We do magic to Maps
Texas (TX) Fast Facts
Location and Geography: Texas is America’s second-largest state behind Alaska,
Counties and Regions: The state of Texas has 254 counties, more than any other US state. Texas is far too large to be easily classified into other geographical and cultural regions within the U.S.; some parts of Texas are more like the American South, and other parts of Texas are more like the American Southwest. Here are some of the more recognizable regions within Texas:
Gulf Coast/Coastal Bend
East Texas/Piney Woods
West Texas/Edwards Plateau
North Texas/Rolling Hills
Rio Grande Valley/Big Bend
Population: Over 25 million people live in Texas and more keep coming, meaning that it might eventually catch up with California in terms of overall population. Some of the largest and fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. are located in Texas, especially because there is plenty of room for the cities to spread outwards.
Major Cities: Texas is home to three of the ten most populated cities in the United States: Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Almost three-quarters of the state’s population lives in a relatively small, highly developed area known as the “Texas Urban Triangle” that encompasses the metropolitan areas of Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.
Story Behind the Name: The name “Texas” is derived from one of the Native American tribes that inhabited the land, the Caddo, from their word tejas that meant “friends” or “allies.” The Caddo were friendly and helpful to the European explorers who first arrived in the area, which led to the outside powers setting up successful colonies.
History and Colonization: People often use the term “six flags over Texas,” which refers to the fact that no fewer than six nations have claimed sovereignty over the state at different times in its history (Spain, France, Mexico, the United States, the Republic of Texas, and the Confederate States of America). Spain first colonized what would later become Texas early in the sixteenth century, but it ran into difficulties determining ownership of the territory when France, which had colonized much of the Gulf Coast, began hedging in. France even founded an accidental colony in Texas called Fort Saint Louis, but this ill-fated town was not to survive. Because of the disputes between France and Spain, when France sold many of its territories to the United States with the Louisiana Purchase, there was a great deal of confusion as to whether Texas was included as a part of the deal.
Spain and the United States eventually agreed in 1819 that Texas would belong to the territory of New Spain, although many American settlers did not agree and continued to found homesteads on the land (until they well outnumbered the native and Spanish-descended population). After a few more years, in 1821, Mexico seceded from Spain, and it was officially considered to be a closed matter that Texas would be a part of Mexico. However, American immigrants continued to settle in the area, much to the chagrin of the Mexican government. Tensions rose until the settlers rebelled and declared an independent Republic of Texas, which lasted a decade before allowing itself to be annexed by the United States. Mexico objected to the annexation, and the resulting border dispute led to the Mexican-American War, from which the U.S. would eventually obtain a great deal more of Mexico’s land. Texas went on to become the 28th US state, but its current borders were not finalized until the Compromise of 1850.
Texas joined the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, and entered a period of economic depression after the Confederacy’s defeat by the Union. Things remained difficult until the turn of the twentieth century, when the discovery of crude oil in Texas sparked a rapid influx of wealth and development in the region. Military technology and research became a huge business in Texas during World War II, further moving the fortunes of the state away from agriculture and towards industrialization. In the latter half of the twentieth century, low state taxes encouraged many major businesses to open up offices in Texas or even relocate there entirely, providing a surge to the state’s local economy. Today, Texas competes heavily with California as a center of high-tech industries in the United States.