Texas History: Facts You Didn’t Know About Texas

Texas is a land of diversity and contradiction. From the wide-open spaces of the Panhandle to the bustling streets of Houston, it is a place where cowboys ride horses down the street and oil tycoons jet off to their private islands. Its history reflects this, with a rich Native American past, Spanish colonial influences, and a Wild West outlaw culture all leaving their mark on this large and varied state.

The Republic of Texas was an independent country that existed from 1836 to 1846. It was formed after the Texas Revolution when settlers in the Mexican province of Tejas declared their independence. For nearly 10 years, the republic operated as its own nation, before it was annexed by the United States. Though it lasted for a relatively short time, the Republic of Texas played an important role in American history and remains an iconic symbol of Texan pride.

Texas History

Texas has several unique facts that are not known by many. These include:

1. The deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history occurred in Texas.

The Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 was one of the deadliest natural disasters in American history. The storm made landfall on September 8 and ended up killing around 6,000 to 12,000 people. It involved a Category 4 hurricane that hit the area with a storm surge of about 15 feet and fast winds that dangerously traveled at 140 miles per hour. 

2. Texas was once ruled by an Emperor.

Texas has been under a number of different jurisdictions over its long history, but perhaps none as interesting as when it was ruled by a Mexican emperor. After Texas was annexed, a man named David Burnet was elected president. He set up a constitutional monarchy and crowned himself emperor, thus becoming the first Emperor of Texas.

3. There is an abandoned city in Texas that will be the size of Las Vegas in just 20 years.

The town of Cisco began as a railroad center in the 19th century. After the railroad failed and people moved away, however, the town fell into ruin. By 2000 there were only 50 residents left and all but 10 buildings had been abandoned. By 2035, however, Cisco will be the largest city in Texas. Today there are 284 inhabitants, but by 2050 there will be over 300,000, and the ghost town could become a bustling metropolis in under two decades.

4. Some living Texans have been in space.

Two Texans have flown into space on separate occasions. The first, a man named L. Gordon Cooper Jr., was a test pilot for the U.S. Air Force and flew on two orbital missions in 1963-1964. The second, Texas senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, flew on the space shuttle Discovery in 1995 as part of an eight-person crew that was conducting research in space.

5. Everything is bigger in the state of Texas

Texas holds the record for many big things; from population to building and area, Texas has it all. After Alaska, Texas is the second-largest state in the US with an area of 268,596 square miles. And with its population of almost 30 million people, it is the second-most populous state after California.

The biggest state capitol building is also located in Texas, in Austin. Texas also leads in oil, cotton, and cattle production. In addition to all these and much more, Texas has the highest speed limit at 85 mph along a road stretch from Austin to San Antonio(a toll road).

6. Texas hosted what was arguably the last battle of the Civil War.

The Battle of Palmito Ranch was the final battle of the Civil War and was fought on May 12, 1865. It took place along the Rio Grande on the border of Texas and Mexico. The battle itself only lasted a few hours, but today there is a memorial park and monument located at the former battlefield site.

7. It’s the birthplace of two U.S presidents

While Lyndon B. Johnson and Dwight D. Eisenhower ruled the United States in different times, both were born in Texas. Johnson was born in Stonewall, Texas, and Eisenhower was born in Denison. Johnson was born near Stonewall in Central Texas, while Eisenhower was born just outside of Abilene on the family farm. The two presidents were very different in personalities and political views, but they both share a birthplace in the Lone Star State.

8. The television series “Gunsmoke” was created in the state of Texas

Gunsmoke” is an American TV series that aired from 1955 to 1975. It was created by director Norman Macdonnell and writer John Meston and followed a lawman in Dodge City, Kansas, who worked for a railroad company and had adventures along the Mexican border region of Texas.

9. Six flags have flown over Texas

Spanish, French, and Mexican forces all invaded Texas at various points in history. It was under the rule of each of these flags that Texas gained independence from Mexico and became its own nation-the Republic of Texas. Most recently, it has flown the flags of Confederate States of America as well as the United States of America.

Bottom Line

Though it is one of the most well-known states in the union, there are certainly a lot of things that many people don’t know about Texas. From how it was its own nation to the role it played in some major historical events, the state is full of interesting stories and facts about its past.

Texas has been associated with cowboys, oil tycoons, and saloons for good reason. It has a long and storied history that includes many famous personalities, figures, and events, many of which are still talked about today.

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