State: Texas – TX
The Texas state abbreviation is TX and it is the second most populated and second largest state among the 50 U.S. States. It’s located in the south central part of the country and shares an international border with Mexico to the south.
Today we’ll examine the state symbols, geography, and history of this massive place. Before we delve into these things, here are some key facts about the state:
- Capital: Austin
- Largest city: Houston
- Motto: Friendship
- Nickname: The Lone Star State
- State song: “Texas, Our Texas.”
- Abbreviation: TX
- Time Zone: Most of state is Central UTC -6/-5, Mountain in the west tip UTC -7/-6
- State Flag
- Official Website
A Broad Overview of TX
The southern portion of this state has a international border with the following Mexican states:
- Nuevo Leon
To the west is New Mexico, to the north Oklahoma, to the northeast Arkansas, and Louisiana to the east. The total surface area here is 268,820 square miles and a population of 26.9 million that is constantly growing.
The largest city is Houston, which is also the fourth-largest city in the U.S. The nickname “The Lone Star State” comes from the fact that it was a previously an independent republic and as part of the fight for independence of Mexico. The “Lone Star” symbol is on the flag and the seal to this day.
The massive size and geological features, such as the Balcones Fault, result in a diversified landscape across the area. While some people associate it with the southwestern deserts, less then 10 percent of the land area is in fact desert. Instead, there are various types of landscapes including prairies, grasslands, forests, and coastlines.
The term “six flags over Texas” is seen at the Grand Prairie-based amusement park and the term originates from the various flags of countries that ruled over the territory. Spain was first to claim the area, and France had a small colony here for a time, and Mexico ruled the territory until 1836 when independence was gained.
The territory was an independent republic until 1845 when it joined the Union as the 28th state. This annexation resulted in the Mexican-American War in 1846. In 1861, it seceded from the Union. After the Civil War, the cattle industry exploded. The area is associated with the classic cowboy as a result.
After long years of economic stagnation, the state was able to bounce back when oil was discovered. This was combined with investments in technology and universities that brought high tech industry players to the area. The state shares the same number of Fortune 500 countries as California: 57.
The name comes from the Caddo word tejas which means “friends” or “allies.”
Texas State Symbols
The official flower is the bluebonnet which is a brilliant blue plant. The motto “Friendship” is derived from the meaning of the name. The flag represents the colors red, white, and blue in addition to the Lone Star symbol.
The seal is also focused on the Lone Star and the history as a republic. The official tree is the Pecan, the bird is the Northern Mockingbird. The small mammal chosen by the state is the Nine-banded Armadillo, the large variation is the Longhorn.
Other symbols include the Dutch oven which is a cast iron, ceramic, or clay cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid. These types of ovens were used by settlers and explorers because they were both versatile and durable which made them useful in a variety of situations.
An iconic dish here is chili con carne which translates to “Chili with meat.” It is a stew that contains chili peppers, meat, tomatoes, and beans. Various seasonings are used to spice up the dish and it can be cooked in a dutch oven with relative ease. Prior to World War II, there were chili parlors, also known as “chili joints” all over this and other states.
There is a sport designated to the state, which is the classic rodeo. This is of course a competitive sport that arose from cattle herding in Spain and Mexico. It is designed to test the skill and speed of cowboys and cowgirls. There is also a ship named the USS Texas.
With a size that equals twice the size of Germany or Japan and ten percent larger than France, there’s a lot of space to cover. The Rio Grande river forms a natural border with Mexico to the south. The Red River performs the same duties to the north, and the Sabine River forms a border with Louisiana to the east.
All in all, there are 10 climatic, 14 soil, and 11 ecological regions in the area. The southeast section of the area encompasses the Gulf Coastal Plains which consist of thick woods. The interior contains the Lowlands which consist of rolling hills.
The Great Plains region is located through the panhandle area. It is composed of prairie and steppe type geography. There are 3,700 streams and 15 different rivers.
A Brief Historical Overview
The first attempt to settle in this area was by the French. These settlements alerted the Spanish to the possibility of intrusion. After Mexico declared its independence from Spain in 1821, the next 15 years saw a lot of colonists coming to the area.
Changes to the policies caused the Texans to rise up against the Mexican government. The turning point of was the fall of Alamo. After winning the war, the territory became its own independent republic. Later it became the 28th state when President J. Polk signed it into the Union.
This brought forward new tensions between the U.S. and Mexico which erupted into the Mexican-American War. It lasted for three years until a treaty established the border using the Rio Grande River.
After the Civil War, the economy took a hit and the state was forced to find new ways of bringing in income. World War II had a huge effect on this as the federal government sent money for military bases, munitions, factories, and other things.
In addition to all of this great information, we’ve also got some awesome Texas state facts for you to check out. Be sure to share your experiences and knowledge of this state in the comments below!