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European explorers first visited the Texas region, several groups of
Native Americans were living there.
The largest of these was the Caddo.
Texas was named from the Caddo word Tejas, meaning friend.
1519, Spanish explorer Alonso Álvarez de Piñeda was the first European
to visit Texas.
He charted the entire Gulf of Mexico.
In 1528, another Spanish expedition crashed on the Texas coast.
Myths of the golden “Seven Cities of Cibola” brought many
Spaniards from Mexico into Texas.
Although these cities were never found, Spain made claims on
Spanish missionaries built the first two missions near El Paso in
Mexican farmers began settling near these missions, north of the Rio
also explored Texas and built Fort Saint Louis in 1685.
The settlement however, only lasted about two years.
When Spanish soldiers arrived to destroy the fort, disease and
Indian raids had destroyed Fort Saint Louis and killed the settlers
the late 1730s, missions were built throughout central, east, and
Presidios (Spanish forts) were established near some of the
missions to protect them from Indian attacks.
In 1718, a presidio was built to protect the mission of San
Antonia de Valero.
By the late 1770’s, San Antonio held the Spanish government for
1820, American Moses Austin was granted land in Texas from Spanish
In 1821, his son Stephen Austin brought 300 families to farm
along the Brazos River in Texas.
That same year Mexico won independence from Spain.
Mexico extended the boundaries of Austin’s colony and granted
other Americans land in Texas.
In 1823, the new colony created its head of government in
present-day Austin County.
the 1830s, tension grew between Mexico and large numbers of American
settlers in Texas.
By 1835, the Texas Revolution had begun.
When Texas troops captured San Antonio, Mexican General Antonio López
de Santa Anna brought over 4,000 troops to regain control of the
Less than 200 Texan rebels withdrew into a chapel called the
Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and others fought to their deaths.
Following the Alamo, more than 300 Texan prisoners from the
battle at Goliad were also executed.
The Battle of San Jacinto was the last major battle in this war.
On April 21, 1836, Texans took the Mexico army by surprise,
capturing Santa Anna and defeating his army.
They shouted the famous phrase, “Remember the Alamo” while
This victory gave Texas independence from Mexico.
The new independent country became the Republic of Texas.
Republic of Texas tried for nearly 10 years to join the United States.
Finally on Dec. 29, 1845, Texas became the 28th state.
The following year, war broke out between the United States and
Mexico over the boundary between Texas and Mexico.
The Mexican War ended in 1848.
Mexico gave up all claims to Texas using the Rio Grande as the
new boundary between the two countries.
Texas had joined the United States as a slave state. In 1861, Texas seceded with ten other states from the Union to form the Confederacy. More than 50,000 Texans fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War (1861-1865). The last battle of the war took place at Palmito Ranch in Texas on May 13th. Word of the South’s surrender over a month earlier on April 9th had not yet reached Texas. Texas was under military rule until 1870, when it was readmitted to the Union.
in the 1860s, many Texans established huge cattle ranches.
Cattle-drives ended during the 1880s with expansion of railroads
Settlement increased during this time, settlers farming much of
the western plains.
The Texas Rangers, organized in 1835, protected the growing
settlements from Indians and dangerous outlaws.
discovered near Beaumont in 1901, lead to the expansion of several
refineries and manufacturing plants.
Texas’ oil and gas industries flourished as the need for their
products increased during World War I (1914-1918).
The federal government also established many military training
camps in Texas.
Great Depression (1929-1939) devastated the nation’s economy.
Oil prices fell, causing many to lose their jobs.
Highway construction provided some with work from the federal
World War II (1939-1945) also helped the economy.
Thousands of military men were trained in Texas camps.
Manufacturing became a very important part of Texas’ economy.
The aerospace, chemical, and electronics industries established
many businesses throughout the state.
Texas began to change from a farm economy to an industrial
Many farmers began moving to the cities.
April 16, 1947, Texas suffered one of its worst tragedies as a ship
carrying chemicals in the harbor at Texas City exploded.
The explosion killed almost 500 people, injured 3,000, and caused
about $70 million in damage.
the 1950s, Texas experienced racial problems much like that of the other
After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled segregation in public schools
unconstitutional in 1954, Texas was required to integrate its schools.
In 1963, political leader Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas became the
first Southern President since the Civil War.
He became the 36th President after President John F.
Kennedy was assassinated.
1962, NASA began building a Manned Spacecraft Center near Houston.
Workers there directed the Apollo 11 flight, the first in which
astronauts landed on the moon.
This same center was renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Many corporations, universities, and NASA conduct space testing
and research there.