their use ranges from northeast to west, but with declining frequency in the trans-Pecos area. Examples are clabber cheese (cottage cheese), mosquito hawk (dragonfly), croker sack (burlap bag), mouth harp (harmonica), branch (stream), and dog irons (andirons). A dialect survey showed pallet (bed on the floor) with a 90% overall frequency; light bread (white bread) and pullybone (wishbone), each 78%; and you-all, more than 80%. General Midland terms also widespread in the state are sook! (call to calves), blinds (roller shades), piece (a certain distance), and quarter till five (4:45).
Some terms exhibit uneven distribution. Examples include mott (clump of trees) in the south and southwest, sugan (a wool-filled comforter for a cowboy's bedroll) in the west, Midland draw (dry streambed) in the west and southwest, South Midland peckerwood (woodpecker) in most of the state except west of the Pecos, poke (paper bag) in the central and northern areas, and surly (euphemism for bull) in the west. A curious result of dialect mixture is the appearance of a number of hybrids combining two different dialects, such as freeseed peach from freestone and clearseed, fire mantel and mantel board from fireboard and mantel, flapcakes from flapjacks and pancakes, and horse doctor from horsefly and snake doctor. The large sandwich is known as a torpedo in San Antonio and a poorboy in Houston.
In 2000, 13,230,765 Texans—68.8% of the population five years old or older—spoke only English at home, down from 74.6% in 1990.
The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "African languages" includes Amharic, Ibo, Twi, Yoruba, Bantu, Swahili, and Somali. The category "Other Asian languages" includes Dravidian languages, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, and Turkish. The category "Other Indic languages" includes Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, and Romany. The category "Other Slavic languages" includes Czech, Slovak, and Ukrainian.
|Population 5 years and over||19,241,518||100.0|
|Speak only English||13,230,765||68.8|
|Speak a language other than English||6,010,753||31.2|
|Speak a language other than English||6,010,753||31.2|
|Spanish or Spanish Creole||5,195,182||27.0|
|French (incl. Patois, Cajun)||62,274||0.3|
|Other Asian languages||32,780||0.2|
|Other Indic languages||24,454||0.1|
|Other Slavic languages||15,448||0.1|
Texas pronunciation is largely South Midland, with such characteristic forms as /caow/, and /naow/ for cow and now and /dyoo/ for due, although /doo/ is now more common in urban areas. In the German settlement around New Braunfels are heard a few loanwords such as smearcase (cottage cheese), krebbel (doughnut), clook (setting hen), and oma and opa for grandmother and grandfather.
Spanish has been the major foreign-language influence. In areas like Laredo and Brownsville, along the Rio Grande, as many as 90% of the people may be bilingual; in northeast Texas, however, Spanish is as foreign as French. In the days of the early Spanish ranchers, standard English adopted hacienda, ranch, burro, canyon, and lariat; in the southwestern cattle country are heard la reata (lasso), remuda (group of horses), and resaca (pond), along with the acequia (irrigation ditch), pilon (something extra, as a trip), and olla (water jar). The presence of the large Spanish-speaking population was a major factor in the passage of the state's bilingual education law, as a result of which numerous school programs in both English and Spanish are now offered; in a ruling issued in January 1981, US District Judge William Wayne Justice ruled that by 1987, the state must expand such programs to cover all Spanish-speaking students. Legislation enacted in 1995 established a requirement for schools with a certain number of students with limited English proficiency to be required to have bilingual and/or English as a second language programs. About one-sixth of all Texas counties—and a great many cities—are named for Mexicans or Spaniards or after place-names in Spain or Mexico.
Because of its Spanish heritage, Texas originally was entirely Roman Catholic except for unconverted Indians. Consequently, the early history of Texas is almost identical with that of the Roman Catholic Church in the area. Under the Mexican Republic, the Catholic Church continued as the sole recognized religious body. In order to receive the generous land grants given by the Mexicans, Anglo-American immigrants had to sign a paper saying that they followed the Catholic religion. With an average grant of 4,605 acres (1,864 hectares) as bait, many early Protestants and atheists must have felt little hesitancy about becoming instant Catholics.
The Mexican government was careless about enforcing adherence to the Catholic faith in Texas, however, and many Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians drifted in from the east. The Methodist practice of having itinerant ministers range over frontier areas was particularly well suited to the Texas scene and, in 1837, the church hierarchy sent three preachers to the new republic. The first presbytery had been formed by that date and Baptists had organized in Houston by 1840. Swedish and German immigrants brought their Lutheranism with them; the first German Lutheran synod was organized in Houston in 1851.
Geographically, Texas tends to be heavily Protestant in the north and east and Catholic in the south and southwest. In 2004, there were about 6,050,986 Roman Catholics in the state. Leading Protestant denominations and their known adherents in 2000 (unless otherwise indicated) were the Southern Baptist Convention, 3,519,459; the United Methodist Church, 796,306 (in 2004); Churches of Christ, 377,264; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 243,957 (in 2006); Assemblies of God, 228,098; the Presbyterian Church USA, 180,315; the Episcopal Church, 177,910; Independent Charismatic Churches, 159,449; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 155,019; Independent Non-Charismatic Churches, 145,249; and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, 140,106. There were an estimated 128,000 Jews, 114,999 Muslims, and about 10,777 adherents to the Baha'i faith. There were about 9.2 million people (44.5% of the population) who were not counted as members of any religious organization.
The Roman Catholic Church has an archdiocese in San Antonio. The Latter-day Saints dedicated a new temple at San Antonio in 2005; there are three other temples in the state.
Texas ranks first among the 50 states in total railroad mileage, highway mileage, and number of airports, and second only to California in motor vehicle registrations and in number of general aviation aircraft.
Transportation has been a severe problem for Texas because of the state's extraordinary size and sometimes difficult terrain; one of the more unusual experiments in US transport history was the use of camels in southwestern Texas during the mid-1800s. The Republic of Texas authorized railroad construction as early as 1836, but the financial panic of 1837 helped kill that attempt. Not until 1853 did the state's first railroad—from Harrisburg (now incorporated into Houston) to Stafford's Point, 20 mi (32 km) to the west—come into service. At the outbreak of the Civil War, 10 railroads were operating, all but two connected with seaports. Although the state legislature in 1852 had offered railroad companies eight sections (5,120 acres/2,072 hectares) of land per mile of road construction and doubled that offer two years later, Texas lacked sufficient capital to satisfy its railroad-building needs until the war was over. The state generally held to the 10,240-acre (4,144-hectare) figure until all grants ceased in 1882. In all, Texas granted more than 50,000 sq mi (130,000 sq km) to railroad companies.
In 1870, Texas had fewer than 600 mi (970 km) of track. Ten years later, it had 3,026 mi (4,870 km). By 1920, there was 16,049 mi (25,828 km) of track in the state. In 1932, railroad trackage peaked with 17,078 mi (27,484 km) of track. By 2003 however, railroad track mileage had dwindled to 14,049 rail mi (22,618 km), with 11,432 mi (18,405 km) of the total being Class I railroad right-of-way. Still, total rail mileage in Texas still ranks higher than in any other state. The state in 2003, was served by 44 railroads, of which there were three Class I carriers: the Burlington Northern Santa Fe; the Kansas City Southern; and the Union Pacific. As of 2006, Amtrak provided passenger train service in Texas via its Sunset Limited (New Orleans-Los Angeles) train from Beaumont through Houston and San Antonio to El Paso, the Texas Eagle (Chicago-San Antonio) train, and its Heartland Flyer (Oklahoma City to Fort Worth) train.
In mid-1983, Dallas-area voters approved the creation of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system (DART) to serve the city and 13 suburbs. Surface rail routes, running 160 mi (257 km), were to be constructed and bus service doubled at an expense of some $8.9 billion over a 26-year period. As of March 2006, DART operated 45 miles (72.5 km) of surface light rail line. In addition, DART and the Ft. Worth Transportation Authority jointly operated the Trinity Railway Express (TRE), a 35 mile (56 km) light rail line that connects the cities of Dallas and Ft Worth with the Dallas-Ft Worth Regional Airport. Ft. Worth also has the state's only true subway, a one-mi (1.6-km) line from a parking lot to a downtown shipping and office center.
Texas has by far the most road mileage of any state. In 2004, Texas had 303,176 mi (488,113 km) of public roadway The leading interstate highways are I-10 and I-20, respectively linking Houston and the Dallas-Ft. Worth Areas with El Paso in the west, and I-35 and I-45, connecting Dallas-Ft. Worth with, respectively, San Antonio (via Austin) and Galveston (via Houston). There were 14,543,528 licensed drivers in 2004. Registered motor vehicles in 2004 included some 8.621 million automobiles, about 7.851 million trucks of all types, around 284,000 motorcycles, and some 18,000 buses.
River transport did not become commercially successful until the end of the 19th century, when the Houston Ship Channel was dredged along the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou for more than 50 mi (80 km), and another channel was dredged down the Neches River to make a seaport out of Beaumont. With 13 major seaports and many shallow-water ports, Texas has been a major factor in waterborne commerce since the early 1950s. As of 2004, the state of Texas had four ports that ranked among the top 10 busiest ports in the United States. The Port of Houston was the nation's second most active harbor, with 202.047 million tons of cargo handled in 2004. In that same year, the ports of Beaumont, Corpus Christie and Texas City were ranked as the fourth, sixth, and ninth busiest ports, respectively, handling a respective 91.697 million tons, 78.924 million tons and 68.282 million tons of cargo. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway begins in Brownsville, at the mouth of the Rio Grande, and extends across Texas for 423 mi (681 km) on its way to Florida and its connections with a similar waterway on the Atlantic. In 2004, Texas had 834 mi (1,342 km) of navigable inland waterways. In 2003, waterborne shipments totaled 473.941 million tons.
After American entry into World War I, Texas began to build airfields for training grounds. When the war ended, many US fliers returned to Texas and became civilian commercial pilots, carrying air mail (from 1926), dusting crops, and mapping potential oil fields. In 2005, Texas had a total of 1,913 public and private-use aviation-related facilities. This included 1,435 airports, 470 heliports, and 8 STOL ports (Short Take-Off and Landing). Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport was the state's leading air terminal, with 28,063,035 passengers enplaned in 2004, followed by George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport with 17,322,065 enplanements that same year, making them the fourth- and tenth-busiest airports in the United States, respectively. Other major airports in the state in 2004 were: Houston-William P Hobby Airport (3,960,890 enplanements); Austin-Bergstrom International (3,446,564 enplanements); and San Antonio International (3,376,750 enplanements), making them the 46th-, 47th-, and 48th-busiest airports in the United States, respectively.
Although a site near Lewisville, in Denton County, contains artifacts that might be more than 37,000 years old, the generally accepted date for the earliest human presence in the region now known as Texas is the Llano civilization, dating from 12,000 years ago. Prehistoric Indians in Texas failed to develop as complex technologies as their neighbors to the west and east. When the first Europeans arrived in the 16th century, the Indians had developed little in the way of pottery or basketry, and had shown little interest in agriculture except in the extreme east and northeast, and possibly west of the Pecos. They were still largely hunter-gatherers on whom the more technologically complex cultures of Mexico and the southeastern United States had little effect.
Along the Gulf coast and overlapping into northeastern Mexico were the Coahuiltecan and Karankawa peoples. They lived in a hostile environment, consuming berries in season, animal dung, spiders, and an occasional deer, bison, or jabalina. In central Texas lived the Tonkawa, who hunted buffalo, slept in tepees, used dogs for hauling, and had a communal structure akin to that of the Plains Indians. Unlike the Karankawa, who were tall, the Tonkawa were of average height, tattooed, and dressed in breech-clouts—long for men, short for women. They proved extremely susceptible to European diseases and evidently died out, whereas the Karankawa migrated to northern Mexico.
About two dozen tribes of Caddo in eastern and northeastern Texas were at the time of European penetration the most technologically complex Indians living within the state's present borders. Having developed agriculture, the Caddo were relatively sedentary and village oriented. Those belonging to the Hasinai Confederation called each other tayshas, a term that translates as "allies" or "friends." When the Hasinai told Spanish explorers that they were tayshas, the Spaniards wrote the word as Tejas, which in time became Texas. The Caddo lived in the gentle portion of Texas, where woods, wild fruits, and berries abound, and where game was plentiful until the advent of European civilization. Life was so good, in fact, that several members of an expedition under Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, reaching Matagorda Bay on 15 February 1685, chose to desert to the Caddo rather than remain with their fellow Frenchmen. Henri de Tonti, who entered the region somewhat later, reported that one Caddo tribe had a woman as chief. The Caddo were also unusual in their belief that three women had created the world.
In trans-Pecos Texas, to the west, lived a fourth Indian group, the Jumano, probably descendants of the Pueblo cultures. Some of the Jumano were nomadic hunters in the Davis and Chisos mountains. Others became farmers along the Rio Grande and the lower Rio Conchos, making and using some pottery and raising good crops of corn, beans, squash, and possibly cotton. Probably the successive droughts so common to the region began to thin out their ranks, and the coming of the Spanish removed them from the historical picture altogether.
The first European to enter Texas was Spanish explorer Alonso Alvarez de Pineda, who sailed into the mouth of the Rio Grande in 1519. Basically, the Spanish left the Texas Indians alone for more than 150 years. Sometimes an accident placed Spaniards in Texas, or sometimes they entered by design, but generally, the Spanish looked on Texas as too remote from Florida and the Mexico high-lands—where most of their colonizing occurred—for successful settlement. A remarkable episode of this period involves the survivors of the Pánfilo de Narváez expedition, which had been commissioned to occupy the Gulf of Mexico coast from Mexico to Florida. Four shipwrecked men, led by Álvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, were washed ashore on a Texas sandbar on 6 November 1528: three were Spaniards, and one was the Moor Estevanico. For eight years, they wandered virtually naked among the Texas Indians, sometimes as slaves and sometimes as free men, alternately blistered by the summer sun and freezing under winter ice storms. Using a deer bone as a needle, Cabeza removed an arrowhead from deep in an Indian's chest—a bit of surgical magic that earned him treatment as a demigod, for a time. Finally, the four Europeans reached the west coast of Mexico, from where Cabeza de Vaca returned home a hero. The other two Spaniards remained in Mexico, but Estevanico joined the Fray Marcos de Niza expedition as a guide, dying at the hands of Pueblo Indians in New Mexico in 1539. The trail he helped blaze through the High Plains of West Texas served as the route for the expedition a year later by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado. The first Texas towns and missions were begun by Spaniards in West Texas, outside present-day El Paso. Ysleta del Sur was founded in 1682, almost a decade before the earliest East Texas missions. But Ysleta was 500 mi (800 km) from anything else resembling a settlement in Texas, and the Spanish considered it a part of New Mexico.
What changed the Spaniards' attitude toward the colonization of Texas was the establishment of Ft. St. Louis by La Salle on the Gulf coast in 1685. Four years later, Capt. Alonso de León, governor of Coahuila, sent out an expedition to expel the French. Father Damien Massanet, a Coahuilan priest, accompanied the León expedition and was charged with establishing a mission near wherever the captain built a fort. During the next several decades these two men and their successors established a string of mission-forts across Texas. After fear of the French presence eased, Spain tended to neglect these establishments. But when the French entered Louisiana in force during the early 18th century, Spanish fears of French expansion were re-ignited. In 1718, the Spanish began to build a mission, San Antonio de Valero, and a fort, San Antonio de Bexar, at the site of the present city of San Antonio. As a halfway post between Mexico and the Louisiana border, San Antonio grew to be Texas's most important city during the Spanish period.
Until the 19th century, the United States showed little interest in Texas. But the purchase of Louisiana Territory from the French by the US government in 1803 made Texas a next-door neighbor, and "filibusters" (military adventurers) began to filter across the border into Spanish territory. The best known is Philip Nolan, an Irish-born intriguer who started spending time in Texas as early as 1790. Ostensibly, he was trading horses with the Indians, but the Spanish associated him with Aaron Burr's schemes to excise the Spanish southwest from its owners. In the summer of 1800, the Spanish governor of Texas, Juan Bautista Elguezábal, ordered that Nolan should be arrested if he returned. In December of that year, Nolan returned with a small force of 20 men and built a fort near Nacogdoches; he was killed fighting the Spanish on 4 March 1801. Nolan is remembered for having drafted the first Anglo-American map of Texas.
In 1810–11, the Mexicans launched their revolution against Spain, and though only an outpost, Texas as a Spanish-Mexican colony was naturally involved. In 1813, Texas formally declared its independence of Spain and its intention of becoming a Mexican state, with its capital at San Antonio. Various Anglo-Americans entered the new state to serve on behalf of Mexico. Pirates also aided the Mexican cause: on Galveston Island, Luis Aury preyed on Spanish shipping, and after 1816, his place was taken by Jean Laffite, who privateered against both Spanish and US shipping until the US Navy drove him out.
The Spanish finally gave up on Mexico in 1821, leaving Texas as a Mexican province with a non-Indian population of about 7,000. The only towns of significant size were Goliad, San Antonio (commonly called Bexar), and Nacogdoches. A year earlier, Moses Austin of Missouri had received permission from Spanish authorities to introduce Anglo-American colonists into Texas, presumably as a barrier against aggression by the United States. When Spanish rule ended, his son, Stephen F. Austin, succeeded his late father as head of the colonization movement, securing permission from the new Mexican government to settle 300 families in the area between the lower Colorado and Brazos rivers. After Austin had set-tled his "Old Three Hundred" in 1821, he received permission to settle more, and within a decade, his colonists numbered more than 5,000. The Mexicans invested Austin with the responsibilities and privileges of an empresario: authority to run commerce, maintain militia, administer justice, and hand out land titles. Other empresarios made similar arrangements. Green DeWitt, also of Missouri, settled several hundred families farther west and founded the town of Gonzales in 1825. Hayden Edwards received a grant to settle 800 families near Nacogdoches. Mexicans were also permitted to organize colonies. Texas thus began a pattern of growth from the outside that has continued to the present day.
Between 1821 and 1835, the population of non-Indian Texas expanded to between 35,000 and 50,000. Most new settlers were Anglo-Americans who often brought their prejudices against Mexico with them, whether they were from the North or the South. They disliked Mexican culture, Mexican folkways, Mexican justice—and the Protestants among them resented the omnipresence of the Roman Catholic Church. All of these Anglo-American settlers had ties to the United States, and many undoubtedly longed for the time when they would live under the American flag again. The ineptitude of the Mexican government made the situation even worse. In 1826, Hayden Edwards organized the Republic of Fredonia and tried to drive the Mexicans from East Texas, but in the end, he had to flee the province himself. Troubled by the rising spirit of rebellion, the Mexican Congress enacted the Law of 1830, which forbade most immigration and imposed duties on all imports. Anglo-Americans in Texas responded with the same anger that New Englanders had once shown when Britain imposed tax restrictions on the original American colonies.
At first, the Anglo-Texans insisted they were opposing Mexican political excesses, not the Mexican nation. Their hope lay with Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna, who was leading a liberal revolution against President Anastasio Bustamante. Skirmishes between the Anglo-Texans and Mexican officials remained sporadic and localized until 1833 when Santa Anna became president of Mexico and almost immediately dropped his liberal stance. Texans sent Austin to Mexico City to petition Santa Anna to rescind the Law of 1830, to allow the use of English in public business, and to make Texas (then an appendage of Coahuila) a separate state. After several months in Mexico City, Austin was arrested on his way back to Texas and was imprisoned for a year. When Santa Anna tried to enforce customs collections, colonists at Anahuae, led by William Barret Travis, drove the Mexican officials out of town. Santa Anna's answer was to place Texas under military jurisdiction. When the Mexican military commander, Col. Domingo de Ugartechea, sent his soldiers to Gonzales to take a cannon there from the colonists, the Anglo-Texan civilians drove them off on 2 October 1835, in a battle that is generally considered to mark the start of the Texas Revolution.
On 3 November, a provisional government was formed. It called not for independence but for a return to the liberal Mexican constitution of 1824. Three commissioners, one of them Austin, were sent to Washington, DC, to request aid from the United States. Sam Houston, who only six years earlier had resigned the governorship of Tennessee (when his wife left him) and had come to Texas after stays in Oklahoma and Arkansas, was named commander in chief of the upstart Texas army. Hostilities remained at a standstill until February 1836, when Santa Anna led an army across the Rio Grande. The Mexicans concentrated outside San Antonio at a mission-fort called the Alamo, where 187 or so Texans, commanded by Col. William Barret Travis, had holed up in defense. The Mexicans besieged the Alamo until 6 March, when Santa Anna's forces, now numbering more than 4,000, stormed the fortress. When the battle ended, all the Alamo's defenders, including several native Mexicans, were dead. Among those killed were Travis and two Americans who became legends—James Bowie and Davy Crockett.
Four days before the battle of the Alamo, other Texans gathered at Washington-on-the-Brazos and issued a declaration of independence. As so often happens, a fight that had started on principle—in this case, a constitutional issue—grew into a fight for independence. The men who died at the Alamo believed they were fighting for restoration of the constitution of 1824. But three weeks after the Alamo fell, on 27 March 1836, the Mexicans killed 342 Texans who had surrendered at Goliad, thinking they would be treated as prisoners of war. Coming on the heels of the Alamo tragedy, the "Goliad massacre" persuaded Texans that only total victory or total defeat would solve their problems with Santa Anna. The Texas army under Sam Houston retreated before Santa Anna's oncoming forces, which held a numerical advantage over Houston's of about 1,600 to 800. On 21 April 1836, however, the Texans surprised the Mexicans during their siesta period at San Jacinto (east of present-day Houston). Mexican losses were 630 killed, 280 wounded, and 730 taken prisoner, while the Texans had only 9 killed and 30 wounded. This decisive battle-fought to the cry of "Remember the Alamo, remember Goliad!" freed Texas from Mexico once and for all.
For 10 years, Texas existed as an independent republic, recognized by the United States, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and several German states. Sam Houston, the victorious commander at San Jacinto, became the republic's first nationally elected president. Although Texans are proud of their once-independent status, the fact is that the republic limped along like any new nation, strife-torn and short of cash. It was unable to reach agreement with Mexico on a treaty to clarify the border. Moreover, its original $1-million public debt increased eightfold in a decade, and its paper money depreciated alarmingly. Consequently, when Texas joined the Union on 29 December 1845, the date of the US congressional resolution recognizing the new state (the Lone Star flag, the republic's official banner, was not actually lowered and a governor inaugurated until 19 February 1846), its citizens looked on the action as a rescue. The annexation in great measure provoked the Mexican War, which in turn led to the conclusion of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on 2 February 1848. Under the treaty, Mexico dropped its claim to the territory between the Rio Grande and the Nueces River. Later, in accordance with the Compromise of 1850, Texas relinquished, for $10 million, its claim on lands stretching into New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
With the coming of the Civil War, Texas followed its proslavery southern neighbors out of the Union into the Confederacy; Governor Houston, who opposed secession, was ousted from office. The state saw little fighting, and Texas thus suffered from the war far less than most of the South. The last battle of the war was fought on Texas soil at Palmito Ranch, near Brownsville, on 13 May 1865—more than a month after Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.
During Reconstruction, Texas was governed briefly by a military occupation force and then by a Republican regime; the so-called carpetbag constitution of 1869, passed during this period, gave the franchise to blacks, a right that the Ku Klux Klan actively sought to deny them. Texas was allowed to rejoin the Union on 30 March 1870. Three years later, Republican Governor Edmund J. Davis was defeated at the polls by Richard Coke, and a Democratic legislature wrote a new constitution, which was approved by the voters in 1876.
While most southern states were economically prostrate, the Texas economy flourished because of the rapid development of the cattle industry. Millions of Texas cattle walked the trails to northern markets, where they were sold for hard cash, providing a bonanza for the state. The widespread use of barbed wire to fence cattle ranches in the 1880s ended the open range and encouraged scientific cattle breeding. By 1900, Texas began to transform its predominantly agricultural economy into an industrial one. This process was accelerated by the discovery of the Spindletop oil field—the state's first gusher—near Beaumont in 1901, and by the subsequent development of the petroleum and petrochemical industries. World War I saw the emergence of Texas as a military training center. The rapid growth of the aircraft industry and other high-technology fields contributed to the continuing industrialization of Texas during and after World War II.
Texas politics remained solidly Democratic during most of the modern era, and the significant political conflict in the state was between the liberal and conservative wings of the Democratic Party. Populist-style reforms were enacted slowly during the governorships of James E. Ferguson—impeached and removed from office during his second term in 1917—and of his wife, Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson (1925–27, 1933–35), and more rapidly during the two administrations of James V. Allred (1935–39). During the 1960s and 1970s, the Republican Party gathered strength in the state, electing John G. Tower as US senator in 1961 and William P. Clements Jr., as governor in 1978—the first Republicans to hold those offices since Reconstruction. In general, the state's recent political leaders, Democrats was well as Republicans, have represented property interests and taken a conservative line.
On the national level, Texans have been influential since the 1930s, notably through such congressional leaders as US House Speaker Sam Rayburn and Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson, elected vice president under John F. Kennedy, was riding in the motorcade with the president when Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on 22 November 1963. The city attained further national notoriety when Kennedy's alleged killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, was shot to death by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub operator, two days later. Johnson served out the remainder of Kennedy's term, was elected to the presidency by a landslide in 1964, and presided over one of the stormiest periods in US history before retiring to his LBJ ranch in 1969. Memorials to him include the Lyndon B. Johnson Library at Austin and Johnson Space Center, headquarters for the US manned spaceflight program, near Houston.
The most prominent Texans on the national scene since Johnson have been Republican George H.W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush. After failing in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980, George Bush Sr. became Ronald Reagan's running mate; Reagan and Bush won in 1980 and were reelected in 1984. Bush ran for and won the presidency in 1988, but was defeated in his 1992 bid for re-election by Bill Clinton. Bush's son, George W. Bush, was elected governor of Texas in 1994, succeeding Democrat Ann Richards, the second woman governor in Texas history. In 2000, George W. Bush was elected president in a contested election against then-Vice President Al Gore. He was reelected in 2004, defeating Democrat John Kerry.
Texas benefited from a booming oil industry in the 1970s. The economy grew at an average of 6% a year, more than twice the national average. The boom collapsed in the early 1980s as overproduction caused world oil prices to plummet. The state's annual rate of population growth, 60% of which came from migration, dropped from 4% in 1982 to 1.3% in 1985. By 1986, the state had become a net exporter of population. Scrambling to make up the $100 million in revenues that the government estimated it lost for every $1 dollar decline in the price of a barrel of oil, the government in 1985 imposed or raised fees on everything from vanity license plates to day-care centers. The state also took steps to encourage economic diversification by wooing service, electronics, and high-technology companies to Texas. In the late 1980s, a number of Texas's financial institutions collapsed, brought down by the slump in the oil industry and by unsound real estate loans.
After 1986, oil prices increased, and the state reaped the benefits of diversification efforts spurred by the oil price collapse earlier in the decade. Although the petroleum industry was still the state's leading economic sector in the mid-1990s, high-technology and service sector jobs had played a major role in rebuilding the Texas economy and reversing the population decline of the previous decade. High-tech companies were concentrated in the "Silicon Hills" area surrounding Austin.
In the early 2000s, Texas had the second-largest population of any state, behind California. The high rate of migration into Texas, which accompanied the oil boom, had a profound effect on the state's population distribution and political profile. Newcomers to the state have tended to share the fiscally conservative values of native Texans but take more liberal positions on issues such as abortion, civil rights, and homosexuality. According to the 2000 census, 32% of the Texas population was of Hispanic or Latino origin. By 2004, 34.6% of the population was Hispanic.
On 19 April 1993, the 51-day confrontation between the FBI and the Branch Davidian cult near Waco ended tragically when the group's compound burned to the ground, killing at least 72 persons.
In early 2003, 51 Democratic state representatives fled Texas for Oklahoma to prevent the Republican-dominated state House of Representatives from passing a controversial redistricting plan that would favor Republicans. The tactic worked when the House failed to reach quorum and the redistricting bill died. Eleven state Democratic senators later also fled the state (for New Mexico) in July 2003 to break quorum and thus block a redistricting bill. Republican Governor Rick Perry called special legislative sessions to take up the redistricting measures. In August, the absent senators filed suit in Laredo in Barrientos v. State of Texas alleging Republican officials violated the Voting Rights Act by failing to obtain necessary Department of Justice preclearance before changing redistricting practices and procedures and by abandoning the "two-thirds rule" in the Senate: the "two-thirds rule" is regarded as a Senate tradition, which ensure that at least two-thirds of the membership have an interest in debating a measure before it comes to the floor. In September, a three-judge panel in Laredo dismissed all plaintiffs' claims in Barrientos v. State of Texas. In October, the Texas legislature passed the mid-decade redistricting plan in favor of the Republicans. Senate Democrats, in Session v. Perry, challenged the legality of the plan and filed a motion with the US Supreme Court to stay elections. The Supreme Court in April 2004 reaffirmed the lower court ruling in Barrientos v. State of Texas.
On 24 September 2005, Hurricane Rita made landfall as a strong Category 3 storm just east of Sabine Pass, Texas. Some areas received up to 20 inches of rain. This hurricane followed on the heels of Hurricane Katrina, which on 29 August devastated New Orleans, Louisiana, when levees there broke. Damages from Hurricane Rita were estimated at $8 billion. The death toll rose to over 100, but most of the victims died before the hurricane struck, either while preparing for the storm or fleeing from it.
Texas has been governed directly under eight constitutions: the Mexican national constitution of 1824, the Coahuila-Texas state constitution of 1827, the independent Republic of Texas constitution of 1836, and the five US state constitutions of 1845, 1861, 1866, 1869, and 1876. This last document, with 432 amendments (through 2005), is the foundation of the state government today. An attempt to replace it with eight propositions that in effect would have given Texas a new constitution was defeated at the polls in November 1975.
The state legislature consists of a Senate of 31 members elected to four-year terms, and a House of Representatives of 150 members elected to two-year terms. The legislature meets on the second Tuesday in January of odd-numbered years for sessions of as many as 140 calendar days; the governor may also call special sessions, each limited to 30 calendar days. Senators and representatives receive the same pay, pursuant to a constitutional amendment of 1975: $7,200 per year (as of 2004, unchanged from 1999) and $124 per diem living expenses (as of 2004) while the legislature is in session. All legislators must be US citizens, qualified voters, and residents of their districts for at least one year. Further, senators are required to be at least 26 years old and to have lived in the state for a minimum of five years. Representatives must be at least 21 and must have lived in the state for at least two years before election.
The state's chief executives are the governor and lieutenant governor, separately elected to four-year terms. Other elected executives, also serving four-year terms, include the attorney general, comptroller, commissioner of agriculture, and commissioner of the general land office. The remaining cabinet members are appointed by the governor, who also appoints members of the many executive boards and commissions. The governor, whose salary was $115,345 as of December 2004 (unchanged from 1999), must be a US citizen, at least 30 years old, and must have resided in the state for at least five years prior to election. A uniquely important executive agency is the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC). Established in 1891 and consisting of three members elected for six-year terms, the commission regulates the state's railroads, oil and gas production, coal and uranium mining, and trucking industry. The RRC thus wields extraordinary economic power, and the alleged influence by the regulated industries over the commission has been a major source of political controversy in the state.
To become law, a bill must be approved by a majority of members present and voting in each house, with a quorum of two-thirds of the membership present, and either signed by the governor or left unsigned for 10 days while the legislature is in session or 20 days after it has adjourned. A gubernatorial veto may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of the elected members. Overrides have been rare: the vote in April 1979 by state legislators to override the new Republican governor's veto of a minor wildlife regulation measure affecting only one county was the first successful attempt in 38 years. A constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote of the membership of each house and ratification by the voters at the next election.
In order to vote in Texas one must be a US citizen, at least 18 years old, and a resident in the county of registration. Restrictions apply to convicted felons and those declared mentally incompetent by the court.
Until recent years, the Democratic Party had dominated politics in Texas. William P. Clements Jr., elected governor in 1978, was the first Republican since Reconstruction to hold that office. No Republican carried Texas in a presidential election until 1928, when Herbert Hoover defeated Democrat Al Smith, a Roman Catholic at a severe disadvantage in a Protestant fundamentalist state. Another Roman Catholic, Democratic presidential candidate John Kennedy, carried the state in 1960 largely because he had a Texan, Lyndon Johnson, on his ticket.
Prior to the Civil War, many candidates for statewide office ran as independents. After a period of Republican rule during Reconstruction, Democrats won control of the statehouse and state legislature in 1873. The major challenge to Democratic rule during the late 19th century came not from Republicans but from the People's Party, whose candidates placed second in the gubernatorial races of 1894, 1896, and 1898, aided by the collapse of the cotton market; imposition of a poll tax in 1902 helped disfranchise the poor white farmers and laborers who were the base of Populist support. The Populists and the Farmers' Alliance probably exercised their greatest influence through a Democratic reformer, Governor James S. Hogg (1891–95), who fought the railroad magnates, secured lower freight rates for farmers and shippers, and curbed the power of large landholding companies. Another Democratic governor, James E. "Farmer Jim" Ferguson, was elected on an agrarian reform platform in 1914 and reelected in 1916, but was impeached and convicted the following year for irregular financial dealings. Barred from holding state office, he promoted the candidacy of his wife, Miriam "Ma" Ferguson, whose first term as governor (1925–27) marked her as a formidable opponent of the Ku Klux Klan. During her second term (1933–35), the state's first New Deal reforms were enacted, and prohibition was repealed. The Fergusons came to represent the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party in a state where liberals have long been in the minority. After the progressive administration of Governor James V. Allred, during which the state's first old-age assistance program was enacted, conservative Democrats, sometimes called "Texas Tories," controlled the state until the late 1970s.
In the November 1994 elections, George W. Bush (son of former President George H. W. Bush), upset Ann Richards to become governor. Bush was reelected in 1998, shortly before announcing his run for the US presidency. In 2000 following his election as president, Bush turned the governor's office over to Republican Rick Perry. Perry was elected in his own right in 2002. Texas is represented in the US Senate by Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, who was first elected in 1993 to fill the Senate seat vacated by Democrat Lloyd Bentsen, who resigned to become secretary of the treasury in the Clinton administration. In 1994, Hutchinson won reelection to a full term, and she was reelected once again in 2000. Republican John Cornyn was elected to the Senate in 2002. Following the 2002 elections, Texas Democrats held 11 seats in the US House of Representatives and the Republicans 21. As of mid-2005, the Republicans continued to control the state House by a margin of 87 to 63, and they had a majority of 19-12 over the Democrats in the state Senate.
Republican and native son George H.W. Bush captured 56% of the vote in the 1988 presidential election and 41% in the 1992 election. In 2000, his son, George W. Bush, took 59% of the presidential popular vote to Democrat Al Gore's 38%, and Bush went on to become president. In 2004, as an incumbent Bush won 61.2% of the vote to Democratic challenger John Kerry's 38.3%. As of 2004 there were 13,098,000 registered voters in the state; there is no voter registration by party in Texas. The state had 34 electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election, an increase of 2 votes over 2000.
Aside from the Populists, third parties have played a minor role in Texas politics. The Native American (Know-Nothing) Party helped elect Sam Houston governor in 1859. In 1968, George Wallace of the American Independent Party won 19% of the Texas
|Texas Presidential Vote by Political Parties, 1948–2004|
|YEAR||ELECTORAL VOTE||TEXAS WINNER||DEMOCRAT||REPUBLICAN||STATES' RIGHTS DEMOCRAT||PROGRESSIVE||PROHIBITION|
|*Wone US presidential election.|
|POPULIST/AMERICA FIRST||IND. (Perot)|
|2000||32||*Bush, G. W. (R)||2,433,746||3,799,639||23,160||137,994||12,394|
|WBITE-IN (Nader)||WRITE-IN (Peroitka)|
|2004||34||*Bush, G. W. (R)||2,832,704||4,526,917||38,787||9,159||1,636|
popular vote and in 1992 native son Ross Perot picked up 22% of the vote.
Following passage of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, registration of black voters increased to about 11.5% of the total population of voters. Between 1895 and 1967, no black person served as a state legislator. By 1993, however, there were 472 blacks holding elective office. At about the same time. Hispanic elected officials numbered 2,215. Democrat Henry Cisneros, former mayor of San Antonio, served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton Administration.
The Texas constitution grants considerable autonomy to local governments. As of 2005, Texas had 254 counties, a number that has remained constant since 1931. Also in 2005, there were 1,196 municipal governments, 1,040 public school districts (down from 8,600 in 1910), and 2,245 special districts.
Each county is governed by a commissioners' court, consisting of commissioners elected by precinct and a county judge or administrator elected at large. Other elected officials generally include a county clerk, attorney, treasurer, assessor-collector, and sheriff.
At the municipal level, cities with populations greater than 5,000 can adopt home rule.
In 2005, local government accounted for about 1,016,476 full-time (or equivalent) employment positions.
To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in Texas operates under executive order and state statute; a homeland security director oversees the state's homeland security activities.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is responsible for environmental protection. The Department of Housing and Community Affairs helps to provide shelter for all citizens. The Ethics Commission promotes individual participation and confidence in governmental processes by enforcing and administering applicable laws and by providing public official conduct information.
Educational services in the public schools are administered by the Texas Education Agency, which is run by a commissioner of education appointed by an elected State Board of Education. The Higher Education Coordinating Board, consisting of appointed members, oversees public higher education. Transportation facilities are regulated by the Department of Transportation and the Texas Railroad Commission.
Health and welfare services are offered by the Department of Family and Protective Services, the Department of Aging and Disability Services, the Council for Developmental Disabilities, Texas Health and Human Services, the Health and Human Services Commission, and the Department of State Health Services. Public protection is the responsibility of the National Guard, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and Texas Youth Commission, which maintains institutions for juvenile offenders. Labor services are provided by the Texas Workforce Investment Council and the Department of Licensing and Regulation. Other departments deal with public safety, banking, and agriculture.
The Texas judiciary is comprised of a supreme court, a state court of criminal appeals, 14 courts of appeals, and more than 380 district courts.
The highest court is the Supreme Court, consisting of a chief justice and eight justices, who are popularly elected to staggered six-year terms. The Court of Criminal Appeals, which has final jurisdiction in most criminal cases, consists of a presiding judge and eight judges, who are also elected to staggered six-year terms.
Justices of the courts of appeals, numbering 80 in 1999, are elected to six-year terms and sit in 14 judicial districts; each court has a chief justice and at least two associate justices. There were 27 district court judges in 1999, each elected to a four-year term. County, justice of the peace, and municipal courts handle local matters.
As of 31 December 2004, a total of 168,105 prisoners (the highest in the United States) were held in Texas's state and federal prisons, an increase from 166,911 of 0.7% from the previous year. As of year-end 2004, a total of 13,958 inmates were female, up from 13,487 or 3.5% from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), Texas had an incarceration rate of 694 per 100,000 population in 2004 (the second-highest in the United States, below Louisiana).
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Texas in 2004, had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 540.5 reported incidents per 100,000 population, or a total of 121,554 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 1,010,702 reported incidents or 4,494 reported incidents per 100,000 people. Texas has a death penalty, of which lethal injection is the sole method of execution. From 1976 through 5 May 2006, the state has carried out 363 executions (highest in the United States); 19 inmates were executed in 2005 and 8 in 2006 (as of 5 May). As of 1 January 2006, Texas had 409 inmates on death row.
In 2003, Texas spent $2,164,257,669 on homeland security, an average of $101 per state resident.
In few states do US military forces and defense-related industries play such a large role as in Texas, which as of 2004 had 109,760 active-duty military personnel and 39,385 civilian personnel employed at major US military bases, second to California in defense personnel. Also in 2004, Texas received prime defense contract awards worth more than $21 billion, third-largest awards in the United States after California and Virginia, first and second, respectively. Texas was also third in that nation in defense payroll outlays of $11.08 billion, after Virginia, first with $15.9 billion, and California, second with $15.0 billion.
Ft. Sam Houston, at San Antonio, is headquarters of the US 5th Army Recruiting Brigade and home to the 4th Infantry Division, the most lethal, modern, and deployable heavy division in the world. It is also the headquarters of the US Army Health Services Command and the site of the Academy of Health Sciences, the largest US military medical school, enrolling more than 25,000 officers and enlisted personnel. Ft. Bliss, at El Paso, is the home of the US Army Air Defense Artillery Center. Ft. Hood, near Killeen, is headquarters of the 3rd Army Corps and other military units. It is the state's single largest defense installation and Ft. Hood is the only post in the United States capable of stationing and training two Armored Divisions.
Four principal Air Force bases are located near San Antonio: Brooks, Kelly, Lackland, and Randolph. Other major air bases are Dyess (Abilene); Goodfellow (San Angelo); Laughlin (Del Rio); and Sheppard (Wichita Falls). All US-manned space flights are controlled from the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Naval air training stations are located at Corpus Christi, Dallas, and Kingsville. The Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility, at Orange, was home port for some of the US Navy's "mothball fleet" from 1945 to 1975 when it was closed.
Texas was a major military training center during World War II, when about one out of every 10 soldiers was trained there. Some 750,000 Texans served in the US armed forces during that war; the state's war dead numbered 23,022. Military veterans living in the state in 2003 totaled 1,681,748, including 194,173 who served in World War II; 154,449 during the Korean conflict; 517,031 during the Vietnam era; and 322,909 during the Gulf War. Expenditures on Texas veterans totaled nearly $5.0 billion in 2004.
The Texas Army National Guard has dual status as a federal and state military force. The Texas State Guard is an all-volunteer force available either to back up National Guard units or to respond to local emergencies.
The famous Texas Rangers, a state police force first employed in 1823 (though not formally organized until 1835) to protect the early settlers, served as scouts for the US Army during the Mexican War. Many individual rangers fought with the Confederacy in the Civil War; during Reconstruction, however, the rangers were used to enforce unpopular carpetbagger laws. Later, the rangers put down banditry on the Rio Grande. The force was reorganized in 1935 as a unit of the Department of Public Safety and is now called on in major criminal cases, helps control mob violence in emergencies, and sometimes assists local police officers. The Texas Rangers have been romanticized in fiction and films, but one of their less glamorous tasks has been to intervene in labor disputes on the side of management. In 2004, the Texas Department of Public Safety employed 3,407 full-time sworn officers.
Estimates of the number of Indians living in Texas when the first Europeans arrived range from 30,000 to 130,000. Eventually, they all were killed, fled southward or westward, or were removed to reservations. The first great wave of white settlers, beginning in 1821, came from nearby southern states, particularly Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi; some of these newcomers brought their black slaves to work in the cotton fields. During the 1840s, a second wave of immigrants arrived directly from Germany, France, and eastern Europe.
Interstate migration during the second half of the 19th century was accelerated by the Homestead Act of 1862 and the westward march of the railroads. Particularly notable since 1900 has been the intrastate movement from rural areas to the cities; this trend was especially pronounced from the end of World War II, when about half the state's population was rural, to the late 1970s, when nearly four out of every five Texans made their homes in metropolitan areas.
Texas's net gain from migration between 1940 and 1980 was 1,821,000, 81% of that during the 1970–80 period. A significant proportion of postwar immigrants were seasonal laborers from Mexico, remaining in the United States either legally or illegally. By 1990, Texas had a foreign-born population of 1,524,436, representing 9% of the total. During 1980–83, Texas had the highest net migration gain—922,000—in the nation. From 1985 to 1990, the net gain from migration was 36,700. Between 1990 and 1998, the state had net gains of 541,000 in domestic migration and 656,000 in international migration. In 1996, the state's foreign-born population was 2,081,000, or 11% of the total population. In 1998, 44,428 foreign immigrants arrived in Texas, the fourth-highest total among the states. Of that total, the greatest number of immigrants (22,956) came from Mexico. Between 1990 and 1998, Texas's overall population increased 16.3%. In the period 2000–05, net international migration was 663,161 and net internal migration was 218,722, for a net gain of 881,883 people.
The Texas Commission on Interstate Cooperation represents Texas before the Council of State Governments. Texas is a member of the Interstate Mining Compact Commission and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. The state also belongs to the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, South Central Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact, Southern States Energy Board, and Southern Regional Education Board, and to accords apportioning the waters of the Canadian, Pecos, Red River, Pecos, and Sabine rivers and the Rio Grande. During fiscal year 2005, Texas received $22.347 billion in federal grants (third largest after California and New York). In fiscal year 2006, Texas received an estimated $23.000 billion in federal grants, and an estimated $23.782 billion in fiscal year 2007.
Traditionally, the Texas economy has been dependent on the production of cotton, cattle, timber, and petroleum. In recent years, cotton has declined in importance, cattle ranchers have suffered financial difficulties because of increased production costs, and lumber production has remained relatively stable. In the 1970s, as a result of rising world petroleum prices, oil and natural gas emerged as by far the state's most important resource. The decades since World War II have also witnessed a boom in the electronics, computer, transport equipment, aerospace, and communications industries, which has placed Texas second only to California in manufacturing among all the states of the Sunbelt region. Between 1972 and 1982, the Texas economy grew 6% a year, twice the national average, led by a booming oil industry. Other factors that contributed to the Lone Star State's robust economy in the early 1980s were a plentiful labor market, high worker productivity, diversification of new industries, and less restrictive regulation of business activities than in most other states. The result was a steady increase in industrial production, construction values, retail sales, and personal income, coupled with a relatively low rate of unemployment. In 1982, however, Texas began to be affected by the worldwide recession. Lower energy demand, worldwide overproduction of oil, and the resulting fall in prices, caused a steep decline in the state's petroleum industry. Unemployment in Texas jumped from 6.9% in 1982 to 8% in 1983, a period during which the national rate fell 0.1%. Much of this unemployment was among persons who came to Texas seeking jobs, particularly from northern industrial states. The rise and fall of the oil industry's fortunes affected other industries as well. Thousands of banks that had speculated in real estate in the early eighties, saw many of their investments become worthless, and numerous banks were declared insolvent.
In the wake of the oil-centered recession, Texas began attempts to diversify. The state government has successfully wooed high-tech industries to locate in Texas. The percentage of economic activity contributed by the oil and gas extraction industry dropped from about 20% to 6% between 1980 and 2000. Electronics, telecommunications, food processing, services and retail trade, on the other hand, saw substantial growth in the 1990s. While output from oil and gas extraction increased 7.4% between 1997 and 2001 output, from general services rose 35.4%, while output from financial services rose 32.5%; with retail and wholesale trade rising 30.7%, transportation and public utilities by 26.4%, and from government by 24%. In the recession and slowdown of 2001 and 2002, employment growth in Texas followed the national trends, remaining negative through the end of 2002. Shortfalls in state revenues flowing, particularly from the collapse of capital gains income, faced the state government with a serious budget deficit. However, higher oil prices following a Venezuelan oil strike, the US-led invasion of Iraq and rising tensions with Iran have benefited the Texas economy.
In 2004, Texas's gross state product (GSP) was $884.136 billion, of which manufacturing (durable and nondurable goods) accounted for the largest share at $106.749 billion or 12% of GSP, followed by the real estate sector at $90.670 billion (10.2% of GSP), and mining at $56.971 billion (6.4% of GSP). In that same year, there were an estimated 1,787,607 small businesses in Texas. Of the 404,683 businesses that had employees, an estimated total of 399,323 or 98.7% were small companies. An estimated 54,098 new businesses were established in the state in 2004, up 2.7% from the year before. Business terminations that same year came to 55,792, up 0.6% from 2003. There were 3,094 business bankruptcies in 2004, down 1.9% from the previous year. In 2005, the state's personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate was 407 filings per 100,000 people, ranking Texas as the 37th highest in the nation.
In 2005 Texas had a gross state product (GSP) of $982 billion which accounted for 7.9% of the nation's gross domestic product and placed the state at number 2 in highest GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 Texas had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $30,732. This ranked 29th in the United States and was 93% of the national average of $33,050. The 1994–2004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 4.3%. Texas had a total personal income (TPI) of $690,587,968,000, which ranked third in the United States and reflected an increase of 6.1% from 2003. The 1994–2004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 6.3%. Earnings of persons employed in Texas increased from $536,483,781,000 in 2003 to $571,564,011,000 in 2004, an increase of 6.5%. The 2003–04 national change was 6.3%.
The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 2002 to 2004 in 2004 dollars was $41,275 compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 16.4% of the population was below the poverty line as compared to 12.4% nationwide.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006 the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in Texas 11,390,900, with approximately 578,700 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 5.1%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 9,928,100. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in Texas was 9.3% in October 1986. The historical low was 4.3% in January 2001. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 5.9% of the labor force was employed in construction; 9.1% in manufacturing; 20.4% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 6.3% in financial activities; 12.1% in professional and business services; 12.2% in education and health services; 9.2% in leisure and hospitality services; and 17.1% in government.
Organized labor has never been able to establish a strong base in Texas, and a state right-to-work law continues to make unionization difficult. The earliest national union, the Knights of Labor, declined in Texas after failing to win a strike against the railroads in 1886 when the Texas Rangers served as strike breakers. That same year, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) began to organize workers along craft lines. One of the more protracted and violent disputes in Texas labor history occurred in 1935 when longshoremen struck Gulf coast ports for 62 days. The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) succeeded in organizing oil-field and maritime workers during the 1930s.
The BLS reported that in 2005, a total of 506,000 of the state's 9,485,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. This represented 5.3% of those so employed, up from 5% in 2004, but still below the national average of 12%. Overall in 2005, a total of 590,000 workers (6.2%) in Texas were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation.
As of 1 March 2006, Texas had a state-mandated minimum wage rate of $5.15 per hour. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 44.6% of the employed civilian labor force.
Texas ranked second among the 50 states in agricultural production in 2005, with farm marketings totaling nearly $16.9 billion (7.2% of US total); crops accounted for 33% of the total. Texas leads the nation in output of cotton, grain sorghum, hay, watermelons, cabbages, and spinach.
Since 1880, Texas has been the leading producer of cotton (producing both Upland and American-Pima), which accounted for 33% of total US production and 9.4% of the state's farm marketings in 2004. After 1900, Texas farmers developed bumper crops of wheat, corn, and other grains by irrigating dry land and transformed the "great Sahara" of West Texas into one of the nation's foremost grain-growing regions. Texans also grow practically every vegetable suited to a temperate or semitropical climate. Since World War II, farms have become fewer and larger, more specialized in raising certain crops and meat animals, more expensive to operate, and far more productive.
About 130 million acres (52.6 million hectares) are devoted to farms and ranches, representing more than three-fourths of the state's total area. The number of farms declined from 420,000 in 1940 to fewer than 185,000 in 1978, but rose to 229,000 in 2004. The average farm was valued at $855 per acre in 2004.
Productive farmland is located throughout the state. Grains are grown mainly in the temperate north and west, and vegetables and citrus fruits in the subtropical south. Cotton has been grown in all sections, but in recent years, it has been extensively cultivated in the High Plains of the west and the upper Rio Grande Valley. Grain sorghum, wheat, corn, hay, and other forage crops are raised in the north-central and western plains regions. Rice is cultivated along the Gulf coast, and soybeans are raised mainly in the High Plains and Red River Valley.
Major crops in 2004 included: upland cotton, 5.35 million acres produced 7.5 million bales (valued at $1.53 billion); wheat, 3.5 million acres produced 108.5 million bushels (valued at $363.5 million); hay, 5.35 million acres produced 12.3 million (valued at $833.6 million); sorghum, grain, 2.1 million acres produced 127.1 million bushels (valued at $288.3 million); corn, 1.7 million acres produced 233.5 million bushels (valued at $595.5 million); rice, 218,000 acres produced 14,690 hundred weight (valued at $120.5 million); vegetables, fresh, 93,500 acres produced 1,010,460 tons (valued at $366.2 million); soybeans, 290,000 acres produced 86 million bushels (valued at $50.5 million).
The major vegetables and fruits, in terms of value, are onions, cabbages, watermelons, carrots, potatoes, cantaloupes, green peppers, honeydew melons, spinach, cucumbers, and lettuce. Cot-tonseed, barley, oats, peanuts, pecans, sugar beets, sugarcane, and sunflowers are also produced in commercial quantities.
The total value of farmland and buildings alone was estimated at $111.1 billion in 2004, higher than any other state.
About 11.8% of cropland was irrigated in 2002, primarily in the High Plains; other areas dependent on irrigation included the lower Rio Grande Valley and the trans-Pecos region. Approximately 80% of the irrigated land is supplied with water pumped from wells. Because more than half of the state's irrigation pumps are fueled by natural gas, the cost of irrigation increased significantly as gas prices rose during the 1970s.
About two-thirds of cattle fattened for market are kept in feed-lots located in the Texas panhandle and northwestern plains. In 2005, Texas ranked first in number of cattle and calves with an estimated 13.8 million, valued at $10.8 billion. During 2004, Texas farms had around 980,000 hogs and pigs, valued at $86.2 million. In 2003, Texas's production of sheep and lambs was second after California at 61.9 million lb (28.1 million kg), valued at $50.7 million; shorn wool production was an estimated 5.6 million lb (2.5 million kg) in 2004.
About 90% of the dairy industry is located in eastern Texas. In 2003, milk production was around 5.6 billion lb (2.5 billion kg) from 319,000 milk cows. Poultry production included 2.95 billion lb (1.4 billion kg) of broilers, valued at around $1.03 billion, and 4.8 billion eggs were produced, valued at $310 million.
Breeding of Palominos, Arabians, Appaloosas, Thoroughbreds, and quarter horses is a major industry in Texas. The animals are most abundant in the most heavily populated areas, and it is not unusual for residential subdivisions of metropolitan areas to include facilities for keeping and riding horses.
In 2004, the commercial catch was about 85.6 million lb (38.9 million kg), valued at $166.2 million. Brownsville-Port Isabel ranked 14th in the nation in ports bringing in the most valuable catches, with receipts of $40.3 million. Other high value ports included Port Arthur (16th), Galveston (20th), and Palacios (25th).
The most important catch was shrimp. In 2004, Texas had the second largest shrimp catch in the nation with 70.1 million lb (31.9 million kg). Other commercial shellfish include blue crabs and oysters. Species of saltwater fish with the greatest commercial value are yellowfin tuna, red snapper, swordfish, and flounder. Texas had 93 fish processing and wholesale plants employing 2,262 people in 2003.
Early in 1980, the US government banned shrimp fishing for 45 days, effective in the summer of 1981, in order to conserve shrimp supplies. Texas has since continued to close the Gulf to shrimping from about 1 June to 15 July.
In 2005, Texas had 62 catfish farms covering 1,030 acres (417 hectares) with sales of $3.5 million, and a 2006 inventory of 10.1 million fingerlings and 2.1 million stocker-sized fish. The state manages fish stocks and habitats to maintain 40.4 million freshwater and 14.5 million marine angler days per year. There are three national fish hatcheries in the state (Uvalde, Inks Dam, and San Marcos). In 2004, Texas issued 1,632,016 sport fishing licenses, more than any other state. Among the most sought-after native freshwater fish are large-mouth and white bass, crappie, sunfish, and catfish.
Texas forestland in 2003 covered 17,149,000 acres (6,940,000 hectares), representing 2.3% of the US total and over 10% of the state's land area. Commercial timberland comprised 11,774,000 acres (4,765,000 hectares), of which about 90% was privately owned. Timberlands managed by the federal government covered 794,000 acres (321,000 hectares). Most forested land, including practically all commercial timberland, is located in the Piney Woods region of east Texas.
In 2004, Texas timberlands yielded 1.79 billion board ft of lumber (88% softwood), tenth in the United States. Primary forest products manufactured include plywood, waferboard, and pulpwood. Texas wood-treating plants process utility poles, crossties, lumber, and fence posts.
The Texas Forest Service, a member of the Texas A&M University System, provides direct, professional forestry assistance to private landowners, manages several state and federal reforestation and forest stewardship incentives programs, coordinates pest control activities, and assists in protecting against wildfires statewide. In addition, the state agency has an urban and community forestry program, forest products laboratory, two tree nurseries, and a genetics laboratory.
As of 2005 there were four national forests in Texas—Angelina, Davy Crockett, Sabine, and Sam Houston—with a total area of 641,574 acres (259,645 hectares). Texas also has five state forests: the E. O. Siecke, W. Goodrich Jones, I. D. Fairchild, John Henry Kirby, and Paul N. Masterson Memorial State Forests.
According to preliminary data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the estimated value of nonfuel mineral production by Texas in 2003 was valued at around $2 billion, a decrease from 2002 of about 3%. The USGS data ranked Texas as fourth among the 50 states by the total value of its nonfuel mineral production, accounting for over 5% of total US output.
In descending order of value, according to preliminary data for 2003, cement (portland and masonry), crushed stone, construction sand and gravel, lime and salt were the state's top nonfuel minerals. Collectively, these five commodities accounted for around 93% of all nonfuel mineral output, by value, with cement alone accounting for almost 39% of all nonfuel mineral production by the state. Nationally, in descending order of value, Texas in 2003 was the nation's leading producer of crushed stone, second in the production of portland cement, construction sand and gravel, salt, common clays, gypsum, talc, and zeolites. The state was also second (out of two states) in the production of crude helium, ball clay (out of four), and second in the production of brucite (out of two).
The preliminary data for 2003 showed production of portland cement at 10.6 million metric tons, with an estimated value of $753 million, while crushed stone output, that same year, totaled 104 million metric tons, and was valued at $504 million. Construction sand and gravel production in 2003 totaled 78 million metric tons and was valued at $394 million, while lime output totaled 1.58 million metric tons, with a value of $104 million. Salt output in 2003 was put at 8.47 million metric tons, and was valued at $99.3 million.
In 2003, Texas also produced fuller's earth, kaolin, and dimension stone.
ENERGY AND POWER
Texas is an energy-rich state. Its vast deposits of petroleum and natural gas liquids account for nearly 30% of US proved liquid hydrocarbon reserves. Texas is also the largest producer and exporter of oil and natural gas to other states, and it leads the United States in electric power production.
As of 2003, Texas had 210 electrical power service providers, of which 72 were publicly owned and 68 were cooperatives. Of the remainder, 53 were investor owned, and 17 were owners of independent generators that sold directly to customers. As of that same year there were 10,114,100 retail customers. Of that total, 7,046,095 received their power from investor-owned service providers. Cooperatives accounted for 1,568,284 customers, while publicly owned providers had 1,499,968 customers. There were 23 independent generator or "facility" customers.
Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 99.593 million kW, with total production that same year at 379.199 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, 22.9% came from electric utilities, with the remaining 77.1% coming from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 184.911 billion kWh (48.8%), came from natural gas fired plants, with coal-fired plants in second place at 146.989 billion kWh (38.8%) and nuclear fueled plants in third at 33.437 billion kWh (8.8%). Other renewable power sources, plants using other types of gases, petroleum fired plants, hydroelectric facilities and "other" types of generating plants accounted for the remaining output.
As of 2006, the state had four nuclear reactors in operation: two at the Comanche Peak plant in Somervell County; and two at the South Texas plant (the largest commercial reactors in the United States) near Bay City.
The state's first oil well was drilled in 1866 at Melrose in East Texas, and the first major oil discovery was made in 1894 at Corsicana, northwest of Melrose, in Navarro County. The famous Spindletop gusher, near Beaumont, was tapped on 10 January 1901. Another great oil deposit was discovered in the panhandle in 1921, and the largest of all, the East Texas field, in Rusk County, was opened in 1930. Subsequent major oil discoveries were made in West Texas, starting in Scurry County in 1948. Thirty years later, the state's crude-oil production exceeded 1 billion barrels. In 1983, production was 908.2 million barrels, averaging 2.5 million barrels per day. Production in 1999 was 449.2 million barrels (including over 1 million barrels from offshore wells), averaging 1.23 million barrels per day.
As of 2004, Texas had proven crude oil reserves of 4,613 million barrels, or 22% of all proven US reserves, while output that same year averaged 1,073,000 barrels per day. Including federal offshore domains, the state that year ranked second (first excluding federal offshore) in both proven reserves and production among the 31 producing states. In 2004 Texas had 151,653 producing oil wells and accounted for 20% of all US production. As of 2005, the state's 26 refineries had a combined crude oil distillation capacity of 4,627,611 barrels per day.
In 2004, Texas had 72,237 producing natural gas and gas condensate wells. In that same year, marketed gas production (all gas produced excluding gas used for repressuring, vented and flared, and nonhydrocarbon gases removed) totaled 5,067.315 billion cu ft (143.91 billion cu m). As of 31 December 2004, proven reserves of dry or consumer-grade natural gas totaled 49,955 billion cu ft (1,418.7 billion cu m).
Texas in 2004, had 13 producing coal mines, all of which were surface operations. Coal production that year totaled 45,863,000 short tons, down from 47,517,000 short tons in 2003. Recoverable coal reserves in 2004 totaled 546 million short tons. One short ton equals 2,000 lb (0.907 metric tons).
Before 1900, Texas had an agricultural economy based, in the common phrase, on "cotton, cows, and corn." When the first US Census of Manufactures was taken in Texas in 1849, there were only 309 industrial establishments, with 1,066 wage earners; payrolls totaled $322,368, and the value added by manufacture was a mere $773,896. The number of establishments increased tenfold by 1899, when the state had 38,604 wage earners and a total value added of $38,506,130. During World War II, the value added passed the $1-billion mark, and by 1982, the total was $53.4 billion.
According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, the state's manufacturing sector covered some 21 product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $385.534 billion. Of that total, petroleum and coal products manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $91.303 billion. It was followed by chemical manufacturing at $90.169 billion; computer and electronic product manufacturing at $41.537 billion; food manufacturing at $31.430 billion; and transportation equipment manufacturing at $24.747 billion.
In 2004, a total of 773,506 people in Texas were employed in the state's manufacturing sector, according to the ASM. Of that total, 525,332 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the fabricated metal product manufacturing industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees with 98,407 (74,214 actual production workers). It was followed by food manufacturing, with 82,594 (62,350 actual production workers); computer and electronic product manufacturing, with 72,604 (33,125 actual production workers); machinery manufacturing, with 70,968 (42,913 actual production workers); and transportation equipment manufacturing, with 70,871 (40,627 actual production workers).
ASM data for 2004 showed that Texas's manufacturing sector paid $33.559 billion in wages. Of that amount, the computer and electronic product manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $4.435 billion. It was followed by chemical manufacturing at $4.062 billion; transport equipment manufacturing at $3.888 billion; fabricated metal product manufacturing at $3.639 billion; and machinery manufacturing at $3.143 billion.
According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, Texas's wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $397.4 billion from 31,832 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 20,192 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 9,493 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 2,147 establishments. Sales by durable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $183.4 billion, while wholesalers of nondurable goods saw sales of $177.9 billion. Electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry had sales of $36.06 billion.
Texas ranked second among the 50 states in wholesale trade in 2002. The leading wholesaling centers are the Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, San Antonio, El Paso, Lubbock, Midland, Amarillo, Austin, and Corpus Christi metropolitan areas.
In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, Texas was listed as having 75,703 retail establishments with sales of $228.6 billion. The leading types of retail businesses by number of establishments were: gasoline stations (10,610); clothing and clothing accessories stores (10,275); motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers (9,319); food and beverage stores (8,903); and miscellaneous store retailers (8,216). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts stores accounted for the largest share of retail sales at $67.4 billion, followed by general merchandise stores at $35.6 billion; food and beverage stores at $32.3 billion; gasoline stations at $20.3 billion; and building material/garden equipment and supplies dealers at $16.2 billion. A total of 1,026,326 people were employed by the retail sector in Texas that year. The state also ranked second behind California in retail sales in 2002.
Foreign exports through Texas during 2005 totaled $128.7 billion. The leading items shipped through Texas ports to foreign countries were grains, chemicals, fertilizers, and petroleum refinery products; principal imports included crude petroleum, minerals and metals (especially aluminum ores), liquefied gases, motor vehicles, bananas, sugar, and molasses. Texas ranked first among the 50 states in 2005 as an exporter of goods produced in the state.
The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division protects consumers and the legitimate business community by filing civil lawsuits under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) and other related statutes. The division is best known for its work in traditional areas of consumer protection litigation such as false and deceptive advertising, defective merchandise, and home or appliance repair scams, for example.
The attorney general's litigation activities are supplemented by a highly effective mediation program that is available to Texas consumers who have complaints amenable to informal resolution. The Consumer Protection Division also disseminates a wide range of public information materials to educate consumers about their rights, alert them to trends in deceptive or unfair business practices, and prevent losses due to fraud before they occur. Over the years, the division has succeeded in winning funds for consumer education as part of the settlement of consumer protection litigation.
When dealing with consumer protection issues, the state's Attorney General's Office can initiate civil proceedings but can only initiate criminal proceedings under specific statutes for specific crimes. The office can represent the state before state and federal regulatory agencies, administer consumer protection and education programs, and handle formal consumer complaints. However its exercise of subpoena powers is limited. In antitrust actions, the Attorney General's Office can act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own and initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts and represent counties, cities and other governmental entities in recovering civil damages under state or federal law, but the Office has no power to initiate criminal proceedings in an antitrust case.
The state's Office of the Attorney General has regional offices in Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Lubbock, McAllen, San Antonio. There is a county government consumer affairs office under the District Attorney's Office in Houston, and the city of Dallas also has its own consumer affairs office located within the city's Department of Environmental and Health services.
Texas has the second highest number of banks in the nation, behind Illinois. As of June 2005, Texas had 677 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, in addition to 231 state-chartered and 407 federally chartered credit unions (CUs). Excluding the CUs, the Dallas-Fort Worth market area accounted for the largest portion of the state's financial institutions and deposits in 2004, with 176 institutions and $113.409 billion in deposits. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for 18% of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $49.146 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 72% or $224.280 billion in assets held.
Banking was illegal in the Texas Republic and under the first state constitution, reflecting the widespread fear of financial speculation like that which had caused the panic of 1837. Because both the independent republic and the new state government found it difficult to raise funds or obtain credit without a banking system, they were forced to borrow money from merchants, thus permitting banking functions and privileges despite the constitutional ban. A formal banking system was legalized during the latter part of the 19th century.
The median percentage of past-due/nonaccrual loans to total loans stood at 1.51% as of fourth quarter 2005, down from 1.77% in 2004 and 2.04% in 2003. The median net interest margin (the difference between the lower rates offered savers and the higher rates charged to loans) for the state's insured institutions stood at 4.50% in fourth quarter 2005, up from 4.22% in 2004 and 4.21% in 2003.
Regulation of Texas's state-chartered banks and other state-chartered financial institutions is the responsibility of the Finance Commission of Texas's Department of Banking, Savings and Loan Department, and the Office of Consumer Credit.
The industry's most recent state-by-state comparison (year-end 2003) showed Texas ranked second (behind Arizona) in number of domestic life and health insurance companies with 165, and first in the number of domestic property and casualty companies with 238. In 2004, direct premiums for property and casualty insurance totaled over $32.2 billion. That year, there were 459,522 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of $84 billion. There were 113,443 beach and windstorm plans in force with a value of about $30 billion. About $22.7 billion of coverage was held through FAIR plans, which are designed to offer coverage for some natural circumstances, such as wind and hail, in high risk areas.
In 2004, there were 10.8 million individual life insurance policies in force in Texas with a total value of $839.3 billion; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was over $1.4 trillion. The average coverage amount is $77,600 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled $3.69 billion.
In 2004, 48% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 4% held individual policies, and 21% were covered under Medicare and Medicaid; 25% of residents were uninsured. Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured residents of all the fifty states; the national average is 16%. In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged at 16% for single coverage and 27% for family coverage. The state offers a six-month health benefits expansion program for small-firm employees in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.
Motorists are required to maintain auto insurance coverage that includes a minimum of bodily injury liability of up to $20,000 per individual and $40,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $15,000. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was about $837.40.
The insurance industry is regulated by the Texas Department of Insurance. TDI is headed by the commissioner of insurance, who is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate for two-year terms beginning 1 February of odd-numbered years.
There are no securities exchanges in Texas. In 2005, there were 5,060 personal financial advisers employed in the state and 14,170 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. In 2004, there were over 729 publicly traded companies within the state, with over 213 NASDAQ companies, 211 NYSE listings, and 56 AMEX listings. In 2006, the state had 56 Fortune 500 companies, including 8 in the Fortune 100; Exxon Mobil (based in Irving), ranked first in the state and the nation with revenues of over $339.9 billion, followed by ConocoPhillips (Houston, sixth in the nation), Valero Energy (San Antonio, 15th in the nation), Marathon Oil (Houston, 23rd in the nation), and Dell Computers (Round Rock, 25th in the nation). Dell is listed on NASDAQ; the other top four companies are listed on the NYSE. A total of 102 companies are listed on the Fortune 1,000.
The State Securities Board, established in 1957, oversees the issuance and sale of stocks and bonds in Texas.
The Texas budget operates on a "pay as you go" basis in that expenditures cannot exceed revenues during the budget cycle. The state's budget period runs on a biennial basis from 1 September of each odd-numbered year to 31 August of the following odd-numbered year.
The state legislature meets from approximately January to May every odd-numbered year and writes a budget for the next two years. The appropriations committee in the House, and the finance committee in the Senate are responsible for budget development. The primary legislative entity responsible for oversight of the budget when the legislature is not in session is the 10-member legislative budget board. Chaired by the lieutenant governor, the board prepares the initial budget that will be considered by the legislature.
|Texas—State Government Finances|
|(Dollar amounts in thousands. Per capita amounts in dollars.)|
|Abbreviations and symbols: - zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable.|
|source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.|
|Individual income tax||-||-|
|Corporate income tax||-||-|
|Miscellaneous general revenue||8,148,983||362.63|
|Liquor store revenue||-||-|
|Insurance trust revenue||19,002,530||845.61|
|Insurance benefits and repayments||9,667,420||430.20|
|Assistance and subsidies||1,481,676||65.93|
|Interest on debt||1,041,029||46.33|
|Exhibit: Salaries and wages||11,861,335||527.83|
|Direct expenditure||50,628,563||2,252.96||General expenditures, by function:|
|Parks and recreation||120,673||5.37|
|Interest on general debt||1,041,029||46.33|
|Other and unallocable||4,608,394||205.07|
|Liquor store expenditure||-||-|
|Insurance trust expenditure||9,667,420||430.20|
|Debt at end of fiscal year||22,925,515||1,020.18|
|Cash and security holdings||197,828,786||8,803.35|
The governor's office of budget and planning also prepares a budget for the Legislature's consideration. The governor has line-item veto authority over the budget and must sign the appropriations bill before it becomes law. The comptroller of public accounts must also sign the bill certifying that sufficient revenue will be available to fund the budget.
After running large budget surpluses in the early 1980s, the state experienced several years of budget shortfalls in the wake of falling oil prices. As the state's economy has diversified, the budget has shown greater ability to withstand minor economic fluctuations.
Fiscal year (FY) 2006 general funds were estimated at $35.7 billion for resources and $32.2 billion for expenditures. In fiscal year 2004, federal government grants to Texas were $27.7 billion.
In the fiscal year 2007 federal budget, Texas was slated to receive $22 million (a $4 million increase over fiscal year 2006) for the Army Corps of Engineers' urban flood damage reduction project in Sims Bayou; $20 million for the upgrade and expansion of the Ysleta Border Station in El Paso; $13 million to expand the national cemetery in Dallas/Fort Worth; and $7.5 million for additional design and construction funds for a new border station at the proposed international bridge in McAllen.
In 2005, Texas collected $32,785 million in tax revenues or $1,434 per capita, which placed it 49th among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Sales taxes accounted for 49.9% of the total; selective sales taxes, 29.0%; and other taxes, 21.2%.
As of 1 January 2006, Texas had no state income tax, a distinction it shared with Wyoming, Washington, Nevada, Florida, Alaska, and South Dakota.
In 2004, local property taxes amounted to $28,176,329,000 or $1,254 per capita. The per capita amount ranks the state 13th highest nationally. Texas has no state level property taxes.
Texas taxes retail sales at a rate of 6.25%. In addition to the state tax, local taxes on retail sales can reach as much as 2%, making for a potential total tax on retail sales of 8.25%. Food purchased for consumption off-premises is tax exempt. The tax on cigarettes is 41 cents per pack, which ranks 40th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Texas taxes gasoline at 20 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.
According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, Texas citizens received $0.94 in federal spending.
Texas state government has historically been pro business: regulation is less restrictive than in many states, and there is no corporate income tax. The state government actively encourages outside capital investment in Texas industries, and the state's industrial productivity has produced a generally high return on investment. Texas Economic Development (TXED) (formerly the Texas Industrial Commission) helps businesses locate or expand their operations in the state. Its stated mission is to market Texas and assist communities to maximize their economic development opportunities. The main divisions within TXED are Business Development and Tourism. A private organization, the Texas Industrial Development Council, in Bryan, also assists new and developing industries.
Texas announced in 2004 it would put more focus on courting businesses within the technology sector through the establishment of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF), an outgrowth of the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) program. Targeted industries range from nanotechnology to environmental sciences.
The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 6.2 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate in 2003 was 17.2 per 1,000 population, the second-highest rate in the country for that year (following Utah). The abortion rate stood at 18.8 per 1,000 women in 2000. In 2003, about 80.9% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester. In 2004, approximately 73% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three.
The crude death rate in 2003 was 7 deaths per 1,000 population. As of 2002, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were: heart disease, 199.5; cancer,156.9; cerebrovascular diseases, 48.4; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 35.4; and diabetes, 26. The mortality rate from HIV infection was 4.9 per 100,000 population. In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 14.7 per 100,000 population. In 2002, about 58.8% of the population was considered overweight or obese. As of 2004, about 20.4% of state residents were smokers.
In 2003, Texas had 414 community hospitals with about 57,300 beds, the highest numbers in the nation. There were about 2.5 million patient admissions that year and 32.3 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 36,400 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $1,482. Also in 2003, there were about 1,143 certified nursing facilities in the state with 121,548 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 72%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 61.3% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year. Texas had 219 physicians per 100,000 resident population in 2004 and 656 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there were a total of 10,559 dentists in the state.
There are 8 medical schools, 2 dental colleges, and 64 schools of nursing in the state. The University of Texas has medical colleges at Dallas, Houston, Galveston, San Antonio, and Tyler. The University of Texas Cancer Center at Houston is one of the nation's major facilities for cancer research. Houston is also noted as a center for cardiovascular surgery. On 3 May 1968, Houston surgeon Denton Cooley performed the first human heart transplant in the United States.
In 2005, University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranked as the second best hospital in the nation for cancer care by U.S. News & World Report. In the same report, the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston was ranked eight in the nation for best care in heart disease and heart surgery. Texas Children's Hospital in Houston ranked fourth for best reputation in pediatric care.
About 17% of state residents were enrolled in Medicaid programs in 2003; 11% were enrolled in Medicare programs in 2004. Approximately 25% of the state population was uninsured in 2004; this was the highest percentage of uninsured residents in the nation. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $25.3 million.
In 2004, about 422,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $259. In fiscal year 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 2,451,197 persons (943,506 households); the average monthly benefit was about $90.41 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was over $2.6 billion. the highest total in the nation.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reauthorized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. Texas's TANF cash assistance program, run by the Department of Human Services, is called Texas Works; the work program, run by the Texas Workforce Commission, is called Choices. In 2004, the state program had 250,000 recipients; state and federal expenditures on this TANF program totaled $405 million in fiscal year 2003.
In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 2,864,870 Texans. This number included 1,714,830 retired workers, 334,150 widows and widowers, 347,010 disabled workers, 203,650 spouses, and 265,130 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 12.7% of the total state population and 89.7% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $930; widows and widowers, $870; disabled workers, $884; and spouses, $452. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $424 per month; children of deceased workers, $604; and children of disabled workers, $253. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments in December 2004 went to 472,347 Texas residents, averaging $362 a month. An additional $51,000 of state-administered supplemental payments were distributed to 10,371 residents.
The variety of Texas architectural styles reflects the diversity of the state's topography and climate. In the early settlement period, Spanish-style adobe houses were built in southern Texas. During the 1840s, Anglo-American settlers in the east erected primitive log cabins. These were later replaced by "dog-run" houses, consisting of two rooms linked by an open passageway covered by a gabled roof, so-called because pet dogs slept in the open, roofed shelter, as did occasional overnight guests. During the late 19th century, southern-style mansions were built in East Texas, and the familiar ranch house, constructed of stone and usually stuccoed or whitewashed, with a shingle roof and a long porch, proliferated throughout the state; the modern ranch house in southwestern Texas shows a distinct Mexican-Spanish influence. Climate affects such modern amenities as air conditioning: a new house in the humid eastern region is likely to have a refrigeration-style cooler, while in the dry west and south, an evaporating "swamp cooler" is the more common means of making hot weather bearable.
In 2004, Texas had an estimated 8,846,728 housing units, of which 7,790,853 were occupied; 65.1% were owner-occupied. That year, Texas had the second-highest number of housing units in the nation (following California). About 64.5% of all units were single-family, detached homes. About 63% of all units were built between 1950 and 1989. Electricity and utility gas were the most common energy sources for heating. It was estimated that 492,782 units lacked telephone service, 36,697 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 47,643 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household had 2.81 members.
In 2004, 188,800 new privately owned housing units were authorized for construction. The median home value was $99,858. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $1,166. Renters paid a median of $648 per month. In September 2005, the state received grants of over $2.4 million from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for rural housing and economic development programs. For 2006, HUD allocated to the state over $73.2 million in community development block grants (CDBG). Dallas was also awarded about $18.4 million in CDBG monies, Houston was awarded over $30.7 million, and San Antonio was awarded over $14.8 million. Also in 2006, HUD offered an additional $74.5 million to the state in emergency funds to rebuild housing that was destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in late 2005.
Although public instruction began in Texas as early as 1746, education was slow to develop during the period of Spanish and Mexican rule. The legislative foundation for a public school system was laid by the government of the Republic of Texas during the late 1830s, but funding was slow in coming. After annexation, in 1846, Galveston began to support free public schools, and San Antonio had at least four free schools by the time a statewide system of public education was established in 1854. Free segregated schooling was provided for black children beginning in the 1870s, but their schools were ill-maintained and underfinanced. School desegregation was accomplished during the 1960s, nonviolently for the most part.
In 2004, 78.3% of the population 25 years old and over had completed four years of high school, significantly lower than the national average of 84%. Some 24.5% had four or more years of college. The total enrollment for fall 2002 in Texas public schools stood at 4,260,000. Of these, 3,080,000 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 1,180,000 attended high school. Approximately 38.7% of the students were white, 14.3% were black, 43.8% were Hispanic, 2.9% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 0.3% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 4,277,000 in fall 2003 and expected to be 4,923,000 by fall 2014, an increase of 15.6% during the period 2002–14. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $38 billion. In fall 2003 there were 220,206 students enrolled in 1,282 private schools. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005, eighth graders in Texas scored 281 out of 500 in mathematics compared with the national average of 278.
As of fall 2002, there were 1,152,369 students enrolled in college or graduate school; minority students comprised 41.3% of total postsecondary enrollment. In 2005 Texas had 208 degree-granting institutions. Institutions of higher education include 42 public four-year colleges and universities, 69 public two-year college campuses, and 51 nonprofit, private four-year schools. The leading public universities are Texas A&M (College Station), which opened in 1876, and the University of Texas (Austin), founded in 1883. Each institution is now the center of its own university system, including campuses in several other cities. Oil was discovered on lands owned by the University of Texas in 1923, and beginning in 1924, the university and Texas A&M shared more than $1 billion in oil-related rentals and royalties. Other state-supported institutions include the University of Houston and Texas Tech University (Lubbock).
The first private college in Texas was Rutersville, established by a Methodist minister in Fayette County in 1840. The oldest private institution still active in the state is Baylor University (1845), at Waco. Other major private universities include Hardin-Simmons (Abilene), Rice (Houston), Southern Methodist or SMU (Dallas), and Texas Christian, or TCU (Ft. Worth). Well-known black-oriented institutions of higher learning include Texas Southern University in Houston and Prairie View A&M University.
Tuition charges to Texas colleges are among the lowest in the nation. The Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation administers a guaranteed-loan program and tuition equalization grants for students in need.
In 2005, the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) and other Texas arts organizations received 91 grants totaling $2,751,200 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA); in 2006 TCA celebrated its 40th anniversary. Humanities Texas, formerly the Texas Council for the Humanities was established in 1965. In 2005, the National Endowment for the Humanities contributed $3,677,357 for 47 state programs. The state and private sources also provide funding to the Commission and other arts organizations. Both the Texas Museums Association and Texas Responds—a grant program for Texas library services and programs—provided aid for hurricane victims affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
Although Texas has never been regarded as a leading cultural center, the arts have a long history in the state. The cities of Houston and Matagorda each had a theater before they established churches, and the state's first theater was active in Houston as early as 1838. Stark Young founded the Curtain Club acting group at the University of Texas in Austin in 1909 and the little-theater movement began in that city in 1921. As of 2005, the arts flourished at Houston's Theater District, Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, and Alley Theater, as well as at the Dallas Theater Center, and Theater Three. The Dallas theater company, run by the groundbreaking artist, Margo Jones had a national reputation. After her death in 1955 other companies were founded such as the Texas Repertory Theater Company in Houston. During the late 1970s, Texas also emerged as a center for motion picture production. The city of Austin has since become the host for the Austin Film Festival and the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film festival and SXSW Music and Media Conference and Festival.
Texas has five major symphony orchestras—the Dallas Symphony (performing in the Myerson Symphony Center since 1989), Houston Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Austin Symphony, and Fort Worth Symphony—and 25 orchestras in other cities. The Houston Grand Opera performs at Jones Hall, and in 1999 received a National Endowment for the Arts Access grant to provide free outdoor performances and artist residencies.
Several cities have resident dance companies, including Abilene, Amarillo, Denton, Galveston, Garland, Longview, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa, and Pampa. The ballet groups in Fort Worth, Austin, and Corpus Christi are notable. As of 2005, the Houston Ballet, founded in 1955, was the fifth-largest ballet company in the United States.
Popular music in Texas stems from early Spanish and Mexican folk songs, Negro spirituals, cowboy ballads, and German-language songfests. Texans pioneered a kind of country and western music that is more outspoken and direct than Nashville's commercial product, and a colony of country-rock songwriters and musicians were active in the Austin area during the 1970s. Texans of Mexican ancestry have also fashioned a Latin-flavored music ("Tejano") that is as distinctly "Tex-Mex" as the state's famous chili. The Texas Talent Musicians Association (TTMA) holds the annual Tejano Music Awards in San Antonio.
There are a number of groups for writers and storytellers, including the Writers' League of Texas and the Tejas Storytelling Association. In 2005 the Texas Storytelling Association celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Texas Storytelling Festival and in 2006 the Writers' League of Texas celebrated its 25th anniversary. In 2000, the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature (chartered in 1997) opened in Abilene. Besides sponsoring its own museum of illustrated works, the Center provides educational programs and exhibits for teachers and other display venues.
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
In 2001, Texas had 540 public library systems, with a total of 825 libraries, of which there were 285 branches. In that same year, the Texas public library system had 35,725,000 volumes of books and serial publications, and a total circulation of 81,505,000. The system also had 1,350,000 audio and 1,139,000 video items, 100,000 electronic format items (CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and disks), and 15 bookmobiles. Funding for public libraries in Texas comes from local cities, counties, school districts, and state and federal sources, with additional funding from donations, gifts, and corporate and foundation grants. In fiscal year 2001,operating income for the state's public library system totaled $319,354,000 and included $3,129,000 in federal grants, and $1,672,000 in state grants.
The largest municipal libraries in Texas include the Houston Public Library with 4,573,356 volumes, and the Dallas Public Library with 2,568,852 volumes. The University of Texas at Austin, noted for outstanding collections in the humanities and in Latin American studies, had over seven million volumes in 1998. The Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library is also located in Austin, as is the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building. Other notable academic libraries include those of Texas A&M University, with over two million volumes, and the University of Houston, Rice University, Southern Methodist University, and Texas Tech University, all with collections of over one million volumes.
Among the state's 389 museums are Austin's Texas Memorial Museum; the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts and the Dallas Museum of Art; and the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, the Ft. Worth Art Museums, and Kimbell Art Museum, all in Ft. Worth. Houston has the Museum of Fine Arts, Contemporary Arts Museum, and at least 30 galleries. Both Dallas-Ft. Worth and Houston have become major centers of art sales.
National historic sites in Texas are Ft. Davis (Jeff Davis County), President Johnson's boyhood home and Texas White House (Blanco and Gillespie counties), and the San Jose Mission (San Antonio). Other historic places include the Alamo, Dwight D. Eisenhower's birthplace at Denison, the Sam Rayburn home in Bonham, and the John F. Kennedy memorials in Dallas. A noteworthy prehistoric Indian site is the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, located in Potter County and accessible by guided tour.
In 2004, 91.8% of the occupied housing units in Texas had telephones. In addition, by June of that same year there were 12,091,134 mobile wireless telephone subscribers. In 2003, 59.0% of Texas households had a computer and 51.8% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 2,989,919 high-speed lines in Texas, 2,737,826 residential and 252,093 for business.
Dallas was one of Western Union's first US communications satellite stations, and it leads the state as a center for data communications. The state has not always been in the communications vanguard, however. Texas passed up a chance to make a handsome profit from the invention of the telegraph when, in 1838, inventor Samuel F. B. Morse offered his newfangled device to the republic as a gift. When the Texas government neglected to respond, Morse withdrew the offer.
Texas had 298 major radio stations (73 AM, 225 FM) in 2005 and 87 major television stations. The state's first radio station, WRR, was established by the city of Dallas in 1920. The first television station, WBAP, began broadcasting in Ft. Worth in 1948. In 1999, the Dallas-Fort Worth area has 2,018,120 television households, only 51% receiving cable; the Houston area has 1,712,060 television households, 58% with cable; and the San Antonio area has 684,730 television homes, 66% with cable.
Approximately 439,135 Internet domain names were registered with the state in the year 2000; the third most of any state.
The first newspaper in Texas was a revolutionary Spanish-language sheet published in May 1813 at Nacogdoches. Six years later, the Texas Republican was published by Dr. James Long in the same city. In 1835, the Telegraph and Texas Register became the official newspaper of the Texas Republic and it continued to publish until 1877. The first modern newspaper was the Galveston News (1842), a forerunner of the Dallas Morning News (1885).
In 2005, Texas had 49 morning dailies, 36 evening dailies, and 78 Sunday papers. Texas had the second-largest number of daily newspapers in the country in 2005 (second to California). In 2004, the Houston Chronicle and the Dallas Morning News were ranked as the ninth- and tenth-largest daily newspapers nationwide.
The newspapers with the largest daily circulations (2005 est.) were as follows:
|Dallas||Morning News (m,S)||519,014||755,803|
|Fort Worth||Star-Telegram (m,S)||258,489||326,803|
|San Antonio||Express-News (m,S)||270,067||356,680|
In 2005, there were 491 weekly newspapers with a total circulation of 2,545,596. Of these, the paid weekly Park City News of Highland Park ranked seventh in the United States with a circulation of 51,000. Two free weeklies, the McAllen Valley Town Crier and the San Antonio North Side Recorder-Times, ranked ninth (104,037) and fourteenth (83,700), respectively, by circulation in the United States. The Texas Almanac, a comprehensive guide to the state, has been issued at regular intervals since 1857 by the A.H. Belo Corp., publishers of the Dallas Morning News. Leading magazines include the Texas Monthly and Texas Observer, both published in Austin.
In 2006, there were over 14,665 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 10,292 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious organizations. Irving is the home of one of the nation's largest organizations, the Boy Scouts of America.
Important medical groups are the American Heart Association, the National Association for Retarded Citizens, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the American Pediatric Society, the American Organ Transplant Association, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the American Board of Otolaryngology. The National Temperance and Prohibition Council is in Richardson.
Other professional associations include the American Engineering Association, the Working Ranch Cowboys Association, and the National Athletic Trainers' Association. The Association of Space Explorers., based in Houston, is an international professional organization for astronauts who have made at least one orbit around the Earth.
Among the many organizations devoted to horse breeding are the American Quarter Horse Association, Amarillo, the National Cutting Horse Association, and American Paint Association. Ft. Worth is the home of the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America.
The scholarly organization American Mensa is based in Arlington. National and state arts and cultural organizations include the American Association of Community Theatre, the American Cowboy Culture Association, the American Indian Arts Council, the Texas Folklore Society, the Texas International Theatrical Arts Society, the Texas Historical Foundation, and the Writers' League of Texas. National sports organizations based in Texas include the United States Professional Tennis Association and the United States Youth Soccer Association.
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
In 2004, the state hosted over 180 million visitors with direct travel spending at $44.4 billion, an all-time high. The industry supported 500,000 jobs with $13 million in payroll. Marketing for tourism and travel to Texas is the responsibility of Texas Economic Development Market Texas Tourism. Dallas-Ft. Worth, San Antonio, and Austin are the cities most frequently visited.
Each of the state's seven major tourist regions offers outstanding attractions. East Texas has one of the state's oldest cities, Nacogdoches, with the nation's oldest public thoroughfare and a reconstruction of the Old Stone Fort, a Spanish trading post dating from 1779. Jefferson, an important 19th-century inland port, has many old homes, including Excelsior House. Tyler, which bills itself as the "rose capital of the world," features a 28-acre (11-hect-are) municipal rose garden and puts on a Rose Festival each October. The Gulf Coast region of southeastern Texas offers the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, the Astrodome sports stadium, and adjacent Astroworld amusement park, and a profusion of museums, galleries, and shops, all in metropolitan Houston; Spindle-top Park, in Beaumont, commemorates the state's first great oil gusher; Galveston's sandy beaches, deep-sea fishing, and Sea-Arama Marineworld; and the Padre Island National Seashore.
To the north, the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area (including Arlington) has numerous cultural and entertainment attractions, including the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park and the state fair held in Dallas each October. Old Abilene Town amusement park, with its strong western flavor, is also popular with visitors. The Hill Country of south-central Texas encompasses many tourist sites, including the state capitol in Austin, Waco's Texas Ranger Museum (Ft. Fisher), the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Site, and frontier relics in Bastrop and Bandera. The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library is in Austin and the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library is in College Station.
South Texas has the state's most famous historic site—the Alamo, in San Antonio. The Rio Grande Valley Museum, at Harlingen, is popular with visitors, as is the King Ranch headquarters in Kleberg County. The Great Plains region of the Texas panhandle offers Palo Duro Canyon—Texas's largest state park covering 16,402 acres (6,638 hectares) in Armstrong and Randall counties; the Prairie Dog Town at Lubbock; Old West exhibits at Matador; and the cultural and entertainment resources of Amarillo. In the extreme northwestern corner of the panhandle is the XIT Museum, recalling the famous XIT Ranch, at one time the world's largest fenced ranch, which formerly covered more than 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares). Outstanding tourist sites in the far west are the Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains national parks, the Jersey Lilly Saloon and Judge Roy Bean visitor center in Langtry, and metropolitan El Paso. Texas also has the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail with 624 mi (1,040 km) of coastline viewing.
Texas's park system includes Palo Duro Canyon, Big Creek (Ft. Bend County), Brazos Island (Cameron County), Caddo Lake (Harrison County), Dinosaur Valley (Somervell County), Eisenhower (Grayson County), Galveston Island, and Longhorn Cavern (Burnet County). State historical parks include San Jacinto Battleground (east Harris County), Texas State Railroad (Anderson and Cherokee counties), and Washington-on-the-Brazos (Washington County). Hunting and fishing are extremely popular in Texas. White-tailed deer are hunted as a way of cutting the wildlife population; thousands of jabalina and wild turkeys are shot annually.
Texas has 11 major professional sports teams: the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros of Major League Baseball; the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans of the National Football League; the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League; the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association; the Houston Comets and San Antonio Silver Stars of the Women's National Basketball Association, and the FC Dallas, formerly the Dallas Burn, of Major League Soccer. The Cowboys are, by far, the most consistently successful of Texas's teams. They have won the Super Bowl five times—in 1972, 1978, 1993, 1994, and 1996. They have appeared in it and lost an additional three times. The Houston Rockets won consecutive NBA Championships in 1994 and 1995. Houston lost the Oilers of the NFL, who moved to Tennessee after the 1996 season. However, an expansion team, the Texans, replaced them and began NFL play in 2002. Texas is also home to many minor league baseball and hockey teams.
Pari-mutuel betting on horse races was legalized in Texas in the early 1990s, and thoroughbred tracks are open near Houston and Dallas. Quarter-horse racing is also popular and rodeo is a leading spectator sport. Participant sports popular with Texans include hunting, fishing, horseback riding, boating, swimming, tennis, and golf. State professional and amateur golf tournaments are held annually, as are numerous rodeos. The Texas Sports Hall of Fame was organized in 1951; new members are selected each year by a special committee of the Texas Sports Writers Association.
There are a plethora of colleges and universities in Texas, with many elite teams in football, basketball, and baseball. The University of Texas Longhorns are traditionally strong in football, having captured four national championships (1963, 1969, 1970, 2005) and made over 40 bowl game appearances. They also have a very solid baseball program. Texas A&M University in College Station also has an elite football program. Their team earned a national championship in 1939 and won 18 conference titles in the now-defunct Southwestern Conference. In 1998 the Aggies won the Big Twelve Conference title. Texas Tech's women's basketball team has been consistently ranked as a top team in the national polls. Baylor and Rice Universities, of the Big Twelve Conference and Western Athletic Conference, respectively, both field outstanding baseball teams. The teams are traditionally ranked high in the national polls. The Rice Owls won the 2003 College World Series.
Two NASCAR Nextel Cup races, the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 and the Dickies 500, and two NASCAR Busch Grand National series races, the O'Reilly 300 and the O'Reilly Challenge, are held each year at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
Two native sons of Texas have served as president of the United States. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890–1969), the 34th president, was born in Denison, but his family moved to Kansas when he was two years old. Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908–73), the 36th president, was the only lifelong resident of the state to serve in that office. Born near Stonewall, he occupied center stage in state and national politics for a third of a century as US representative, Democratic majority leader of the US Senate, and vice president under John F. Kennedy, before succeeding to the presidency af-ter Kennedy's assassination. Reelected by a landslide, Johnson accomplished much of his Great Society program of social reform but saw his power and popularity wane because of the war in Viet Nam. His wife, Claudia Alta Taylor "Lady Bird" Johnson (b.1912), was influential in environmental causes as First Lady.
Texas's other native vice president was John Nance Garner (1868–1967), former speaker of the US House of Representatives. George Bush (b.Massachusetts, 1924), who founded his own oil development company and has served in numerous federal posts, was elected vice president in 1980 on the Republican ticket and reelected in 1984, then elected to the presidency in 1988. Tom C. Clark (1899–1977) served as an associate justice on the US Supreme Court from 1949 to 1967; he stepped down when his son Ramsey (b.1927) was appointed US attorney general, a post the elder Clark had also held.
Another prominent federal officeholder from Texas was Jesse H. Jones (1874–1956), who served as chairman of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and secretary of commerce under Franklin D. Roosevelt. Oveta Culp Hobby (1905–95), publisher of the Houston Post, became the first director of the Women's Army Corps (WAC) during World War II and the first secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Eisenhower. John Connally (1917–1993), a protégé of Lyndon Johnson's, served as secretary of the US Navy under Kennedy and, as governor of Texas, was wounded in the same attack that killed the president; subsequently, he switched political allegiance, was secretary of the treasury under Richard Nixon, and had been active in Republican Party politics. Other federal officials from Texas include "Colonel" Edward M. House (1858–1938), principal advisor to President Wilson, and Leon Jaworski (1905–82), the Watergate special prosecutor whose investigations led to President Nixon's resignation. Lloyd Bentsen, a senator and a secretary of the treasury, was born 11 February 1921 in Mission, Texas.
The state's most famous legislative leader was Sam Rayburn (1882–1961), who served the longest tenure in the nation's history as speaker of the US House of Representatives—17 years in three periods between 1940 and 1961. James Wright (b.1922) was Democratic majority leader of the House in the 1970s and early 1980s, and Barbara C. Jordan (1936–96) won national attention as a forceful member of the House Judiciary Committee during its impeachment deliberations in 1974.
Famous figures in early Texas history include Moses Austin (b.Connecticut, 1761–1821) and his son, Stephen F. Austin (b.Virginia, 1793–1836), often called the "father of Texas." Samuel "Sam" Houston (b.Virginia, 1793–1863), adopted as a youth by the Cherokee, won enduring fame as commander in chief of the Texas revolutionary army, as president of the Texas Republic, and as the new state's first US senator; earlier in his career, he had been governor of Tennessee. Mirabeau Bonaparte Lamar (b.Georgia, 1798–1859), the second president of the republic, founded the present state capital (now called Austin) in 1839. Anson Jones (b.Massachusetts, 1798–1858) was the last president of the republic.
Noteworthy state leaders include John H. Reagan (b.Tennessee, 1818–1905), postmaster general for the Confederacy; he dominated Texas politics from the Civil War to the 1890s, helping to write the state constitutions of 1866 and 1875, and eventually becoming chairman of the newly created Texas Railroad Commission. The most able Texas governor was probably James Stephen Hogg (1851–1906), the first native-born Texan to hold that office. Another administration with a progressive record was that of Governor James V. Allred (1899–1959), who served during the 1930s. In 1924 Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson (1875–1961) became the first woman to be elected governor of a state, and she was elected again in 1932. With her husband, Governor James E. Ferguson (1871–1944), she was active in Texas politics for nearly 30 years. Texas military heroes include Audie Murphy (1924–71), the most decorated soldier of World War II (and later a film actor), and Admiral of the Fleet Chester W. Nimitz (1885–1966).
Figures of history and legend include James Bowie (b.Kentucky, 1796?–1836), who had a reputation as a brawling fighter and wheeler-dealer until he died at the Alamo: he is popularly credited with the invention of the bowie knife. David "Davy" Crockett (b.Tennessee, 1786–1836) served three terms as a US representative from Tennessee before departing for Texas; he, too, lost his life at the Alamo. Among the more notorious Texans was Roy Bean (b.Kentucky, 1825–1903), a judge who proclaimed himself "the law west of the Pecos." Gambler, gunman, and desperado John Wesley Hardin (1853–95) boasted that he "never killed a man who didn't deserve it." Bonnie Parker (1910–34) and Clyde Barrow (1909–34), second-rate bank robbers and murderers who were shot to death by Texas lawmen, achieved posthumous notoriety through the movie Bonnie and Clyde (1967).
Many Texas businessmen have profoundly influenced the state's politics and lifestyle. Clint Murchison (1895–1969) and Sid Richardson (1891–1959) made great fortunes as independent oil operators and spread their wealth into other enterprises: Murchison became owner-operator of the successful Dallas Cowboys professional football franchise, and Richardson, through the Sid Richardson Foundation, aided educational institutions throughout the Southwest. Oilman H(aroldson) L(afayette) Hunt (b.Illinois, 1889–1974), reputedly the wealthiest man in the United States, was an avid supporter of right-wing causes. Howard Hughes (1905–79), an industrialist, aviation pioneer, film producer, and casino owner, became a fabulously wealthy eccentric recluse in his later years. Stanley Marcus (1905–2002), head of the famous specialty store Neiman-Marcus, became an arbiter of taste for the world's wealthy and fashionable men and women. Rancher Richard King (b.New York, 1825–85) put together the famed King Ranch, the largest in the United States at his death. Charles Goodnight (b.Illinois, 1836–1929) was an outstanding cattleman. H. Ross Perot, billionaire computer soft ware developer and independent presidential candidate in 1992 and 1996, was born 27 June 1930 in Dallas.
Influential Texas historians include folklorist John A. Lomax (b.Mississippi, 1867–1948); Walter Prescott Webb (1888–1963), whose books The Great Plains and The Great Frontier helped shape American thought; and J. Frank Dobie (1888–1964), well-known University of Texas educator and compiler of Texas folklore. Dan Rather (b.1931) has earned a nationwide reputation as a television reporter and anchorman. Frank Buck (1884–1950), a successful film producer, narrated and appeared in documentaries showing his exploits among animals.
William Sydney Porter (b.North Carolina, 1862–1910) apparently embezzled funds from an Austin bank, escaped to Honduras, but returned to serve a three-year jail term—during which time he began writing short stories, later published under the pen name O. Henry. Katherine Anne Porter (1890–1980) also won fame as a short-story writer. Fred Gipson (1908–73) wrote Hound Dog Man and Old Yeller, praised by critics as a remarkable evocation of a frontier boy's viewpoint. Two novels by Larry McMurtry (b.1936), Horsemen, Pass By (film title, Hud ) and The Last Picture Show, became significant motion pictures. Robert Rauschenberg (b.1925) is a leading contemporary painter. Elisabet Ney (b.Germany, 1833–1907), a sculptor, came to Texas with a European reputation and became the state's first determined feminist; she wore pants in public, and seldom passed up an opportunity to transgress Texans' Victorian mores. E. Donnall Thomas, 1990 co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in medicine, was born 15 March 1920 in Mart, Texas.
Prominent Texans in the entertainment field include Mary Martin (1913–1990), who reigned over the New York musical comedy world for two decades; her son, Larry Hagman (b.1931), star of the Dallas television series; actress Debbie Reynolds (b.1931); movie director King Vidor (1894–1982); and Joshua Logan (1903–1988), director of Broadway plays and Hollywood movies. Texans who achieved national reputations with local repertory companies were Margo Jones (1912–55) and Nina Vance (1914–80), who founded and directed theater groups in Dallas and Houston, respectively; and Preston Jones (1936–79), author of A Texas Trilogy and other plays.
Among Texas-born musicians, Tina Turner (b.1941) is a leading rock singer, as was Janis Joplin (1943–70). Willie Nelson (b.1933) wedded progressive rock with country music to start a new school of progressive "outlaw" music. Bob Wills (b.Oklahoma, 1905–75) was the acknowledged king of western swing. Musicians Trini Lopez (b.1937), Freddy Fender (Baldemar Huerta, b.1937), and Johnny Rodriguez (b.1951) have earned popular followings based on their Mexican-American music. Charlie Pride (b.Mississippi, 1938) became the first black country-western star. Other country-western stars born in Texas are Waylon Jennings (1937–2002) and Kenny Rogers (b.1938). In the jazz field, pianist Teddy Wilson (1912–86) was a member of the famed Benny Goodman trio in the 1930s. Trombonist Jack Teagarden (1905–64) and trumpeter Harry James (1916–83) have also been influential.
The imposing list of Texas athletes is headed by Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias (1913–56), who gained fame as an All-American basketball player in 1930, won two gold medals in track and field in the 1932 Olympics, and was the leading woman golfer during the 1940s and early 1950s. Another Texan, John Arthur "Jack" Johnson (1878–1946), was boxing's first black heavyweight champion. Texans who won fame in football include quarterbacks Sammy Baugh (b.1914), Don Meredith (b.1938), and Roger Staubach (b.Ohio, 1942); running back Earl Campbell (b.1955); and coaches Dana X. Bible (1892–1980). Darrell Royal (b.Oklahoma, 1924), and Thomas Wade "Tom" Landry (1924–2000). Tim Brown (b.Dallas, Texas 1966), a wide receiver in the NFL, won the Heisman Trophy in 1987 as a member of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Among other Texas sports greats are baseball Hall of Famers Tris Speaker (1888–1958) and Rogers Hornsby (1896–1963); golfers Ben Hogan (1912–97), Byron Nelson (b.1912), and Lee Trevino (b.1939); auto racing driver A(nthony) J(oseph) Foyt (b.1935); and jockey William Lee "Willie" Shoemaker (1931–2003). Nolan Ryan, pitching giant, was born 31 January 31 1947 in Refugio, Texas.
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Chipman, Donald E. Spanish Texas, 1519–1821. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992.
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COPYRIGHT 2007 Cengage Learning
TEXAS. The varied geography of Texas has helped to shape its history. The eastern third of the state's 266,807 square miles is mostly humid woodlands, much like Louisiana and Arkansas. A broad coastal plain borders the Gulf of Mexico. Much of southwest and far-west Texas is semiarid or arid desert, and west-central Texas northward through the Panhandle marks the southernmost part of the Great Plains. The central and north-central regions of the state are mostly gently rolling prairies with moderate rainfall. Moving from northeast to southwest, the major rivers are the Red, Sabine, Trinity, Brazos, Colorado, Guadalupe, Nueces, and Rio Grande; none has ever proven very suitable for navigation. The state is generally flat, with the exception of the Hill Country region west of the Austin–San Antonio area and the Davis Mountains of far west Texas.
The First Texans
Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Texas was home to a diverse collection of native peoples. Most numerous of these were the Hasinai branch of the Caddo Indians in east Texas, an agricultural society related to the mound-building cultures of the Mississippi Valley. Along the upper and central Gulf Coast ranged the nomadic Karankawas, and south Texas was home to various hunter-gatherers collectively known as Coahuiltecans. The Apaches were the dominant Plains nation, following the great herds of bison. Numerous small groups, including the Jumanos of southwest Texas and the Tonkawas of central Texas, lived in various parts of the state.
Europeans first viewed Texas in 1519, when an expedition led by the Spaniard Alonso Álvarez de Pineda mapped the Gulf Coast from Florida to Mexico. In 1528 survivors of the Pánfilo de Narváez expedition, which had previously explored parts of Florida, washed ashore in the vicinity of Galveston Island during a storm. Only four men survived the first few months, including Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, whose memoir became the first published account of Texas. After more than seven years of harrowing adventure, the castaways finally made their way back to Mexico in 1536.
The tales of Cabeza de Vaca and his companions inspired the expedition of Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, who entered the Texas Panhandle from New Mexico in 1541. Although he failed in his search for gold, Coronado was the first European to see Palo Duro Canyon and to encounter the Apache Indians. In 1542, while Coronado was crossing the Panhandle, an expedition led by Luis de Moscoso Alvarado was entering east Texas from Louisiana. Moscoso perhaps reached as far as the Brazos River before returning to the Mississippi. When Coronado and Moscoso failed to find riches in Texas, Spain abandoned its efforts to explore or exploit Texas. For the next 140 years, Spain would claim the vast region, but only when the French suddenly appeared on the scene did Texas again become a priority.
In 1684 René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, sailed from France with the intention of establishing a colony at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Overshooting his target by 400 miles, he landed instead at Matagorda Bay. At a well-concealed point at the head of the bay, he built a crude camp commonly known as Fort Saint Louis. Beset by disease, disunity, and hostile Indians, the settlement lasted only four years, with La Salle being killed by his own men in 1687. But the ill-fated French venture alerted the Spanish to the dangers of losing Texas, and La Salle unintentionally became the impetus for the creation of a permanent Spanish presence in Texas.
Between 1684 and 1689 Spain dispatched five sea and six land expeditions to locate and expel La Salle. Finally, in 1689 a party led by Alonso de León found the ruins of La Salle's settlement. The French were gone, but Spain was now determined to establish a presence in east Texas among the Hasinai. The following year the Spanish established Mission San Francisco de los Tejas in present-day Houston County. However, floods, disease, and poor relations with the Indians caused the Franciscan missionaries to abandon the effort in 1693.
Spain tried to move back into east Texas beginning in 1716, eventually founding six missions and a presidio there. In 1718 Martín de Alarcón, the governor of Coahuila and Texas, founded a mission and presidio on the San Antonio River in south central Texas to serve as a halfway station between the east Texas missions and the Rio Grande. In time, the San Antonio complex would become the capital and principal settlement of Spanish Texas.
Spain's second effort in east Texas proved little more successful than the first, and by 1731 most of the missions in the east had been abandoned, leaving Spain with only a token presence in the area. Missions and presidios founded in other parts of Texas in the mid-1700s, such as the Mission San Sabá near present-day Menard, met with disease, Indian attack, or other problems and were all short-lived. In 1773, following an inspection tour by the Marqués de Rubí, the crown ordered the abandonment of the remaining east Texas settlements. Spain had acquired Louisiana from France in 1763 and no longer needed Texas as a buffer to French expansion. Some of the east Texas settlers resisted being resettled in San Antonio and eventually returned to east Texas, founding the town of Nacogdoches. By the late eighteenth century, then, Spanish Texas essentially consisted of San Antonio, Nacogdoches, and La Bahía (later renamed Goliad), which had been founded on the lower Texas coast in 1722. At its height around 1800, the non-Indian population of Spanish Texas numbered perhaps 4,000.
When the United States acquired the Louisiana Territory in 1803, Spain found itself with an aggressive new neighbor on its northern frontier. Over the next two decades Anglo-American adventurers known as "filibusters" launched repeated expeditions into Texas, with the intention of detaching it from New Spain. Two filibusters, Augustus Magee (1813) and James Long (1819, 1821), joined with Mexican revolutionary José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara to invade Texas from the United States. A Spanish royalist army crushed the rebels near San Antonio at the battle of Medina River and unleashed a reign of terror across Texas. By the time Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, the non-Indian population of Texas stood at no more than 3,000.
Hispanic Texans, or Tejanos, had supported the movement for Mexican independence, and they likewise endorsed the creation of a federal republic in the 1820s. Long neglected by Mexico City, many of these hardy settlers realized that trade with the United States held the best promise for prosperity. Therefore, when a bankrupt American businessman named Moses Austin proposed establishing a colony of 300 American families in 1821, his plan met with widespread support and gained the approval of Spanish authorities. Austin died before launching his colony, but his son, Stephen F. Austin, inherited the project and became Texas's first empresario (colonization agent). Austin's colony encompassed parts of nearly forty present-day Texas counties along the lower watersheds of the Brazos and Colorado Rivers. By 1834 some 15,000 Anglos lived in Texas, along with 4,000 Tejanos and 2,000 African American slaves.
The Texas Revolution
Relations between the Texan settlers and the Mexican government began to sour in 1830, when the Mexican congress passed a law intended to weaken Anglo influence in the state. Among other provisions, the Law of 6 April, 1830 placed Mexican troops in East Texas and canceled all empresario contracts, although Austin and one other empresario were later exempted from the ban. Over the next five years, clashes between settlers and Mexican soldiers occurred repeatedly, often over customs regulations. Anglos demanded free trade, repeal of the 1830 law, and separate statehood for Texas apart from Coahuila, to which it had been joined for administrative purposes since 1824. Matters came to a head in 1835, when President Antonio López de Santa Anna abandoned federalism altogether, abolished the 1824 constitution, and centralized power in his own hands. Anglo Texans, joined by some Tejanos, resisted Santa Anna; hostilities commenced at Gonzales on 2 October 1835. One month later, the Texans declared a provisional state government loyal to the 1824 constitution.
In February 1836 a Mexican army of several thousand commanded by Santa Anna arrived in San Antonio, where they found the old Alamo mission held by approximately 200 defenders. After a thirteen-day siege, Santa Anna's soldiers stormed the mission on March 6, killing all the defenders, including James Bowie, William Barret Travis, and David Crockett. Shortly thereafter, James Fannin surrendered a force of about 400 volunteers at Goliad, who were subsequently executed at Santa Anna's order. On March 2 a convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos declared independence and authorized Sam Houston to take command of all remaining troops in Texas. On 21 April 1836, following a six-week retreat across Texas, Houston's army attacked one division of the Mexican army at San Jacinto and won a stunning victory. Some 800 Mexican troops were killed or wounded and that many more captured, while Texan deaths numbered fewer than ten. Santa Anna was captured the next day and ordered his remaining troops from Texas. Independence was won.
The Republic of Texas
In September 1836 Sam Houston was elected president of the Republic of Texas. He faced a daunting task in rebuilding the war-torn country, securing it against re-invasion from Mexico and hostile Indians, achieving diplomatic recognition from the world community, and developing the economy. Over the next decade the record on all of these matters was mixed at best. Twice in 1842 Mexican armies invaded and briefly occupied San Antonio. On the western frontier the Comanche Indians (immigrants to Texas in the mid-1700s) terrorized settlers with their brilliant horsemanship and fierce warrior code. In east Texas the Republic waged a brutal war of extermination against the Cherokees (also recent immigrants), driving the survivors into what is now Oklahoma. The Republic also undertook imprudent ventures such as the 1841 Santa Fe Expedition, intended to open a trade route between Texas and New Mexico, which resulted instead in the capture and imprisonment of nearly 300 Texans by Mexico. The wars against the Indians and the Santa Fe Expedition can largely be laid at the doorstep of Mirabeau B. Lamar, who replaced Houston as president in 1838 and
believed in a sort of Texan version of Manifest Destiny. Under Lamar, the national debt rose from $1 million to $7 million and the currency depreciated drastically. Typical of Lamar's grandiose thinking was his action in moving the capital to Austin, a new village on the far western frontier. Exposed to Indian and Mexican attacks and difficult to reach, the new capital was a luxury that the republic could scarcely afford, but Lamar envisioned its future as the centrally located seat of a vast Texan empire.
By the time Houston returned to office in 1841, the financial condition of the republic made annexation by the United States critically important. Texans almost unanimously desired annexation, but concerns about slavery effectively prevented American action. In 1844, though, pro-annexation candidate James K. Polk captured the Democratic presidential nomination. When Polk won the election, the outgoing president, John Tyler, viewed it as a mandate for annexation. Having previously failed to gain Senate approval for a treaty of annexation, Tyler resorted to the tactic of annexing Texas by means of a congressional joint resolution requiring only simple majorities in both houses of Congress. It succeeded, and Texas officially entered the Union on 29 December 1845. The new state retained ownership of its vast public domain; it also retained its massive public debt. The new constitution reflected the strong Jacksonian political leanings of most Texans, creating a government with limited powers.
The Republic had enjoyed considerable success on one front: In a decade the population had grown from about 40,000 to nearly 140,000. The Republic had made land available practically free to immigrants from the United States, and it also resurrected the empresario system to attract immigrants from the United States and Europe. In the last years of the Republic, some 10,000 colonists from Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio settled in the E. S. Peters colony in northeast Texas; about 7,000 Germans came to a grant in the Hill Country; and approximately 2,000 French Alsatians settled in Henri Castro's colony southwest of San Antonio. These immigrants gave Texas a more ethnically diverse population than most other southern states.
Statehood, Disunion, and Reconstruction
Immigration notwithstanding, after annexation Texas drew closer to the states of the Deep South, primarily due to the growth of slavery and the cotton economy. The enslaved population grew from 38,753 in 1847 to 182,566 in 1860. Cotton production increased from 58,000 bales in 1849 to 431,000 bales in 1859. As part of the Compromise of 1850, Texas surrendered its claims to parts of what are now New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming (thus assuming its modern boundaries) in return for federal assumption of its public debt. Texas thus enjoyed its most prosperous decade of the nineteenth century.
By 1860 Texas mirrored its fellow southern states economically and politically. Following Lincoln's election and the secession of the Deep South states, the state legislature called a secession convention and, over the strong opposition of Governor Sam Houston, voted to secede from the Union. Texas voters ratified the convention's decision by a three-to-one margin. About 60,000 Texans served the Confederacy, many of them in the eastern theatre of the war. Hood's Brigade and Terry's Rangers were among the better-known Texas units. On 19 June 1865, a date celebrated by black Texans as "Juneteenth," Union occupation troops under Gen. Gordon Granger landed at Galveston and declared the state's slaves free.
Texas' experiences in Reconstruction were typically southern. The state underwent Presidential Reconstruction in 1865 through 1866, resulting in the election of state and local governments dominated by former rebels, including Governor James Throckmorton, a former Confederate general. Black Codes returned African Americans to a condition of quasi-servitude.
When Congress took over the Reconstruction process in 1867, black males were enfranchised, many former Confederate office holders were removed (including Governor Throckmorton), and the Reconstruction process began anew. With African Americans voting, the Republican Party rose to power. The Republican Constitution of 1869 gave the new governor, Edmund J. Davis, and the legislature sweeping new authority. Davis, a former judge who had lived in Texas since the 1840s, had served in the Union Army and championed the rights of blacks. His administration created a system of public education for children of both races; established a state police force to help protect the lives and property of all citizens; and worked to attract railroads to Texas using government subsidies. The measures galvanized the Democratic opposition, and in 1872 the Democrats recaptured the state legislature. In December 1873 the Democrat Richard Coke, a former Confederate officer, defeated Davis and "redeemed" Texas from Republican rule. The triumphant Democrats undid virtually all of the Republican programs, and in 1876 they ratified a new state constitution that returned the state to its Jacksonian, limited-government, white-supremacist roots.
Texas in the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era
The 1870s marked the beginning of the longest agricultural depression in the state's history. Cotton prices declined steadily through the 1880s and 1890s; land prices and interest rates rose. By century's end a majority of white farmers had joined African Americans in the ranks of tenants and sharecroppers, trapped in a vicious spiral of debt and dependence. In 1900 half of Texas farmers worked on rented farms.
Railroads finally came to Texas. The Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad connected Texas to northern markets in 1872; by 1882 the Texas and Pacific and the Southern Pacific gave Texas east-west transcontinental connections. But the transportation revolution had come at a heavy price: The legislature had lured rail companies to Texas by granting them 32 million acres of the public domain.
One bright spot in the mostly bleak economic picture of the late nineteenth century was the growth of the cattle industry. The Spanish had first brought hardy longhorns to Texas in the 1700s. By the end of the Civil War millions of the animals roamed wild across the open grasslands south of San Antonio. Between 1866 and 1885, five million of these cattle were driven northward, first to Sedalia, Missouri, and later to a succession of railheads in Kansas. Thereafter the cattle industry declined precipitously. The arrival of railroads and the advance of the farming frontier ended the great overland cattle drives, confining cattle raising to ranches large and small. By this time, years of overgrazing had damaged the range and weakened herds. Then, in 1885 through 1886, two years of severe drought and an unprecedented blizzard killed thousands of cattle and drove many small operators out of business. Only the largest and most efficient ranches, such as the million-acre King Ranch in South Texas, survived.
As the farmers' depression deepened, complaints mounted against the established political parties, the rail-roads, and foreign capitalists. Many ordinary farmers
sought relief from self-help organizations such as the Patrons of Husbandry (popularly called the Grange) and the Farmers' Alliance. In 1891 Alliancemen founded the People's, or Populist, party. Between 1892 and 1896 the Populists competed vigorously with the Democrats, promising to rein in the monopolistic practices of railroads and large corporations, reform the nation's monetary system, and provide affordable credit for struggling farmers. The rise of Populism spurred the state Democrats to embrace limited reforms such as a railroad commission, which became a reality under Governor James S. Hogg (1891–1895). But Populism required far more government action than most Texans could stomach, and the party's willingness to appeal for African American votes further tainted it in the eyes of many whites. After 1896 Populism faded, but many of its ideas would resurface in progressivism and the New Deal.
In the aftermath of Populism, the Democratic Party sponsored electoral "reforms" that largely disfranchised blacks. Foremost among these, the 1902 poll tax also effectively eliminated large numbers of poor whites from politics. Middle-class white Texans embraced certain progressive reforms, such as woman's suffrage, prohibition, prison reform, and the commission plan of city government, but many elements of Texas progressivism were aimed at limiting the influence of northern and foreign capital in the state's economy. Changes in banking and insurance laws, designed to give Texas-owned companies competitive advantages, constituted much of what passed for progressivism in the state.
The Emergence of Modern Texas
The twentieth century began with two history-altering events. The first, a massive hurricane, devastated Galveston in September 1900, costing 6,000 lives in one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. But the other event ultimately overshadowed even that tragedy. On 10 January 1901 the greatest oil gusher in history blew in at Spindletop, near Beaumont. Texas immediately became the center of the world's petroleum industry. Hundreds of new oil firms came into existence; some, like Texaco, became huge. Perhaps more important than the oil itself was the subsequent growth of the refining, pipeline, oiltool, and petrochemical industries, which transformed the Gulf Coast into a manufacturing center, creating jobs and capital for investment. Growth of these industries, along with the discovery of massive new oil fields in east and west Texas, caused the Texas economy to modernize and begin diverging from the southern pattern of poverty and rurality.
As the economy modernized, however, Texas politics lagged behind. Governor James Ferguson, elected in 1914, three years later faced charges of corruption and suffered impeachment and a ban from future office holding. Undeterred, Ferguson ran his wife, Miriam, successfully twice, in 1924 and 1932, promising "two governors for the price of one." Most historians consider the Fergusons demagogues and an embarrassment to the state, characterizations that likewise applied to Governor W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel, a Fort Worth flour merchant who was elected governor in 1938 on a platform based on "the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule." Progressive Democrats, such as the New Dealer James V. Allred (governor from 1935 to 1939), were rare in Texas.
World War II transformed Texas. In 1940 a majority of Texans still lived in rural areas, and sharecroppers plowing cotton fields behind mules were still everyday sights. But the war drew hundreds of thousands of rural Texans into the military or into good-paying manufacturing jobs. By 1950 a majority of Texans lived in urban areas. Farms had mechanized and modernized. Much of this prosperity was due to federal spending, and for the first time the U.S. government was spending more in Texas than the state's citizens paid in federal taxes. Texas cities, which had always been relatively small, began to grow rapidly. By 1960 Houston boasted a population of 938,219, followed by Dallas's 679,684 and San Antonio's 587,718.
The Texas economy boomed in the 1970s, when world oil prices skyrocketed. The boom ended in 1983 and bottomed out in 1986. The oil "bust" plunged the state into a near-depression, as thousands of oil companies and financial institutions failed. Unemployment soared, and state tax revenues declined by 16 percent. But in the long run the crisis may have benefited the state, for it forced the economy to diversify and become less oil-dependent. In the 1990s Texas became a center of the "high-tech" revolution, with dramatic growth in electronics, communications, and health care–related industries. Population growth resumed. The 2000 census revealed that Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio had grown respectively to about 2 million, 1.2 million, and 1.1 million people. Even more dramatic was suburban growth; the greater Dallas–Fort Worth metropolitan area grew faster than any other large metropolitan area in the nation in the 1990s, with 5.2 million people by 2000, larger than 31 states. Overall, Texas passed New York to become the country's second-largest state, with a population of nearly 21 million. Much of this growth was fueled by Hispanic immigrants, who made up 32 percent of the Texas population in 2000.
As the economy modernized, so did Texas politics. The Civil Rights Movement enfranchised African Americans and Hispanics, who heavily favored liberal Democrats, including Texan Lyndon B. Johnson. This drove many conservative white voters into the Republican Party. In 1978, William P. Clements, Jr., became the first Republican elected to the governorship since Reconstruction. Two other Texas Republicans, George H. W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush, claimed the nation's highest office in 1988 and 2000, respectively. Democrats continued to dominate politics in the large cities, but at the state level the Republican revolution was completed in 1998, when Republicans held every statewide elective office.
Texas, then, entered the twenty-first century very much in the mainstream of American life and culture. Texans continued to take pride in their state's colorful history, and many non-Texans persisted in thinking of Texas as the land of cowboys and oil tycoons. But as a modern, diverse, urban, industrial state, Texas had become more like the rest of the nation and less like the rough-and-tumble frontier of its legendary past.
Barr, Alwyn. Reconstruction to Reform: Texas Politics, 1876–1906. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1971.
Buenger, Walter L. Secession and the Union in Texas. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984.
Calvert, Robert A., Arnoldo De León, and Gregg Cantrell. The History of Texas. 3rd ed. Wheeling, Ill.: Harlan Davidson, 2002.
Campbell, Randolph B. An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821–1865. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989.
Cantrell, Gregg. Stephen F. Austin, Empresario of Texas. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1999.
Chipman, Donald E. Spanish Texas, 1519–1821. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992.
Hogan, William R. The Texas Republic: A Social and Economic History. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946.
Lack, Paul D. The Texas Revolutionary Experience: A Social and Political History, 1835–1836. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1992.
Moneyhon, Carl H. Republicanism in Reconstruction Texas. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1980.
Montejano, David. Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836–1986. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987.
Smith, F. Todd. The Caddo Indians: Tribes at the Convergence of Empires, 1542–1854. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1995.
Spratt, John S. The Road to Spindletop: Economic Change in Texas, 1875–1901. Dallas, Tex.: Southern Methodist University Press, 1955.
See alsoAlamo, Siege of the ; Dallas ; El Paso ; Explorations and Expeditions, Spanish ; Fort Worth ; Galveston ; Houston ; Mexican-American War ; "Remember the Alamo" andvol. 9:Memories of the North American Invasion ; Mexican Minister of War's Reply to Manuel de la Peña y Peña ; Message on the War with Mexico ; The Story of Enrique Esparza .
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Texas (tĕk´səs), largest state in the coterminous United States. It is located in the south-central part of the country and is bounded by Oklahoma, across the Red River except in the Texas panhandle (N); Arkansas (NE); Louisiana, across the Sabine River (E); the Gulf of Mexico (SE); Mexico, across the Rio Grande (SW); and New Mexico (W).
Facts and Figures
Area, 267,338 sq mi (692,405 sq km). Pop. (2010) 25,145,561, a 20.6% increase since the 2000 census. Capital, Austin. Largest city, Houston. Statehood, Dec. 29, 1845 (28th state). Highest pt., Guadalupe Peak, 8,751 ft (2,667 m); lowest pt., sea level. Nickname, Lone Star State. Motto, Friendship. State bird, mockingbird. State flower, bluebonnet. State tree, pecan. Abbr., Tex., TX
Texas is roughly spade shaped. The vast expanse of the state contains great regional differences (the distance from Beaumont to El Paso is greater than that from New York to Chicago).
East Texas—the land between the Sabine and Trinity rivers—is Southern in character, with pine-covered hills, cypress swamps, and remnants of the great cotton plantations founded before the Civil War. Cotton farming has been supplemented by diversified agriculture, including rice cultivation; almost all of the state's huge rice crop comes from East Texas, and even the industrial cities of Beaumont and Port Arthur are surrounded by rice fields. The inland pines still supply a lumbering industry; Huntsville, Lufkin, and Nacogdoches are important lumber towns. The real wealth of East Texas, however, comes from its immense, rich oil fields. Longview is an oil center, and Tyler is the headquarters of the East Texas Oil Field. Oil is also the economic linchpin of Beaumont and Port Arthur and the basis for much of the heavy industry that crowds the Gulf Coast.
The industrial heart of the coastal area is Houston, the fourth largest city in the nation. Houston's development was spearheaded by the digging (1912–14) of a ship canal to the Gulf of Mexico, and the city today is the nation's second largest port in tonnage handled. Other Gulf ports in Texas are Galveston, Texas City, Brazosport (formerly Freeport), Port Lavaca, Corpus Christi, and Brownsville.
The S Gulf Coast is a popular tourist area, and some of the ports, such as Galveston and Corpus Christi, have economies dependent on both heavy industry and tourism. Brownsville, the southernmost Texas city and the terminus of the Intracoastal Waterway, is also the shipping center for the intensively farmed and irrigated Winter Garden section along the lower Rio Grande, where citrus fruits and winter vegetables are grown.
Rio Grande Valley
The long stretch of plains along the Rio Grande valley is largely given over to cattle ranching. Texas has c.1,000 mi (1,610 km) of border with Mexico. Some S and W Texas towns are bilingual, and in some areas persons of Mexican descent make up the majority of the population. Laredo is the most important gateway here to Mexico, with an excellent highway to Mexico City and important over-the-border commerce.
The first region to be farmed when Americans came to Texas in the 1820s was the bottomland of the lower Brazos and the Colorado, but not until settlers moved into the rolling blackland prairies of central and N central Texas was the agricultural wealth of the area realized. The heart of this region is the trading and shipping center of Waco; at the southwest extremity is San Antonio, the commercial center of a wide cotton, grain, and cattle country belt. To the north, Dallas and the neighboring city of Fort Worth together form one of the most rapidly developing U.S. metropolitan areas. Their oil-refining, grain-milling, and cotton- and food-processing capabilities have been supplemented since World War II by aircraft-manufacturing and computer and electronics industries.
The Balcones Escarpment marks the western margin of the Gulf Coastal Plain; in central Texas the line is visible in a series of waterfalls and rough, tree-covered hills. To the west lie the south central plains and the Edwards Plateau; they are essentially extensions of the Great Plains but are sharply divided from the high, windswept, and canyon-cut Llano Estacado (Staked Plain) in the W Panhandle by the erosive division of the Cap Rock Escarpment.
No traces of the subtropical lushness of the Gulf Coastal Plain are found in these regions; the climate is semiarid, with occasional blizzards blowing across the flat land in winter. The Red River area, including the farming and oil center of Wichita Falls, can have extreme cold in winter, though without the severity that is intermittently experienced in Amarillo, the commercial center of the Panhandle, or in the dry-farming area around Lubbock. Cattle raising began here in the late 1870s (settlers were slow in coming to the High Plains), and huge ranches vie with extensive wheat and cotton farms for domination of the treeless land. Oil and grain, however, have revolutionized the economy of this section of the state.
All of West Texas (that part of the state west of long. 100°W) is semiarid. South of the Panhandle lie the rolling plains around Abilene, a region cultivated in cotton, sorghum, and wheat and the site of oil fields discovered in the 1940s. The dry fields of West Texas are still given over to ranching, except for small irrigated areas that can be farmed. San Angelo serves as the commercial center of this area. The Midland-Odessa oil patch lies northeast of the Pecos River and is part of the Permian (West Texas) Basin, an oil field that extends into SE New Mexico.
The land beyond the Pecos River, rising to the mountains with high, sweeping plains and rough uplands, offers the finest scenery of Texas. There are found the Davis Mts. and Guadalupe Peak, the highest point (8,751 ft/2,667 m) in the state. The wilderness of the Big Bend of the Rio Grande is typical of the barrenness of most of this area, where water and people are almost equally scarce. El Paso, with diverse industries and major cross-border trade with Mexico, is a population oasis in the region.
Places of Interest
The Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is in the Houston area. Other places of interest in the state include Big Bend National Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Amistad and Lake Meredith national recreation areas, Padre Island National Seashore, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (see National Parks and Monuments, table), and Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge, winter home of the whooping crane. Austin is the capital; Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio are the largest cities.
Mineral resources compete with industry for primary economic importance in Texas. The state is the leading U.S. producer of oil, natural gas, and natural-gas liquids, despite recent production declines. It is also a major producer of helium, salt, sulfur, sodium sulfate, clays, gypsum, cement, and talc. Texas manufactures an enormous variety of products, including chemicals and chemical products, petroleum, food and food products, transportation equipment, machinery, and primary and fabricated metals. The development and manufacture of electronic equipment, such as computers, has in recent decades become one of the state's leading industries; the area around Dallas–Fort Worth has become known as "Silicon Prairie," a name now also extended to Austin and its suburbs.
Agriculturally, Texas is one of the most important states in the country. It easily leads the nation in producing cattle, cotton, and cottonseed. Texas also has more farms, farmland, sheep, and lambs than any other state. Principal crops are cotton lint, grains, sorghum, vegetables, citrus and other fruits, and rice; the greatest farm income is derived from cattle, cotton, dairy products, and greenhouse products. Hogs, wool, and mohair are also significant. Among other important Texas crops are melons, wheat, pecans, oats, and celery. Texas also has an important commercial fishing industry. Principal catches are shrimp, oysters, and menhaden.
Government, Politics, and Higher Education
The present constitution of Texas was adopted in 1876, replacing the "carpetbag" constitution of 1869. The state's executive branch is headed by a governor elected for a four-year term. Democrat Ann Richards, elected governor in 1990, was defeated for reelection in 1994 by Republican George W. Bush; Bush won reelection in 1998. After Bush was elected president of the United States, Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry succeeded him as governor (Dec., 2000) and was elected to the office in 2002, 2006, and 2010. In 2014, Republican Greg Abbott was elected governor. The state's legislature has a senate with 31 members and a house with 150 representatives. The state elects 2 senators and 36 representatives to the U.S. Congress and has 38 electoral votes. Texas politics were dominated by Democrats from the end of Reconstruction into the 1960s, but Republicans achieved parity in the 1990s and then dominance.
Among the many institutions of higher learning in Texas are the Univ. of Texas, mainly at Austin, but with large branches at Arlington, El Paso, and the Dallas suburb of Richardson; Baylor Univ., at Waco; East Texas State Univ., at Commerce; Univ. of North Texas, at Denton; Rice Univ., at Houston; Southern Methodist Univ., at Dallas; Texas A&M Univ., at College Station; Texas Arts and Industries Univ., at Kingsville; Texas Christian Univ., at Fort Worth; and Texas Southern Univ. and the Univ. of Houston, both at Houston.
Spanish Exploration and Colonization
The region that is now Texas was early known to the Spanish, who were, however, slow to settle there. Cabeza de Vaca, shipwrecked off the coast in 1528, wandered through the area in the 1530s, and Coronado probably crossed the northwest section in 1541. De Soto died before reaching Texas, but his men continued west, crossing the Red River in 1542. The first Spanish settlement was made (1682) at Ysleta on the site of present day El Paso by refugees from the area that is now New Mexico after the Pueblo revolt of 1680. Several missions were established in the area; but the Comanche, Apache, and other Native American tribes resented their encroachment, and the settlements did not flourish.
A French expedition led by La Salle penetrated E Texas in 1685 after failing to locate the mouth of the Mississippi. This incursion, though brief, stirred the Spanish to establish missions to hold the area. The first mission, founded in 1690 near the Neches, was named Francisco de los Tejas after the so-called tejas [friends]: Native Americans. This is also the origin of the state's name. In general, however, Spanish attempts to gain wealth from the wild region and to convert the indigenous population were unsuccessful, and in most places occupation was desultory.
American Expeditions and Settlement
By the early 19th cent. Americans were covetously eyeing Texas, especially after the Louisiana Purchase (1803) had extended the U.S. border to that fertile wilderness. Attempts to free Texas from Spanish rule were made in the expeditions of the adventurers Gutiérrez and Magee (1812–13) and James Long (1819). In 1821 Moses Austin secured a colonization grant from the Spanish authorities in San Antonio. He died from the rigors of his return trip from that distant outpost, but his son, Stephen F. Austin, had the grant confirmed and in Dec., 1821, led 300 families across the Sabine River to the region between the Brazos and Colorado rivers, where they established the first American settlement in Texas. Austin is known as the father of Texas.
The newly independent government of Mexico, pleased with Austin's prospering colony, readily offered grants to other American promoters and even gave huge land tracts to individual settlers. Americans from all over the Union, but particularly from the South, poured into Texas, and within a decade a considerable number of settlements had been established at Brazoria, Washington-on-the-Brazos, San Felipe de Austin, Anahuac, and Gonzales. The Americans easily avoided Mexican requirements that all settlers be Roman Catholic, but conflict with Mexican settlers over land titles resulted in the Fredonian Rebellion (1826–27).
By 1830 the Americans outnumbered the Mexican settlers by more than three to one and had formed their own society. The Mexican government became understandably concerned. Its sporadic attempts to tighten control over Texas had been hampered by its own political instability, but in 1830 measures were taken to stop the influx of Americans. Troops were sent to police the border, close the seaports, occupy the towns, and levy taxes on imported goods. The troops were withdrawn in 1832, when Mexico was again in political upheaval, but the Texans, alarmed and hoping to achieve a greater measure of self-government, petitioned Mexico for separate statehood (Texas was then part of Coahuila). When Austin presented the petition in Mexico City, Antonio López de Santa Anna had become military dictator. Austin was arrested and imprisoned for eighteen months, and Texas was regarrisoned.
Independence from Mexico
The Texas Revolution broke out (1835) in Gonzales when the Mexicans attempted to disarm the Americans and were routed. The American settlers then drove all the Mexican troops from Texas, overwhelming each command in surprise attacks. At a convention called at Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas declared its independence (Mar. 2, 1836). A constitution was adopted and David Burnet was named interim president.
The arrival of Santa Anna with a large army that sought to crush the rebellion resulted in the famous defense of the Alamo and the massacre of several hundred Texans captured at Goliad. Santa Anna then divided his huge force to cover as much territory as possible. The small Texas army, commanded by Samuel Houston, protected their rear, retreating strategically until Houston finally maneuvered Santa Anna into a cul-de-sac formed by heavy rains and flooding bayous, near the site of present-day Houston. In the battle of San Jacinto (Apr. 21, 1836), Houston surprised the larger Mexican force and scored a resounding victory. Santa Anna was captured and compelled to recognize the independence of Texas.
The Texas Republic and U.S. Annexation
Texans sought annexation to the United States, but antislavery forces in the United States vehemently opposed the admission of another slave state, and Texas remained an independent republic under its Lone Star flag for almost 10 years. The Texas constitution was closely modeled after that of the United States, but slaveholding was expressly recognized. Houston, the hero of the Texas Revolution, was the leading figure of the Republic, serving twice as president.
Under President Mirabeau Lamar large tracts of land were granted as endowments for educational institutions, and Austin was made (1839) the new capital of the republic. Despite the efforts of presidents Houston and Anson Jones, a combination of factors—confusion in the land system, insufficient credit abroad, and the expense of maintaining the Texas Rangers and protecting Texas from marauding Mexican forces—contributed to impoverishing the republic and increasing the urgency for its annexation to the United States.
Southerners pressed hard for the admission of Texas, the intrigues of British and French diplomats in Texas aroused U.S. concern, and expansionist policies began to gain popular support. President Tyler narrowly pushed the admission of Texas through Congress shortly before the expiration of his term; Texas formally accepted annexation in July, 1845. This act was the immediate cause of the Mexican War. After Gen. Zachary Taylor defeated the Mexicans at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, the Mexican forces retreated back across the Rio Grande.
Civil War and Reconstruction
During the pre–Civil War period settlers, attracted by cheap land, poured into Texas. Although open range cattle ranching was beginning to spread rapidly, cotton was the state's chief crop. The planter class, with its slaveholding interests, was strong and carried the state for the Confederacy, despite the opposition of Sam Houston and his followers. During the Civil War, Texas was the only Confederate state not overrun by Union troops. Remaining relatively prosperous, it liberally contributed men and provisions to the Southern cause.
Reconstruction brought great lawlessness, aggravated by the appearance of roving desperadoes. Radical Republicans, carpetbaggers, and scalawags controlled the government for several years, during which time they managed to lay the foundations for better road and school systems. Texas was readmitted to the Union in Mar., 1870, after ratifying the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments. Although Texas was not as racially embittered as the Deep South, the Ku Klux Klan and its methods flourished for a time as a means of opposing the policies of the radical Republicans.
The Late Nineteenth Century
Reconstruction in Texas ended in 1874 when the Democrats took control of the government. The following decade was politically conservative, highlighted by the passage of the constitution of 1876, which, although frequently amended, remains the basic law of the state. As in the rest of the South, the war and Reconstruction had resulted in the breakdown of the plantation system and the rise of tenant farming. This did not, however, have as marked an effect as elsewhere, partly because much of the land was still unsettled, but in greater measure, perhaps, because the Texas tradition is only partly Southern.
In the decades following the Civil War the Western element in Texas was strengthened as stock raising became a dominant element in Texas life. This was the era of the buffalo hunter and of the last of the Native American uprisings. From the open range and then from great fenced ranches, Texas cowboys drove herds of longhorn cattle over trails such as the Chisholm Trail to the railheads in Kansas and even farther to the grasslands of Montana. The traditional symbols of Texas are more the "ten-gallon" hat, the cattle brand, and spurs and saddles than anything reminiscent of the Old South.
As railroads advanced across the state during the 1870s, farmlands were increasingly settled, and the small farmers (the "nesters" ) came into violent conflict with the ranchers, a conflict which was not resolved until the governorship of John Ireland. Many European immigrants—especially Germans and Bohemians (Czechs)—took part in the peopling of the plains (they continued to arrive in the 20th cent., when many Mexicans also entered). Agrarian discontent saw the rise of the Greenback party, and during the 1880s demands for economic reform and limitation of the railroads' vast land domains were championed by the Farmers' Alliance and Gov. James S. Hogg. However, antitrust legislation was insufficient to curb the power of big business.
Oil, Industrialization, and World Wars
The transformation of Texas into a partly urban and industrial society was greatly hastened by the uncovering of the state's tremendous oil deposits. The discovery in 1901 of the spectacular Spindletop oil field near Beaumont dwarfed previous finds in Texas, but Spindletop itself was later surpassed as oil was discovered in nearly every part of Texas. Texas industry developed rapidly during the early years of the 20th cent., but conditions worsened for the tenant farmers, who by 1910 made up the majority of cultivators. Discontented tenants were largely responsible for the election of James Ferguson as governor.
World War I had a somewhat liberating effect on African-American Texans, but the reappearance of the Ku Klux Klan after the war helped to enforce "white supremacy." The economic boom of the 1920s was accompanied by further industrialization. The Great Depression of the 1930s, while severe, was less serious than in most states; the chemical and oil industries in particular continued to grow (the East Texas Oil Field was discovered in 1930).
The significance of the petrochemical and natural gas industries increased during World War II, when the aircraft industry also rose to prominence and the establishment of military bases throughout Texas greatly contributed to the state's economy. Postwar years brought continued prosperity and industrial expansion, although in the 1950s the state experienced the worst drought in its history and had its share of destructive hurricanes and flooding.
Many projects for increased flood control, improved irrigation, and enhanced power supply have been undertaken in Texas; notable among these are Denison Dam, forming Lake Texoma (shared between Texas and Oklahoma); Lewisville Dam and its reservoir, supplying Fort Worth and Dallas; Lake Texarkana on the Sulphur River; and Falcon Dam and its reservoir on the Rio Grande. The Amistad Dam on the Rio Grande, serving both the United States and Mexico, was completed in 1969.
Industry in the Late Twentieth Century
In the 1960s, Texas began to develop its technology industries as oil became less easy to exploit—even though soaring oil prices in the 1970s caused the energy industry to boom. Since then, the state has become a preferred location for the headquarters of large corporations from airlines and retail chains to telecommunications and chemical companies. High-technology industries have boomed since the 1980s, especially in the Dallas–Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin areas. The state's economy proved still vulnerable to the fluctuations of the energy industry in the mid-1980s, however, when falling oil prices resulted in massive layoffs, hurting the state's real estate market and in turn precipitating the failure of hundreds of savings and loans in the state.
Texas has, however, continued to grow, becoming the second most populous state in the nation. Its population increased by nearly 23% between 1990 and 2000, and its economy slowly recovered in the 1990s. Its political influence has grown commensurately, and since the 1960s three sons (or adopted sons) of Texas have been president of the nation: Lyndon Johnson, George Herbert Walker Bush, and George Walker Bush. In 2005 and 2008, SE Texas suffered extensive damage as a result of Hurricanes Rita and Ike, respectively, and in 2011 the effects of severe drought and unusually hot summer temperatures contributed to numerous and sometimes devastating wildfires in parts of the state.
See T. G. Jordan, German Seed in Texas Soil: Immigrant Farmers in Nineteenth-Century Texas (1967); Trails to Texas: Southern Roots of Western Cattle Ranching (1981); and et al., Texas (1984); K. W. Wheeler, To Wear a City's Crown: The Beginnings of Urban Growth in Texas, 1836–1865 (1968); S. V. Connor, Texas, A History (1971); W. Seale, Texas in Our Time: A History of Texas in the Twentieth Century (1972); W. Holmes, The Encyclopedia of Texas (1984); R. N. Richardson et al., Texas, the Lone Star State (5th ed. 1988); L. A. Herzog, Where North Meets South: Cities, Space, and Politics on the United States–Mexican Border (1990); H. W. Brands, Lone Star Nation (2004); see also Texas Almanac (latest edition).
Copyright The Columbia University Press
Austin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 527
Dallas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 539
El Paso . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 553
Fort Worth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 567
Houston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 579
San Antonio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 593
The State in Brief
Nickname: Lone Star State
Area: 268,580 square miles (2000; U.S. rank: 2nd)
Elevation: Ranges from sea level to 8,749 feet above sea level
Climate: Semi-arid in western region and central plains; subtropical on coastal plains; continental in the panhandle
Admitted to Union: December 29, 1845
Head Official: Governor Rick Perry (R) (until 2007)
2004 estimate: 22,490,022
Percent change, 1990–2000: 22.8%
U.S. rank in 2004: 2nd
Percent of residents born in state: 62.2% (2000)
Density: 79.6 people per square mile (2000)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 1,130,292
Racial and Ethnic Characteristics (2000)
Black or African American: 2,404,566
American Indian and Alaska Native: 118,362
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 14,434
Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 6,669,666
Age Characteristics (2000)
Population under 5 years old: 1,624,628
Population 5 to 19 years old: 4,921,608
Percent of population 65 years and over: 9.9%
Median age: 32.3 years (2000)
Total number of births (2003): 377,414
Total number of deaths (2003): 153,944 (infant deaths, 2,400)
AIDS cases reported through 2003: 30,043
Major industries: Machinery, agriculture, chemicals, food processing, oil, transportation equipment
Unemployment rate: 5.8% (December 2004)
Per capita income: $29,076 (2003; U.S. rank: 30th)
Median household income: $40,934 (3-year average, 2001-2003)
Percentage of persons below poverty level: 15.8% (3-year average, 2001-2003)
Income tax rate: None
Sales tax rate: 6.25% (food and prescription drugs are exempt)
COPYRIGHT 2006 Thomson Gale
December 29, 1845
The Lone Star State
State bird :
State flower :
State tree :
State motto :
© World Encyclopedia 2005, originally published by Oxford University Press 2005.
© Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language 1998, originally published by Oxford University Press 1998.
Texas, or the Lone Star State, is known for the strength and character of its people, who have overcome various difficulties. As the economy has waxed and waned, Texans—very much dependent on ranching, farming, and oil production—have stood tall to overcome any adversity that has come their way.
In the 1600s the Spanish were the first to settle in Texas along the San Antonio River, where they established forts and churches. The Spanish taught the Native Americans who lived in the area about Christianity, and the Native Americans taught the Spanish how to farm the land and grow crops.
In 1689 a Spanish explorer named Captain Alonso de Leon left behind a cow and a calf at each river he came across during his expeditions through central and eastern Texas. When the Spanish left some of their missions, they left the cows to roam free on the land. These herds of cattle thrived on the Texas grasslands. Throughout Texas, the Spanish established large cattle ranches, each owned by a hacendado, who lived a privileged life. The vaquero, or cowboy, worked hard on the ranch for meager meals and a place to sleep. The Spanish established sheep ranches in Texas as well, and these rural estates have also had an impact on the state's economy.
Before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the United States took no interest in Texas land. When the Louisiana Territory became part of the United States, however, Texas became a next-door neighbor. In 1820 Moses Austin, a Missouri businessman, convinced the Spanish government to allow him to establish a colony in Texas. Austin's plan was to farm the rich soil along the Brazos River near what is now known as Houston. Upon their arrival in Texas, the colonists learned that Spain had been overthrown and a new government of Mexico ruled Texas. Over the next few years pioneers from Tennessee and other southern states migrated to Texas. They worked hard and fared well. As the number of such colonists grew, they demanded to have a greater influence on the policies and laws set forth by the Mexican government.
In 1835 war broke out as Texas successfully fought for independence from Mexico. After the war, the colonists of the new Republic of Texas faced the challenges of rebuilding their land and businesses. Because roads were not adequate, it was difficult to ship goods in and out of Texas. What's more, the Republic's government had no money. In order to attract newcomers, the government gave away huge tracts of land to settlers. The government also established the homestead-exemption law, which stated that those who fell delinquent on debt payments could not lose their land.
Between 1836 and 1847 the population of Texas quadrupled, with most of the new settlers coming from the United States. Many other settlers came from Germany, Belgium, France, England, Ireland, and Sweden to work on cattle ranches and cotton plantations. In 1836 a few cities emerged in eastern and central Texas. San Antonio grew to become the largest town in Texas, and Galveston, founded in 1836, became the main port for shipping cotton.
Mexico still considered Texas a colony and threatened to declare war on the United States if it moved to allow Texas to become a state. Mexico held true to its words when, in 1845, the United States approved the statehood of Texas. The two-year war between the United States and Mexico (the Mexican War, 1846–1848) resulted in a peace treaty that forced Mexico to give up all claims on the American Southwest, as well as California.
During the years following the American Civil War (1861–1865) the state government's treasury was again depleted. The state's economy before the war depended on the land—and on the slaves who worked on the land. After the war, land prices dropped and, since slaves were free, labor was scarce. Nonetheless, the 4 million longhorn cattle roaming the ranges of Texas provided another source of income for the ailing economy. The cattle, a source of tallow, hide, and food, could be sold for $40 a head in the north. In 1866 large-scale cattle drives began in Texas, as more than 250,000 cattle were driven northward to market. For three to six months cowboys pushed the cattle toward their destination: railroad depots in Kansas or Missouri. The cattle-drive period lasted about 20 years. By the 1880s expanded railroads helped to transport the cattle, and such drives were no longer necessary.
After the Civil War the U.S. population began to push westward, forcing Native Americans to move to reservations in Oklahoma. Within 30 years the population of the Texas Great Plains grew to exceed 500,000. Though rainfall was scarce, there were great reserves of underground water in Texas and a constant breeze. These conditions led to the use of windmills for power and water.
By 1890 railroads crisscrossed the state. Three major railroads connected western and eastern Texas, the surrounding states, and the country's East and West Coasts. While the railroads provided efficient transportation, the costs remained relatively high for the ranchers and farmers until the Texas Railroad Commission was established to regulate freight rates.
Texas's economic base changed forever in 1901, when an oil gusher was discovered in Spindletop Hill just south of Dallas. News of the well traveled fast, and an influx of oil workers and engineers tripled the population almost overnight. From Spindletop, oil businessmen spread out to other cities looking for more. By the end of the year the government had issued more than five hundred charters to oil companies. In 1930 drillers discovered the biggest crude oil pool in the country in Rush County near Kilgore. At this site C.M. Joiner, who was drilling an exploratory well, founded the East Texas Oil Fields, an underground lake of crude oil that measured 40 miles long and between three and 10 miles wide.
Naturally, oil had a major impact on the state's economy. Farmers who discovered oil on their property became rich. Some laborers invested their savings on prospective wells only to turn up sand. Spin-off businesses developed to provide drilling equipment, tank cars, and pipelines. The industries brought people from the farms to the cities, leading to a more than 20 percent increase in city dwellers between 1900 and 1930. Other industries also flourished. During the 1920s new irrigation methods and farming equipment opened areas of the state for cotton growing, and production exploded. Texas produced more than a million bales of cotton in 1926, compared to only 50,000 bales in 1918.
The Great Depression (1929–1939) struck the country in the late 1920s, however, putting more than 300,000 Texans out of work. Many farmers suffered from drastically reduced cotton prices, and a drought in the Texas Panhandle caused farmers and ranchers to leave their homes. Attempts to establish relief programs for the poor and conservation programs for farmlands added to the state's financial difficulties.
World War II (1939–1945) helped to turn around the state's economy. Oil wells provided more than half of the petroleum for the nation during the war, and manufacturing jobs tripled as factories built aircraft, ships, and other goods for the war effort. After the war more than 60 percent of Texas's population lived in urban areas, and Texas remained a major ship and aircraft producer. These industries would remain important to the state's economy for years to come.
Another discovery made in Texas has led to the advancement of technology around the world. In 1958 Jack Kilby, an employee of Texas Instruments in Dallas, made a finding that led to the production of the silicon chip, enabling the development of handheld calculators, personal computers, and other miniaturized electronics.
Even though Texas's industry and agriculture were strong, the state's economy rose and fell according to the oil market during the 1970s and 1980s. When oil sold for more than $30 per barrel in the 1970s and early 1980s, the economy in Texas boomed, growing more than 6 percent a year—more than twice the national average. The high oil prices led to easy cash flow: Investors built high-rises in Dallas and Houston, and credit was easily extended. But in the late 1980s oil prices crashed to less than $14 per barrel due to overproduction. Construction stopped, several banks needed federal assistance to remain in business, and more than 20 percent of office space in Dallas and Houston stood vacant as thousands lost their jobs. As Professor Bernard Weinstein of Southern Methodist University stated, "[i]n Texas, oil is the tail that wags the whole economy."
In order to make up the $100 million in revenues that the government estimated it had lost for every $1 decline in the price of a barrel oil, the government raised fees on everything from vanity license plates to day-care centers. It also made efforts to attract new business to Texas, particularly high-tech companies. In 1986 oil prices again began to climb. The revived oil market, along with Texas's newly established high-tech businesses, helped to stabilize the state's economy by the 1990s.
From 1991 to 1996 total personal income grew in Texas by 20.2 percent, while the nation's growth was about 15 percent during the same period. In 1995 the median household income in Texas was $32,039. That same year, however, 17.4 percent of Texans were living below the federal poverty level.
See also: Cattle Drives, Longhorn Cattle, Petroleum Industry, Westward Expansion
Frantz, Joe B. Texas: A Bicentennial History. New York: Norton, 1976.
Proctor, Ben and Archie P. McDonald. The Texas Heritage. Wheeling, Illinois: Harlan Davidson, 1998.
Richardson, Rupert, Ernest Wallace, and Adrian N. Anderson. Texas, The Lone-Star State. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1970.
Thompson, Kathleen. "Texas." In Portrait of America. New York: Steck-Vaughn Publishers, 1996.
Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States. Detroit: Gale Research, 1998, s.v. "Texas."
in texas, oil is the tail that wags the whole economy.
professor bernard weinstein, southern methodist university
COPYRIGHT 2000 The Gale Group Inc.
With a name like Texas, one would most likely expect to hear the straightforward country and blues-rock tunes or the rolling folk songs often associated with the southwestern state. Despite the images the name implies, Texas, whose members hail from Glasgow, Scotland, also grasp the moody textures of British 1980s pop and American radio rock. Named after the 1985 Wim Wenders film Paris, Texas for which Ry Cooder, a folk musician admired by the members of the band, composed the soundtrack, the group took inspiration from blues and folk music and added an overall modern rock feel. “The name Texas causes so many problems,” front woman Sharleen Spiteritold Neil McCormick in the Daily Telegraph. “Sometimes I wonder what possessed us, I really do. But it was pouring with rain in Glasgow, we were sitting there playing a Southern blues twang thing, wishing we really were in Texas… What can I say? It seemed like a great idea at the time.” Texas achieved pop-star status in Great Britain with their debut album in 1989, Southside, but reached only a limited following of fans in the United States. Throughout the 1990s, the Scottish quintet amassed an even broader audience, selling over ten million records worldwide, although a substantial American fan base continued to elude them. However, critics predicted that with their 1999 release, The Hush, Texas would earn greater recognition outside of the United Kingdom and Europe.
Texas formed in 1986 in Glasgow, Scotland, when Spiteri, praised for her deep, soulful voice, met Johnny McElhone, a veteran of the British rock circuit and a member of two former groups, Hipsway and Altered Images. While Hipsway remained a relatively unknown band, Altered Images had considerable chart success in both Britain and the United States during the mid-1980s. McElhone, who played bass guitar for Texas, and Spiteri, who served as the group’s lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and occasional pianist, penned a number of songs before recruiting guitarist Ally McErlaine and drummer Stuart Kerr to join the band. Although Spiteri began playing guitar at the age of ten, she claimed she never held aspirations to form or play with a pop/rock ensemble. In fact, until the creation of Texas, Spiteri worked as a hairdresser in Glasgow.
Spiteri remained the dominating force behind Texas’s success from the beginning. Labeled by the British press as “the U.K.’s sexiest female,” Spiteri displayed a sensual style with her dark hair, pale skin, and slender frame, without appearing as a stereotypical beauty. While many pop groups tend to experience conflicts when one band member receives most of the attention, Texas placed Spiteri in the spotlight on purpose. As the lead singer told McCormick, “We made that decision as a band. I am the most confident about having photographs
Members include Eddie Campbell (joined group 1989), keyboards; Richard Hynd (joined group C 1991), drums; Stuart Kerr (left group C 1991), drums; John McElhone, bass; Ally McErlaine, guitar; Sharleen Spiteri (born 1968 in Glasgow, Scotland), vocals, rhythm guitar, piano.
Formed group in Glasgow, Scotland, 1986; performed first live show as a group, 1988; signed with Phonogram/Mercury label, released debut album Southside, 1989; released single “Tired Of Being Alone,” 1992; released Ricks Road, 1993; released White on Blonde, 1997; signed with Universal Records, released career highlight The Hush, 1999.
Addresses: Record company —Universal Records, 1755 Broadway, 7th FI., New York City, NY 10019; (212)373-0600; fax (212) 247-3954.
taken. They’ve no desire to do it, no desire to be in the videos.” In March of 1988, with Spiteri fronting the band, Texas performed live for the firsttime as a group at a local college in Glasgow. They continued to tour around the United Kingdom extensively before signing with the British record label Phonogram (known as Mercury in the United States). In 1989, after recruiting keyboard player Eddie Campbell, Texas released their debut album entitled Southside. The strength of the song “I Don’t Want a Lover,” which became a top ten British hit single, helped make Southside an instant success and launch it to number three on the British charts. Eventually, the album went platinum, selling 1.6 million copies worldwide, even though many critics described the remainder of the record’s songs as derivative and bland. In the United States, the album’s engaging yet low-key blending of blues, R&B, soul, country-folk, and modern rock only received air play on college radio stations.
After touring across Europe, Richard Hynd replaced Kerr on drums, and Texas released their second effort, 1991 ’s Mothers Heaven, an overall improvement on the band’s debut release. Maintaining their prior blues undertones brought to the surface by slide-guitar and Spiteri’s handsome vocals, the band also introduced more rock and roll influences with their sophomore release. Critics marveled at Spiteri’s singing, often comparing her vocal skills to those of Motown legend Diana Ross, country singer Linda Ronstadt, and singer/songwriter Maria McKee, former vocalist for the country-rock group Lone Justice. McKee sang back-up vocals on two songs for Mothers Heaven, including the album’s title track. “What makes Texas truly special is the singing of Sharleen Spiteri,” concluded People magazine. “On a song like the gospelized ‘Alone with You,’ Spiteri moves easily from a prairie-dust roughness to a slippery sexiness.” But despite the record’s artistic merits, Texas unfortunately fell victim to bad timing with the release of Mothers Heaven, and found themselves displaced by the growing popularity of British dance-pop bands. Thus sales for the album, under one million mostly in continental Europe, proved disappointing in comparison to Texas’s debut.
However, the group’s disappointment was short-lived as they were reinvigorated by the success of their 1992 British Top 20 hit single“Tired Of Being Alone,” a cover of an Al Green song. That year, Texas also traveled to the United States for the first time and enjoyed a popular American tour, performing before mainly alternative music audiences. In 1993, Texas released a third album containing 12 songs, the back-to-basics and unpretentious Ricks Road, for which the band again won favorable reviews. For this release produced by Paul Fox, Texas settled into a rich groove, featuring songs accented with but not dominated by country, blues, gospel, and rock undertones. The focus of Ricks Road, as with the band’s first two releases, centered on Spiteri, who gave full voice to such memorable, straightforward songs as “You Owe It All to Me,” “You’ve Got to Live a Little,” “Listen To Me,” the country twang “So Called Friend,” and the rock-inspired “Fade Away.” Throughout the album, Texas’s influences came to the surface, most notably Spiteri’s gritty rock and smooth country-styled vocals, as well as McErlaine’s blues-based guitar playing.
For the next few years, Texas took a break from recording but returned in 1997 with White on Blonde, the group’s second number one album in the United Kingdom. Not since the release of Southside had the band witnessed such popular success. For most of the record’s songs, Texas chose to drop their American rock and roll sound for a combination of pop-rock, hip-hop, and soul. Spiteri described White on Blonde as a “modern soul record,” as quoted by Andy Gill in Independent. Nevertheless, the same Texas sound came through under the alterations, and the band drew on a variety of styles without letting go of their adult-pop composure. “Hints of ambient electronics, gritty rock and R&B grooves ripple through the lush layers of sound,” stated Los Angeles Times writer Sandy Masuo, printed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Masuo further added, “Spiteri shifts effortlessly from bluesy crooning to a forthright folkiness without ever losing her poise.” Also taking more chances with White on Blonde, Texas produced more ambitious songs such as the dark, moody “Insane” and “Put Your Arms Around Me,” both setto stringed instrumentals and a slowed-down beat.
Texas released The Hush in the spring of 1999 on Universal Records, and the album soon became considered the group’s best collection of songs. The more finely produced effort recorded in a studio in Spiteri’s house offered more depth and made Texas seem more like a sophisticated modern soul act. The subtle opening track “In Our Lifetime,” for example, gradually develops without sounding predictable, and the album progresses with references to Texas’s influences, from R&B singer Marvin Gaye to the classic rock band Fleetwood Mac. In the past, some of Texas’s songs had come off as clumsy and underwritten when paired with the grandeur of Spiteri’s voice. But with The Hush, propelled by drummer Hynd and the soulful rock guitar of McElhone (who also shared production duties), Spiteri shined similar to a member of Motown’s the Suprêmes for “When We Are Together”and delivered the sultry “Tell Me the Answer,” a track resembling a lustful Prince tune, with a soft, sexy style. Other noteworthy tracks included the dreamy “Sunday Afternoon,” and the pop song “Summer Son,” reminiscent of the 1970s group Abba. With plans to return to the United States to promote their latest release, Texas, now based in London, England, seemed certain to attract a more mainstream American audience and surpass the sales of their previous albums.
Southside, Mercury, 1989.
Mothers Heaven, Mercury, 1991.
Ricks Road, Mercury, 1993.
Live From Ricks Road, Mercury, 1994.
White on Blonde, Mercury, 1997.
The Hush, Universal, 1999.
musicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, Visible Ink Press, 1999.
Robbins, Ira A., ed., Trouser Press Guide to ’90s Rock, Fireside/Simon and Schuster, 1997.
Daily Telegraph, May 8, 1999; August 26, 1999, p. 19.
Dallas Morning News, May 23, 1999, p. 10C.
Entertainment Weekly, May 21, 1999, p. 78.
Independent, January 31, 1997, p. 10; May 9, 1997, p. 13; May 8, 1999, p. 11.
Independent on Sunday, March 23, 1997, p. 15; July 27, 1997, p. 24.
Minneapolis Star Tribune, November 9, 1997, p. 02F.
People, November 11, 1991, p. 25; March 28, 1994, p. 23; July 12, 1999, p. 39.
Rolling Stone, June 10, 1999.
“Texas,” All Music Guide website, http://allmusic.com(September 22, 1999).
RollingStone.com, http://www.rollingstone.tunes.com(September 22, 1999).
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning
© Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes 2007, originally
published by Oxford University Press 2007.