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Everything you wanted to know about Texas, history, economy people and more - History

Everything you wanted to know about Texas, history, economy people and more - History


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Photo by Steve Johnson

Basic Information

Postal Abbreviation: TX
Natives: Texan

Population 2019: 28,995,881

Legal Driving Age: 16
Age of Majority: 18
Median Age: 33.6

State Song: “Texas, Our Texas”
Music & Lyrics:
William J. Marsh and
Gladys Yoakum Wright

Median Household Income:$59,570

Capital..... Austin
Entered Union..... Dec. 29, 1845 (28th)

Present Constitution Adopted: 1876

Nickname: Lone Star State
Beef State

Motto:
“Friendship”

Origin of Name:
From the Indian for "hello friend", or possibly from a term used by the Spanish for “friendship”– used to describe friendly area tribes.

USS Texas

Railroad Stations

Texas Economy

AGRICULTURE: cattle, chickens, corn,
cotton, fruits, hay, rice, wheat.

MINING: Natural gas, petroleum,
salt, sulfur.

MANUFACTURING: chemicals,
electronics, food processing,
machinery, metals, petroleum products,
printing, transportation equipment.


Texas Geography

Total Area: 42,145 sq. miles
Land area: 41,219 sq. miles
Water Area: 926 sq. miles
Geographic Center: Rutherford
5 mi. NE of Murfreesboro
Highest Point: Clingman's Dome
(6,643 ft.)
Lowest Point: Mississippi River
(178 ft.)
Highest Recorded Temp.: 113˚ F (8/9/1930)
Lowest Recorded Temp.: –32˚ F (12/30/1917)

Texas is divided into a number of different sections, on the eastern border there is the Great Smoky Mountains. The Cumberland Mountains cross the state. The western portion of the state is part of the vast Mississippi floodplain.

Cities

Houston, 2,325,000
San Antonio , 1,532,233
Dallas, 1,345,000
Austin, 964,000
Fort Worth , 895,000
El Paso, 682,000
Arlington, 398,000
Corpus Christi, 326,000
Plano, 288,000
Laredo,261,000

Texas History

1659 Mission Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de El Paso was founded.
1691 Texas officially became a Spanish province.
1718 Mission San Antonio is founded.
1821 With Mexican independence, Texas becomes a province of Mexico. That
same year Stephen Austin founds the first American settlement in Texas.
1830 Mexico passes laws stopping further American immigration to Texas.
1835 Texas settlers begin a revolt against Mexican rule. In October the settler
win the Battle of Gonzales.
1836 The Alamo was captured by the Santa Anna. On April 21 General Sam
Houston’s army defeats the Santa Anna and wins Texas independence.
1845 Texas was admitted as the 28th state.
1846 The first Battle of US-Mexican War was won by US troops at Palo Alto. 1861 Texas seceded from the Union.
1900 A storm hits Galveston killing 6,000 people.
1901 Oil was discovered .
1963 President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas.

Famous People

George W. Bush
Dwight David Eisenhower
Sam Houston
Howard Hughes
Lyndon B. Johnson
Tommy Lee Jones
Janis Joplin;
Scott Joplin
Audie Murphy
Chester Nimitz
Sandra Day O'Connor
Wiley Post
Dan Rather

Texas National Sites

1) Alibates Flint Quarris National Monument
This monument contains quarries in which Alibates flint was mined. The flint was used by Indians for knives arrowheads and other sharp instruments.

2) Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park abuts the Rio Grande River for over 100 miles as the River separates the United States from Mexico. The parks stunning desert vistas and canyons make it a very special National Park

3) Chamizal National Memorial
This park in downtown El paso celebrates the peaceful settlement of a border dispute between the United States and Mexico.

4) Fort Davis National Historic Site
Fort Davis was one of the most important installations in western Texas. Built in 1854 it was abandoned in 1891. Today the 460 acre park preserves many of the original buildings of the fort,

5) Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
This park which is made up of the Johnson Settlement and Boyhood Home and Johnson City as well as the LBJ Ranch, tells the story of Lyndon Baines Johnson the 36th President of the United States.

6) Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site
This battlefield was the location of the first battle of the Mexican American War

7) San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
This national park includes 4 18th century Spanish missions along the San Antonio River. Also in San Antonio is the Mission San Antonio de Valero also known as the Alamo.


Annexation and statehood

As early as 1836, Texans had voted for annexation by the United States, but the proposition was rejected by the Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren administrations. Great Britain favoured continued independence for Texas in order to block further westward expansion of the United States, but this attitude only helped to swing Americans toward annexation. Annexation was approved by the Texas and U.S. congresses in 1845, and the transfer of authority from the republic to the state of Texas took place in 1846. One unique feature of the annexation agreements was a provision permitting Texas to retain title to its public lands.

The U.S. annexation of Texas and a dispute over the area between the Rio Grande and the Nueces River brought about the Mexican-American War. U.S. troops invaded Mexico in February 1847, and Winfield Scott captured Mexico City on September 14, 1847. In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago, signed on February 2, 1848, Mexico gave up its claim to Texas and also ceded area now in the U.S. states of New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, and western Colorado. Texas claimed most of this additional area but later relinquished it in the Compromise of 1850.

The American Civil War brought disruption to the state. Texas had seceded from the Union on January 28, 1861. Gov. Sam Houston had strongly opposed secession, and, after refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederacy, he was removed from office. During the war Texans had to defend themselves from attacks by Native Americans, from Mexican encroachments, and from federal gunboats and invading soldiers. Federal forces ultimately gained control of the lower Gulf Coast but were unable to move far inland.


Everything You Need to Know About the Texas Drought

The majority of Texas is currently experiencing in drought that started in October 2010. Most of the state has been under drought conditions for over three years.

State Climatologist John-Nielsen Gammon has warned that Texas could be in the midst of a drought worse than the drought of record in the 1950s. 2011 was the driest year ever for Texas, with an average of only 14.8 inches of rain. 2011 also set new records for low rainfall from March through May, and again from June through August. The high summer temperatures increased evaporation, further lowering river and lake levels.

The state experienced a short and rainy respite in the winter and spring of 2012, but by the fall of 2012 dry conditions had returned to much of the state. Those persisted until late in the summer of 2013, when a sustained rainy period lowered the percentage of the state experiencing drought.

That doesn’t mean that the drought is over. As of June, 2014, 70 percent of Texas is still in drought conditions, while 21 percent is in the worst two stages of drought, either extreme or exceptional drought. The state’s reservoirs are 67 percent full.

What Is Causing the Drought?

The main culprit of the intense 2011 dryness was La Niña, a weather pattern where the surface temperatures are cooler in the Pacific. This in turn creates drier, warmer weather in the southern U.S. (You may also know her counterpart, El Niño, which generally has the opposite effect.) La Niña sticks around for a year, sometimes longer, and tends to return once every few years. (The last La Niña was in 2007, but it was a much lighter one.)

An El Niño weather patten was predicted to bring some relief to the state in the winter of 2012-2013, but it failed to appear. The state climatologist predicted abnormally dry weather and higher than average temperatures through summer 2013, which could make the drought worse than the drought of record in the 1950s.

In February 2013, the state climatologist told the Texas Legislature that high temperatures related to climate change have exacerbated the drought. He said that the state’s average temperature has increased by an average of about 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1970s.

If El Niño predictions for late 2014 prove correct, winter rainfall in Texas could be substantial. A study from Stanford University gives the El Niño weather pattern a 76 percent chance of returning in 2014.

“It tends to cause the jetstream to be farther south than normal, which means we may get more rain events, generally cool temperatures and lots of run-off, which would be good for reservoir levels,” John Nielsen-Gammen, Texas State Climatologist, said.

Has This Happened Before?

Drought is nothing new for Texas. In the 1950’s a seven-year dry spell “so momentous that it kicked off the modern era of water planning in Texas” struck hard, destroying nearly 100,000 Texas farms and ranches. In response the legislature founded the Texas Water Development Board and local river authorities that constructed 62 new dams and reservoirs over the next two decades.

In 1984, The New York Times reported that heavy Texas rains had brought a “merciful end to the worst drought in a generation.”

The state fared well with over a decade of adequate rains, but in 1996 drought dealt a heavy blow to statewide ranching and agriculture. In May of that year, Agriculture Commissioner Rick Perry said, “this drought has the economic potential to be the worse natural disaster in the 20th century.” The CBS Evening News featured Texas ranchers who were losing their herds to drought.

In response, the state legislature passed comprehensive water policy reform with Senate Bill 1 in 1997.

Rains returned but soon abated and in 1998 the Associated Press (AP) reported that “the second drought to hit Texas in three years is leaving farmers in dire straights and taxing the state economy.” The dry spell deepened through 1999, when the New York Times reported “Worse Drought Than in ’98 Appears Possible in Texas.”

In 2000 Texas Department of Agriculture spokesman Allan Spelce told the New York Times, “we are in the midst of an unmitigated disaster and it has been accumulating in magnitude over the last five years,” after strains on water supply since 1996 caused $5 billion in losses to Texas agriculture.

Tropical storms hit the state in early 2001, rains picked up in 2002 and 2004 became one of the state’s wettest years on record, bringing an end to the drought.

Drought returned in 2005. In August of 2006, the Austin American-Statesman reported that 77 percent of the state’s hay crop for cattle feed had been lost that summer.

Extremely heavy rains in 2007 lifted Texas once again from drought and State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon told the AP, “we’ve gotten so much rain this year we’ve pretty much made up for the past few years’ drought conditions in several areas of the state.”

Drought intensified through 2009, putting the most Texas counties in the deepest stage of drought since 2000 and from September 2008 to September 2009 became the driest one-year period yet for Texas, costing the state’s cattle industry over $1 billion.

In January 2010, the New York Times reported an end to “the worst drought to strike Texas in the last 50 years,” but by May the State Climatologist said that “areas of Texas facing drought conditions again.” The drought that began in the fall of that year resulted in the single driest year in recorded Texas history and still hasn’t abated.

What Are the Effects of the Drought?

The drought has helped drain reservoirs, fuel wildfires, ruin crops, and put a real strain on the state’s electric grid.

Dry conditions fueled a series of wildfires across the state in early September 2011. The most devastating, the Bastrop Complex Fire in Bastrop County, scorched over 34,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,300 homes.

The situation reached a new level of urgency in late January of 2012 when wells in the town of Spicewood Beach, Texas officially ran out of water. Some 1,100 residents now depend on tanker trucks to deliver water to the town’s storage tank. The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) owns the water system and is overseeing the emergency water operation. The agency is still trucking water into the town and will continue to do so until a surface water treatment plant can supply water from Lake Travis. The plant was scheduled to be finished in the summer of 2013, but Corix, the company that is building the plant, instead expects it to be finished in late February.

The low water levels in Central Texas took their toll on rice farmers near the coast. They rely heavily on water flowing out of the Highland Lakes on the Colorado River. In March, the combined lake levels remained below 850,000 acre feet, prompting the LCRA to cut off water supplies to farmers in Matagorda, Wharton and Colorado counties for the second year in a row. A third year of cutoffs for rice farmers is on the horizon. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is currently deciding whether or not to cut off water again.

The drought has also affected a wide range of industries in Texas. Economists estimate that the drought has cost farmers and ranchers upwards of $8 billion. Some farmers and ranchers have rented or leased parts of their properties to recreational hunters in an attempt to make up some of their lost profits.

The price of hay increased by 200 percent during the drought. Since the price of feeding cattle has skyrocketed, ranchers are culling their herds, selling off large numbers of cattle in auctions to out-of-state buyers. Crops also suffered, as corn outputs fell by 40% in 2011 and peanut production is down as well. The lack of crops has created conditions for severe dust storms across the western part of the state. Rains in 2013 improved the outlook somewhat for agriculture, but drought remained severe in much of the Texas Panhandle, an important agricultural region.

Officials from ERCOT, Texas’ electric grid operator, are also concerned. Nuclear, coal, and natural gas energy production all require large amounts of fresh water to cool equipment. High energy usage and scorching temperatures caused ERCOT to close one factory overnight during the height of the summer’s heat. Officials worry that another spring and summer with low rainfall could mean the closure of some power plants.

Texas officials predicted the reserve margin (the amount of excess power available to the grid on top of what is already generated) will be healthy through the summer of 2014.

When Will the Drought End?

As far as long term prospects, meteorologists are now forecasting that it will have to get a little worse before it gets better. Since “summer rains are unpredictable,” as state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon mentioned in an earlier interview, it is hard to tell what will happen next. The latest NOAA outlook predicts a mixed bag for Texas. While the central and eastern parts of the state will likely keep their current status, the drought might intensify from the Hill Country to the Panhandle and in much of West Texas.

The return of El Niño in 2014 could, however, be a salvation for much of drought-stricken Texas. A new study from Stanford University gives the El Niño weather pattern a 76 percent chance of returning this year.

What to Expect in the Future

With no definitive end to the state’s water woes in sight, the 83rd Texas Legislature voted to hold a referendum to decide whether the state will allocate $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to fund projects in the State Water Plan. Proposition 6 passed with an overwhelming majority, meaning that the $2 billion will launch a rotating loan program to fund conservation, pipelines, reservoirs, and other water projects that are approved by the Texas Water Development Board. Twenty percent of the fund is earmarked for conservation projects, and another 10 percent is set aside for rural water projects.

The drought, the extreme heat and the fires that came with it have made these historic years for Texas. And it will leave a mark that will be felt long after the drought is over: trees will continue to die from stress, roads will continue to break apart, and food prices will continue to fluctuate.


Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Guns in Texas

Are gun sales really on the rise? Do gun owners commit more crimes? Do you burn calories while shooting? We’ve got the answers.

FIRST, A VOCABULARY LESSON

AR-15 &ndash n. The famous&mdashsome might say infamous&mdashrifle that&rsquos a civilian version of the M16. Contrary to what you&rsquove heard, the &ldquoAR&rdquo doesn&rsquot stand for &ldquoassault rifle&rdquo but &ldquoArmaLite Rifle,&rdquo after the company that developed the weapon, though many manufacturers now produce variants of it.

Magazine &ndashn. The thing that holds your ammo. It&rsquos often incorrectly referred to as a &ldquoclip.&rdquo Magazines are those rectangular-shaped, spring-loaded ammunition holders that you see people sliding into guns. A clip is an entirely different contraption for feeding cartridges into a firearm .

Revolver &ndashn. A han dgun with a revolving cylinder that can fire multiple rounds without reloading. The term usually refers to a handgun, though not all handguns are revolvers. Samuel Colt famously patented his design in 1836.

Semiautomatic &ndash adj. Describes a firearm that discharges one round when the trigger is squeezed. This is quite different from automatic weapons, which discharge multiple rounds with each trigger pull and are highly restricted in the United States.

NOW, SOME NUMBERS

$15 Billion
Estimated annual impact from hunting and fishing in Texas.

27
Number of children shot to death per year in Harris County between 2011 and 2014. Gun deaths are now the second-leading cause of accidental child deaths, behind car accidents.

$977,500
The record sale price for an 1836 Colt Paterson Texas model revolver, auctioned in Dallas in 2011.

7
Number of muscles you use to pull a trigger.

170
Number of calories per hour the average male burns while shooting a pistol. Note: this is roughly the same number of calories you burn by simply standing still.

A LOOK AT FAMOUS GUNS IN TEXAS HISTORY

1. Oswald&rsquos Rifle
On March 12, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald ordered a surplus Italian carbine from an ad in the American Rifleman for $19.95 plus shipping. The Carcano M91/38 he received was manufactured for only one year, 1940. The rifle is now stored in the National Archives the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas has a replica.

2. Bonnie and Clyde&rsquos Pistols
After the outlaws&rsquo deaths, in 1934, Clyde Barrow&rsquos Colt 1911 .45 and Bonnie Parker&rsquos snub-nosed .38, which she had taped to her inner thigh, were given to famed Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, who had led the manhunt. In 2012 the guns were auctioned off to an anonymous Texas collector for more than $504,000.

3. Dick Cheney&rsquos Shotgun
The shot heard round the late-night circuit. On February 11, 2006, the sitting vice president accidentally shot attorney Harry Whittington in the face while they hunted quail on the Armstrong Ranch, in South Texas. Whittington recovered, but the fate of the gun was never made public.

4. Toepperwein&rsquos Winchester
In 1907 Texas sharpshooter Ad Toepperwein set a world record by firing at 72,500 tossed blocks of wood with Winchester Model 1903 .22-caliber rifles and hitting all but 9 of them.

5. The Gun that Shot J.R.
Perhaps the most famous gun in recent Texas history is a prop: the revolver used to shoot J.   R. Ewing in the 1980 Dallas cliffhanger. It&rsquos on display at the Southfork Ranch, near Dallas.

6. Rick Perry&rsquos Coyote Killer
The former governor claimed in 2010 to have used his .380 laser-sighted Ruger pistol to kill a coyote that was threatening his dog. Ruger later released a version of the gun dubbed the Coyote Special.

AND INSIDE A WINCHESTER MODEL 70

The iconic Winchester Model 70 was first produced in 1936 and has long been known as the &ldquorifleman&rsquos rifle.&rdquo A key to its popularity is the controlled way the bolt feeds a round into the chamber. When a shooter closes the rifle&rsquos bolt, the claw extractor snaps firmly onto the cartridge and smoothly guides it into the chamber. After the rifle is fired and the shooter opens the bolt, the claw extractor&mdashas seen on this 1940&rsquos model&mdashpulls the empty cartridge case from the chamber until the case is ejected from the gun. Winchester altered this design in 1964, a change that proved so unpopular that the company later resurrected the &ldquopre-1964&rdquo Winchester M70.

FINALLY, WHY TEXANS ARE BUYING MORE GUNS

Firearm purchases&mdashas measured by FBI background checks&mdashincreased 137 percent in Texas between 2000 and 2016. People weren&rsquot buying significantly more guns for hunting (the number of hunting licenses has increased only slightly) or in response to crime (total incidents of violent and property crime have declined) or terrorism (Texans didn&rsquot buy more guns immediately after 9/11). The spike in gun purchases began in 2008, during the financial crisis and Obama&rsquos presidential campaign, and continued through 2013, the year following Obama&rsquos reelection and the mass shooting in Newton, Connecticut.

Additional research by Samantha Grasso, Marysabel Cardozo, Kyle Cavazos, and Conrad Heinz.


As for American wannabe AK owners, it also depends on what state you live in. In general, however, a true AK-47 has a fully automatic setting, which is illegal in the United States. Models with semi-automatic settings are available and legal in the U.S. Manufacturers cannot make or import fully automatic weapons for the civilian market.

But you can still legally buy a fully automatic AK-47. Because this is America.

Any automatic weapon fully registered before May 1986, with the passage of the Firearm Owners Protection Act, can be purchased or sold. This means there is a market of an estimated 175,000 legal automatic weapons in the United States. The limited legal supply also means that one of these rifles can be wildly expensive -- not to mention the stiff Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives oversight and a $200 excise tax.

But if you can afford $10,000 for a legally automatic AK-47, $200 is likely not going to bother you.


Peoples settled in what is now Texas thousands of years before European explorers arrived in North America. Some American Indian oral histories recount how their ancestors traveled to the area by water or land. A large amount of stone artifacts made at least 16,000 years ago have been found in Central Texas. For many years, scientists believed that the first Americans came from Asia 13,000 years ago. The discovery of these artifacts suggests that humans came to the Americas much earlier.

Pre-Cloves Projectile Point.
Image courtesy Gault School of Archaeological Research, San Marcos, Texas

Peoples who lived in the area at the end of the Ice Age are referred to as the “Clovis” people by archaeologists. These people shared the land with mammoths, mastodons, and other Ice Age animals. They traveled long distances to hunt these animals with spears. They also used projectile points and other tools made of Alibates flint. Their stone tools have been found more than 300 miles from the stone's source.

Alibates.
Image courtesy Texas Beyond History, a public education service of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin.

The “Folsom” people lived a hunter-gather lifestyle very similar to the Clovis people. With the mammoth and many other big game species from the Ice Age extinct, the Folsom people followed large herds of bison that were larger than the bison of today. They hunted with a weapon called the atlatl and dart. This weapon system consisted of two parts: a "throwing stick" and a dart which looks similar to an arrow but was much longer.

Prehistoric hunters used atlatls to hurl these darts at their prey.
Image courtesy Texas Beyond History, a public education service of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin.

The “Archaic” people that called the present-day Texas Panhandle home lived in an environment that was rich in various plants and animals. They were slowly transitioning from being nomadic hunter-gatherers to farmers. They gathered various types of plant materials: seeds, roots, berries, and anything else that was edible. They would grind the seed into meal using tools called a “mano and matate” made out of sandstone or dolomite.

Striations, stains, and polish cover this limestone tool that may have been used for a variety of purposes, including grinding.
Image courtesy Texas Beyond History, a public education service of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin.

More than 5000 years ago in present-day Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, people began to grow corn, beans, and squash. The switch from a nomadic hunter-gatherer life style to horticulture contributed to more reliable food sources and settled lifestyles. Populations grew and cultures flourished.

Varieties of maize found near Cuscu and Machu Pichu at Salineras de Maras on the Inca Sacred Valley in Peru, June 2007.
Image credit Fabio de Oliveira Freitas, Courtesy Smithsonian Institute

"Rock art" including pictographs (painted images) and petroglyphs (carved, or incised images) was made by people at least 4,500 years ago throughout the Lower Pecos region of present-day Texas. The symbols in the “White Shaman” mural depict a creation story that can still be interpreted today by Huichol Indians in Mexico.

Panther Cave Rock Art.
Image Courtesy Shumla Archaeological Research and Education Center. Site jointly owned by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the National Park Service

Beginning at least 2,000 years ago in a Hueco Mountains’ canyon near El Paso, ancient Puebloans held ceremonies where they placed offerings in a cave. The Pueblo people believed that caves were portals to a watery underworld. Among the artifacts found in Ceremonial Cave were a finely crafted bracelet and pendants made of shells from coastal areas hundreds of miles away. These artifacts are evidence of the vast trade routes that existed between diverse communities.

Turquoise armband, 700–1450 CE.
Image courtesy Texas Archeological Research Lab, The University of Texas at Austin

The bow and arrow replaced the atlatl around 700 C.E. The new technology spread across much of North America around this time. Its precise origin is unknown, but it may have been brought into the region by new migrants. The bow was lighter and required fewer resources to make. The arrow was much more lethal than a spear because of its speed, silence, and accuracy.

Scallorn Points.
Image courtesy Texas Beyond History, a public education service of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin.

It is said that Texas owes its name to the Caddo. "Tejas" is a Spanish spelling of the Caddo word that means "those who are friends." Archaeological evidence in the form of fine ceramic pottery indicates that Caddo communities existed in the area as early as 800 C.E. The agriculture-based Caddoes lived in villages and large fortified towns surrounding large plazas with earthen mounds. Atop of the mounds were temples, council houses, and the houses of the tribe’s elites.

Large settlements with mound centers like this existed up and down the Mississippi River and were interconnected through trade. The largest of these fortified communities was Cahokia, located near present-day St Louis, MO. One of Texas's best examples of a Caddo mound is located in present-day Cherokee County.

Caddo Pot made by Jeri Redcorn, Caddo

The “Antelope Creek” people lived in the present-day Texas panhandle between 1150 and 1450. They lived in pueblo like villages where they practiced horticulture and bison hunting. Over a period of 300 years, they dug hundreds of quarries for better flint to make stone tools. Pottery fragments found at Antelope Creek sites provide evidence of extensive trade. The Antelope Creek people left the area abruptly around 1450 AD, perhaps because of drought conditions, disease, or the arrival of hostile Apaches to the area.

Antelope Creek Pottery Sherds.
Image courtesy Texas Beyond History, a public education service of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin.

Historians believe that the Apache moved down from their native territory in Canada and into North America sometime between 1000 and 1400. They belong to the southern branch of the Athabascan group, whose languages constitute a large family, with speakers in Alaska, western Canada, and the American Southwest.

By the 1600s two groups settled in Texas — the Lipan Apache and the Mescalero. The Mescalero eventually moved on to present-day New Mexico. The arrival of the Apache would begin to alter the trade and territorial claims among the diverse tribes who had settled the area before them.

Lipanes, From the Manuscript Collection: Jean Louis Berlandier, 1827 - 1830. Courtesy Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa OK

On August 3, 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed west from Palos, Spain, to explore a new route to Asia. On October 12, he reached the Bahamas. Six months later, he returned to Spain with gold, cotton, American Indian handicrafts, exotic parrots, and other strange beasts. His tales of the native peoples, land, and resources in North America ignited the era of Spanish colonization.

Spanish explorer Alonso Álvarez de Pineda is credited with being the first European to explore and map the Gulf of Mexico. He set out with four ships and 270 men to find a passage to the Pacific Ocean. There are few records detailing his exploration, although one Spanish document does indicate that he sailed around the coast of Florida, into the Gulf of Mexico, and up a river dotted with palm trees and the villages of native peoples. Earlier interpretations of his voyage identified this river as the Rio Grande, but later data shows that it was probably the Soto la Marina, located in Mexico.

Spanish conquests of the Americas introduced the first enslaved Africans to the region. Among Hernán Cortés’s forces in his siege of Tenochtitlan in 1521 were six Black men, including African born Juan Garrido. Garrido was enslaved in the Caribbean as early as 1503. He participated in the founding of New Spain as a free man and is recognized as the first person to grow wheat in New Spain. While in Mexico City, he established a family and continued to serve with Spanish forces.

A painting of Garrido with Hernan Cortés, Historia de las Indias de Nueva Espana e islas de la tierra firme, Diego Duran, 1579. Image courtesy of Biblioteca Nacional de Espana

In 1527, with five ships, 600 men, and a supply of horses, Pánfilo de Narváez set out for Florida to claim gold and glory for the Spanish empire. His trip seemed doomed from the beginning. Many of his men died, deserted, or were killed by the American Indians whose people and villages the expedition attacked and pillaged. In an effort to escape, Narváez and the remaining members of the expedition set sail in flimsy rafts that were eventually washed up on the Texas Gulf Coast near Galveston. Narvárez drowned on the voyage, but one of the few survivors, conquistador Cabeza de Vaca, wrote detailed memoirs that became the earliest European descriptions of Texas and its people.

Álvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, one of four survivors of the failed Narváez expedition, washed up on the beach of a Texas Gulf Coast island he named "Malhado," which means "misfortune." The name was apt, because for the next several years, Cabeza de Vaca lived one harrowing moment to another as a captive slave of various Texas American Indians. He kept a detailed diary which has become an invaluable primary source describing the life and peoples of early Texas. In 1536, Spanish soldiers returned Cabeza de Vaca to Mexico City. He eventually made his way back to Spain where he published his memoirs, The Narrative of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, in 1542.

The Karankawa first encountered Europeans when Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca washed up on a Galveston beach in 1528. This encounter, which Cabeza de Vaca wrote about in his diary, is the first recorded meeting of Europeans and Texas American Indians. The Karankawa were several bands of coastal people with a shared language and culture who inhabited the Gulf Coast of Texas from Galveston Bay southwestward to Corpus Christi Bay.

Karankawa, From the Manuscript Collection: Jean Louis Berlandier, 1827 - 1830. Courtesy Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa OK

Estevanico was an enslaved African born Mustafa Zemmouri around 1501. He accompanied Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in 1528 on a multi-year expedition through present-day Texas. On this expedition he gained great knowledge of the languages spoken by American Indians in the area. In 1539, he was ordered by the Spanish Viceroy to be part of a subsequent expedition. On this expedition he was ultimately killed by Zuni Indians at the Hawiku Pueblo in present-day New Mexico.

Painting of Estavanico. Image courtesy Granger Historical Images

Bartolomé de las Casas was the first priest to be ordained in the Americas. Conscience-stricken by the abuse of American Indians at the hands of Spanish conquistadors, he crusaded on the native peoples' behalf for over five decades. In 1536, de las Casas participated in a debate in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he argued for the American Indians' right to be treated as individuals with dignity and against the Spanish efforts to convert native peoples to both the Catholic faith and the Spanish culture. His blistering work in 1542, A Brief Report on the Destruction of the Indians, convinced King Charles V to outlaw the conversion practices, but riots among land holders in New Spain (Mexico) convinced authorities not to make any changes in their treatment of American Indians.

Finding gold was one objective of Spanish colonization in North America. Following the report of an explorer who claimed to have seen a gold city in the desert, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado organized an expedition that traveled through the Texas Panhandle. Various historical accounts describe the soldiers' astonishment at the Texas landscape, including Palo Duro Canyon, and the huge, hump-backed cows (buffalo) that roamed the grasslands. Coronado never found any gold in the Panhandle, and the expedition returned to Mexico in 1542.

Hernando de Soto led an exploration of the Gulf Coast area from 1539 until his death in present-day Arkansas in 1542. This expedition marked the first European crossing of the Mississippi River. After de Soto's death, Luis de Moscoso led the explorers into East Texas, home of the powerful Caddo Indians, in an attempt to find an overland route back to New Spain (Mexico). Opinions differ as to the exact route the Moscoso expedition took through Texas, but recent scholarship suggests that they traveled south from East Texas toward present-day Nacogdoches and then into the Hill Country before turning back toward the Mississippi River in Arkansas.

Oil springs and tar pits were known to the Texas Indians. They used the oozings to treat rheumatism and skin diseases. Oil was also seen by the Spanish explorers as early as July 1543, when members of the De Soto expedition saw oil floating in the water near Sabine Pass and used it to caulk their boats. Later, settlers used surface oil for axel grease and for lighting and fuel.

Image courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey.

In November, 1552, fifty-four vessels sailed from Spain under the command of Captain-General Bartolomé Carreño. The ships, including six armed vessels, carried cargo and were headed to various parts of the world including New Spain (Mexico) and the Indies. On April 29, 1554, three ships were wrecked in a storm on Padre Island, near present-day Port Mansfield. In the 1960s and 1970s, excavation efforts retrieved thousands of artifacts such as cannons, silver coins, gold bullion, astrolabes, and tools from the wreckage of the San Esteban and the Espiritu Santo. The third sunken ship, the Santa Maria de Yclar, was destroyed during ship channel construction in the 1950s.

The Spanish missionary system was intended to convert American Indians to Christianity and teach them how to live according to Spanish ways. Missionaries often accompanied conquistadors on their explorations in North America. The first missionaries passed through far west Texas in 1581 on their way to the pueblos of New Mexico.

Though unsuccessful in establishing a colony among the Pueblo people, Spanish conquistador Antonio de Espejo left a valuable account of his encounters with the Jumano people of Texas's Big Bend area in 1582 to 1583. The Jumano were trading partners of the Spanish for almost two centuries before famine and war sent their population into a steep decline.

After a difficult march through present-day New Mexico and Texas, conquistador Juan de Oñate and hundreds of settlers finally reached the Rio Grande in April. They were so grateful to have survived the journey that they held what some believe was the first "thanksgiving" feast in what would become the United States. During this stop, Oñate officially claimed all the land drained by the Rio Grande as Spanish territory. With this act, the foundation was laid for two centuries of Spanish control of Texas and the American southwest.

Spanish conquistadors first crossed Texas in search of gold in New Mexico. By 1610, the Spanish had established a capital at Santa Fe. Their primary goals were to convert the American Indians to Christianity and to teach them to live according to Spanish culture. The Spanish crown commissioned Franciscan friars to establish missions. From the pueblos of New Mexico, a few priests began to venture into West Texas.

Almost 50 years after their first encounter, the Jumano were revisited by the Spanish in 1629. This would mark the beginning of their relations with the Spanish. The Jumano lands stretched from northern Mexico to eastern New Mexico to West Texas. Some Jumano lived nomadic lifestyles, while others lived in more permanent houses built of reeds or sticks or of masonry, like the pueblos of New Mexico. The Jumano were renowned for their trading and language skills. In time, these expert traders helped establish trade routes as well as diplomatic relationships among American Indians, the Spanish, and the French.

Jumano, Drawing by Frank Weir.
Image courtesy Texas Beyond History, a public education service of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin.

María de Jesús de Agreda was a nun who lived in Spain and had visions of sharing Christianity with people living in distant lands. Her visions were regarded as religious miracles. She was known as the "Woman in Blue" because of her blue Franciscan clothing. 17th century Spanish explorers describe the Jumano as asking for religious instruction to continue the teachings they had received during "visits" from the Woman in Blue. There is no evidence that Sister María left her convent in Spain to visit the Jumano in west Texas, which adds to the mystery of how the Jumano acquired their knowledge of Christianity before the Spanish arrived in Texas.

Fray Juan de Salas and Fray Diego León were the first Spanish missionaries in Texas. In 1629, they traveled to evangelize the Jumanos. In 1632, Juan de Salas and Juan de Ortega established a mission near present-day San Angelo. They were unable to supply or defend the outpost, and after six months, they were forced to abandon the mission.This arrow point is believed to be of Jumano origin.

Spanish shipwreck survivors under the leadership of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca were the first Europeans to visit "La Junta de Rios," the junction of the Rio Grande and Rio Conchos, near present-day Presidio. Franciscans traveling through La Junta in 1581 performed the first Catholic mass in Texas. In 1670, Franciscans established a mission, but they were expelled after just two years.

Led by the religious leader Po’pay from the Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh, Pueblo people revolted against the Spanish colonists and drove them out of present-day New Mexico. After the revolt, Pueblo people began trading the horses they had taken control of. The acquisition of horses, and the ability to travel longer distances more easily, would transform the territorial politics between tribes throughout America.

"Po'pay" by Artist Cliff Fragua, 2005.
Image courtesy Architect of the Capitol.

In 1680, the Pueblo people rose up, killed 400 Spanish colonizers, and drove the remaining 2,000 Spanish out of New Mexico. The village of El Paso became the base of Spanish operations for the next 12 years. During this time, the Franciscans established the first successful missions in the El Paso area: Corpus Christi de Isleta, Nuestra Señora de la Limpia Concepción de Socorro, and San Antonio de Senecú.

The Mayeye, a Tonkawa Tribe, first encountered La Salle and his French colonists in 1687. The Tonkawa belonged to the Tonkawan linguistic family that was once composed of a number of small sub-tribes that lived in present-day Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. The word "tonkawa" is a Waco term meaning "they all stay together." In the years to come the Tonkawa would have changing relationships with the Spanish and the French.

Tancahues, From the Manuscript Collection: Jean Louis Berlandier, 1827 - 1830. Courtesy Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa OK

In 1683 and 1684, the people of La Junta (near present-day Presidio) petitioned for missionaries to return to their area. Franciscans established two missions, El Apóstol Santiago on Alamito Creek and La Navidad en los Cruces along the Rio Grande. By 1688, these missions were abandoned.

The Spanish began making entradas into Texas in the 1690s. They intended to explore and expand into the far reaches of Spanish territory in order to buffer any encroachment from the French. From 1709 to 1722, the Spanish led roughly seven expeditions from Mexico to Texas. These early explorers brought cattle, sheep, and goats to the Texas frontier.

By 1690, the Spanish realized the need to defend Texas against the French and blazed a network of trails from Mexico City to Louisiana. Missionaries traveled to East Texas along El Camino Real (the King's Highway). The missions of San Francisco de los Tejas and Santísimo Nombre de María were established along the Neches River. By 1693, both missions were abandoned.

Circa 1700 In 1706 Spanish officials in New Mexico documented the presence of numerous Comanches on the northeastern frontier of that province. As the Comanches moved south, they came into conflict with tribes already living on the South Plains, particularly the Apaches, who had dominated the region before the arrival of the Comanches. The Apaches were forced south by the Comanche and the two became mortal enemies.

Plains Indian Girl with Melon, 1851–1857. By Friedrich Richard Petri.
Image courtesy Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

From 1700 to 1713, Spain was involved in a European war, and New Spain (Texas) was not a priority. After the war, Franciscans returned to the Presidio area and established two missions, San Cristóbal and Santa María la Redonda de los Cibolos. Missionaries occupied the sites sporadically until the end of the Spanish era in Texas.

On May 1, 1718, the Spanish established a mission-presidio complex approximately midway between the Rio Grande Valley and the missions of East Texas. This was the founding of the city of San Antonio, the most significant Texas settlement of the Spanish era. The mission of San Antonio de Valero, later known as the Alamo, was moved to its present location in 1724.

The Franciscans turned new attention to East Texas beginning in 1716. They established a mission along the Neches River and built three additional missions in Nacogdoches County. In 1719, French troops attacked a nearby Louisiana mission in an event known to history as the Chicken War because it was little more than a raid on a henhouse. Nonetheless, the Spanish withdrew from East Texas for two years.

The Spanish brought cattle to New Spain soon after they began colonization in the 1500s. The first cattle arrived in Texas in the 1690s. By the 1730s, missionaries were operating cattle ranches around San Antonio and Goliad. Within a few decades, individual ranchers like Martin de León began to build large operations. De León had some 5,000 cattle by 1816.

Ranching in Texas originated near San Antonio and Goliad in the 1730s. As the missions continued to fade into decline, individual ranchers became prominent due to generous land grants received from the Spanish Crown. One large ranch resulted from the Cavazos land grant, which was a sprawling 4,605 acres.

The East Texas missions were difficult to supply, staff, and defend, and most lasted only a few years. In 1730, three missions were relocated from East Texas to the site of present-day Austin. The following year, the missions were moved further south to San Antonio.

The first reference to the Comanche in present-day Texas comes in 1743, when a small scouting band appeared in San Antonio looking for their enemies, the Lipan Apache. The Comanches were to become the most dominant people in the area. The name "Comanche" comes from an Ute word that means "enemy." They refer to themselves as the "Nʉmʉnʉʉ" or the "people." The Comanche were originally a Great Plains hunter-gatherer group, but after acquiring horses, they expanded their territory. They became horse experts and migrated into Texas in order to hunt bison and capture the wild horses that roamed the land. They eventually claimed vast areas of north, central, and west Texas as part of "Comancheria."

Comanche Feats of Horsemanship, 1834–1835, by George Catlin.
Image courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.487

Ever since the Spanish arrived in the San Antonio area, the Lipan Apache have been at war with them. When the enemy Comanche arrived to the area, the Apache agreed to a peace treaty with the Spanish. The two buried a hatchet in the ground in a ceremony in San Antonio. This led the Spanish to move forward with plans to build missions in Apache territory.

Spontoon Tomahawk
Image courtesy of Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas

Originally from the area of present-day Kansas, a band of Wichitas moved from Oklahoma and settled along the Red River near present-day Nocona, Texas. They would live there until about 1810, when they gradually returned to present-day Oklahoma. The Wichita called themselves Kitikiti'sh, meaning "raccoon eyes," because the designs of tattoos around the men's eyes resembled the eyes of the raccoon. They lived in villages of dome-shaped grass houses. They farmed extensive fields of corn, tobacco, and melons along the streams where they made their homes and seasonally left their villages for annual hunts.

Wichita paint bag, 1800s.
Courtesy of The Field Museum, Cat. No. 59357

Once the Spanish formed an alliance with the Apaches, expansion of ranching lands became safer. Missions tended to have the best land, which put them in direct competition with the ranchers. Conflicts developed, and lawsuits between missions and ranchers became common at this time.

In 1757, the Spanish established Santa Cruz de San Sabá as a mission to the Apache. The Spanish also hoped to form an alliance with the Apache against the Comanche and allied northern tribes. In March of 1758, over 2,000 Comanche and allied norther tribes staged a massive attack, burning down the mission and killing all but one of the missionaries.

In response to the destruction of Mission Santa Cruz de San Sabá, forces of 600 Spanish soldiers attacked the Taovaya (Wichita) village on the Red River. With horses and French weapons, the Wichita were a stronger force than the Spanish. The Spanish were defeated and forced to retreat.

French musket, 1700s.
Image courtesy Red McCombs Collection, Georgetown

The Spanish negotiated a treaty with the Comanche, who agreed not to make war on missionized Apaches. Continued conflicts with Apaches made it impossible for Comanches to keep their promise. This ultimately led Spanish officials to advocate for breaking their alliance with the Apache in favor of a Spanish-Comanche alliance aimed at subduing the Apaches.

Comanches, From the Manuscript Collection: Jean Louis Berlandier, 1827 - 1830. Courtesy Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa OK

As a result of British colonial expansion from the east, the Alabama and Coushatta Tribes began to migrate from what is now Alabama to the area of Big Thicket in present-day Texas. By 1780 they had moved across the Sabine River into Spanish Texas.

Cutchates, From the Manuscript Collection: Jean Louis Berlandier, 1827 - 1830. Courtesy Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa OK

With the help of the French Governor of Natchitoches, Spain made treaties with Caddo, Wichita, and Tonkawa tribes. One year later, also with the help of a Frenchman, Spain made a treaty at San Antonio with a Comanche band. Other bands, however, continued to raid Spanish settlements.

Comanche War Bonnet, 1946–1970.
Image courtesy Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon

Since they first arrived to the Americas in the early 1500s, European diseases decimated diverse indigenous communities. In 1775 a smallpox epidemic killed hundreds of thousands of Europeans and Native peoples in North America. The virus was carried by people along the trade routes from Mexico City and moved north to Comancheria and farther north to the Shoshone. An estimated 90% of the American Indian population died from epidemics. The deadly diseases greatly shifted the balance of power between American Indians and Europeans.

Detail of Cabello to Croix, reporting smallpox epidemic, 1780.
Image courtesy Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

This painting by Francisco Clapera depicts a Spanish father and African mother playing with their son in colonial Mexico. This image exemplifies the Casta system established in Spanish territory by the late 16th century. The Casta system classified any genetic connection with Black Africans as a “stain” on the purity of Spanish blood. This created the classifications of Mulatos (children of Spaniards and Africans) and Mestizos (children of Spaniards and American Indians). Under Spanish law, marriage between the races was legal as long as the individuals were Catholic. It was common in the Spanish colonies for people from different racial groups to intermarry and have families.

Francisco Clapera, De Espanol, y Negra, Mulato, circa 1775 Denver Art Museum Collection: Gift of the Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer, 2011.428.4 Image courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

According to a newly enacted law, all wild animals and unbranded livestock were the property of the Spanish treasury. The law also established the "Mustang Fund" which imposed a tax on ranchers for all the branded livestock they rounded up.

El Mocho, a Lipan Apache who as a child was captured and adopted by the Tonkawa, became a chief of the Tonkawa after a small pox epidemic killed most of the tribe’s elders. Hoping to free his people from Spanish control, he formed a loose confederacy of groups that included the Tonkawas, the Lipan Apaches, and some Comanches and Caddos.

Hand-colored stone lithograph of a West Lipan Apache warrior sitting astride a horse and carrying a rifle from Emory's United States and Mexican Boundary Survey, Washington, 1857.
Image courtesy Star of the Republic Museum

Trade between Texas and Louisiana had been prohibited early in the 18th century. That ban was lifted in 1779. Ranching became more profitable as Spanish ranchers were able to drive their cattle along the Old San Antonio Road into the French territory of Louisiana. New Orleans soon became a major new market for ranchers.

Shortly after the trade ban was lifted in 1779, the Spanish colonial government reversed their decision because of the surge of smuggling. Since trade with Louisiana was hugely profitable, however, illicit trade continued. In a rare moment of unity, ranchers and missionaries became allies in their opposition to Spain's regulation of trade.

The Comanche accepted a peace deal with the Spanish, allowing Spaniards to travel through their lands. In exchange, Spain offered to help the Comanche in their war with the Apache. Peace between the Spanish and Comanche lasted 30 years. The Comanches were to become the dominate force in the area, both in trade and warfare.

Cabello to Rengel, reporting on visit made to Béxar by Comanche captain to confirm peace treaty, 1785.
Image courtesy Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

In 1785, rancher Juan José Flores submitted a document to the Spanish government in Mexico. Known as the San Fernando Memorial, the document argued that unbranded livestock belonged to ranchers since those animals were descended from the ranchers' animals. The government agreed and allowed the ranchers to collect and brand the animals.

Due to the San Fernando Memorial ruling, ranchers and missionaries planned a great round-up in 1787. La Bahia was the only mission to actually participate. As many as 7,000 cattle were captured and branded. This event marked a shift in the balance of power between ranchers and missionaries.

By 1795, ranchers were no longer required to pay the Mustang Fund taxes and were given one tax-free year to round up and brand wild livestock. This change in policy resulted in the increased transportation of cattle to markets in Louisiana and northern Mexico where they were sold for their tallow, hides, and meat.

Cattle herds became severely depleted because of continual predator attacks as well as the increased market demands for cattle products. The cattle industry declined and ranchers turned their money-making efforts toward a new livestock source— wild mustangs.

Cherokees were first reported in Texas in 1807, when a small band established a village on the Red River. American expansion had forced them to the west. They were an agricultural people whose ancestral lands covered much of the southern Appalachian highlands, an area that included parts of Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.

In the summer of that year, a delegation of Cherokees, Pascagoulas, Chickasaws, and Shawnees sought permission from Spanish officials in Nacogdoches to settle members of their tribes in that province. The request was approved by Spanish authorities, who intended to use the displaced tribes as a buffer against American expansion.

"Cunne Shote, Cherokee Chief," by Francis Parsons, 1751-1775. Gift of the Thomas Gilcrease Foundation, 1955. Courtesy Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa OK

The Transatlantic Slave Trade involved the forced migration of millions of enslaved African peoples to the Americas throughout the 16th to 19th centuries. Although it was banned by Britain and the U.S. in 1808, it did not decrease the role of slavery throughout the South. The widespread trade of enslaved peoples within the South continued, aided by the self-sustaining population of children born into slavery.

Diagram of a slave ship, 1787. Image courtesy British Library, London, England

In 1820, Moses Austin traveled to San Antonio and negotiated permission to settle 300 Anglo American families in Texas, but he died before his plans could be realized. Moses' son, Stephen F. Austin, traveled to Texas to renegotiate his father's grant and to scout land near Brazoria. In December 1821, the younger Austin began bringing the settlers to their new home.

Image courtesy of Star of the Republic of Texas Museum.

In search of new opportunities in the unsettled territory of Tejas, Moses Austin hoped to bring 300 families to the Mexican province in 1820. With the help of Baron de Bastrop, Austin received approval from the Spanish governor to bring settlers into Tejas. Moses Austin died in 1821, however, and his son, Stephen F. Austin, inherited the land grant for 300 families. Austin settled the land near the Brazos and Colorado in 1824.

The Mexican territory of Tejas was opened to settlers on the conditions that they become Mexican citizens, learn Spanish and adopt the Catholic faith. Moses Austin, a founder of America's lead industry, obtained government permission to bring colonists to the territory. He died before the "Texas Venture" began and his son, Stephen, led 300 families on the journey to establish new colonies along the Brazos, Colorado and San Bernard Rivers.

Stephen F. Austin established a settlement of Anglo Americans who found the ranching system in Texas in decline. The ranching knowledge and outstanding roping skills of vaqueros (Mexican cowboys) helped revive and rebuild the flagging ranching industry.

As the people of Mexico began to feel exploited by Spanish colonialism, a series of revolts began in 1801. On September 27, 1821, the Spanish signed a treaty recognizing Mexico's independence. Since Moses Austin had been granted permission by Spain to bring American families to Texas, his son Stephen had to renegotiate the land grant and settlements with the new Mexican government.

In 1822 Cherokee Chief Bowl sent diplomatic chief Richard Fields to Mexico to negotiate with the Mexican government for a grant to land occupied by Cherokees in East Texas. After two years of waiting to receive a grant, Richard Fields tried to unite diverse tribes in Texas into an alliance and began to encourage other displaced tribes to settle in Texas.

Chief Bowl, Courtesy Jenkins Company.
Image courtesy Prints and Photographs Collection, Texas State Library and Archives Commission. #1/102-661

The Mexican government advised Stephen F. Austin that it would not provide resources to administer or defend the fledgling Tejas colonies. Austin hired ten men to "act as rangers for the common defense" against Indian raids. With that, the legend of the Texas Rangers began.

Mexico established rules for settling colonies in 1824. During this time, they also joined Coahuila and Texas, forming a unified Mexican state "Coahuila y Tejas." With the passage of the Coahuila-Texas colonization law, Mexico encouraged foreign settlers to buy land in the territory with a $30 down payment, without the requirement of paying taxes for ten years after that.

Mexico encouraged Anglo Americans to settle the sparsely-populated Texas territory, both to increase ranching and commerce and to defend against American Indians and aggressive European powers. On March 24, 1825, the Mexican Congress passed colonization laws that stipulated that settlers practice Christianity and take loyalty oaths to the Mexican and state constitutions in order to become citizens.

In 1825, Haden Edwards received a land grant in east Texas for 800 settlers. A dispute for leadership soon broke out in Edwards' colony. He and his allies formed an alliance with the Cherokees and declared the independent republic of Fredonia. Mexican troops restored order, but the incident led Mexico to severely restrict further immigration into Texas from the United States and Europe, a bitter pill for the majority of colonists who had remained peaceable.

Settlers weren't ready to embrace their new Mexican identity upon moving into the country. Largely, they didn't see themselves as Mexican nationals and, in fact, referred to themselves as "Texians." Additionally, many of Austin's settlers came from the American south who brought enslaved African Americans with them, despite Mexico's laws prohibiting slavery. Because of the lack of allegiance to the nation, Mexican officials feared they would lose control of the state. They began encouraging more migration from Mexicans into the area.

Issued by President Vincente R. Guerrero on September 15, 1829, this decree abolished slavery throughout the Republic of Mexico. The news of the decree alarmed Anglo settlers in Texas, who petitioned Guerrero to exempt Texas from the law. The decree was never put into operation, but it made many Anglo settlers worry that their interests were not protected, planting the seeds of revolution.

Decree abolishing slavery in Mexico in 1829. Image courtesy of Newton Gresham Library, Sam Houston State University.

On September 25, 1829, the first issue of the Texas Gazette was published in San Felipe de Austin. Published until 1832, Texas' first newspaper kept settlers informed of news by providing English translations of Mexican government laws and decrees.

Image courtesy of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin

Anglo settlers who arrived in Texas in the 1830s brought with them the skills for farming, but many were enticed by cattle ranching instead. In 1837, Charles Morgan established the first steamship line in Texas to transport Texas cattle from the Gulf of Mexico to markets in New Orleans and the West Indies.

Fearing the possibility of losing control of Texas, Mexico banned further immigration from the United States on April 6, 1830. They encouraged immigration from Mexico and European countries, placed more restrictions on slavery, and increased military presence in the region. This initiative angered Texans, who pushed for statehood and self-rule.

On April 6, 1830, the Mexican government passed several new laws that were very unpopular with the Anglo American settlers. These laws increased the presence of the Mexican military, implemented new taxes, forbade the settlers from bringing more slaves into Texas, and banned new immigration from the United States. The grievances that would lead to the Texas Revolution had begun to accumulate.

Image courtesy of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

The Mexican army established a garrison at Anahuac to collect tariffs, end smuggling, and enforce the ban on immigration from the United States. Tensions rose to a boil when the fort's commander took in several runaway slaves. The unrest culminated at nearby Velasco when a group of settlers tried to take a cannon from a Mexican fort. At least ten Texans and five Mexican soldiers died in the fighting.

General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna led a successful revolt against President Bustamante. Texans were initially okay with this development because of Santa Anna's support for the Constitution of 1824, which was very similar to the U.S. Constitution. However, Santa Anna nullified the 1824 Constitution in favor of a more centralized government and was no longer supportive of Texas self-rule.

At the Convention of 1833, 56 Texas delegates drafted a resolution requesting that Mexico roll back many of the changes in Mexican law that took place in 1830. Texans wanted Mexico to allow immigration from the U.S., provide more protection from native peoples, exempt Texans from anti-slavery laws, improve the mail service, and separate Texas from Coahuila. Stephen F. Austin, along with Dr. James B. Miller, presented the proposals to Santa Anna. Austin was imprisoned in Mexico City on suspicion of inciting insurrection. Eventually, the Mexican government repealed the Law of 1830, but would not grant statehood to Texas. Amidst the conflict, thousands upon thousands of Americans were immigrating to Texas.

"War is declared." So wrote Stephen F. Austin after the Battle of Gonzales, when Mexican authorities tried to seize the town's cannon and were met with the now-famous battle cry, "Come and take it!" After Gonzales, the unrest in Texas spiraled out of control. Santa Anna's determination to quell the rebellion would end with the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836 and Texas' independence.

Image courtesy of Daniel Mayer, Creative Commons

Tension grew between Texas and Mexico. Texans, with a growing influx of American settlers, pushed for separate statehood, resulting in many minor skirmishes with Mexico. The first notable battle of the Texas Revolution occurred when Texans at Gonzales refused to return a small cannon lent to them by Mexican authorities. On October 2, Colonel John H. Moore and his company famously rolled out the cannon under a flag that read, “Come and Take It.” The short fight that resulted sparked the beginning of the Revolution. Mexicans retreated, but the battle had just begun.

The provisional Texas government passed a resolution officially creating a corps of over 50 rangers. These Rangers engaged in many skirmishes with American Indians and often joined with the Texian Army in fighting against Mexican troops in what became the opening battles of the Texas Revolution.

A large force of mostly Comanches attacked a private fort built by Silas and James Parker near the upper Navasota River. In the attack Silas and two women were killed. His daughter Cynthia Ann (9), son John (6), and three others were taken by the Comanche. In time Cynthia Ann Parker was fully adopted by the Comanche, eventually becoming a wife of Chief Peta Nocona and the mother of Chief Quanah Parker.

"Cynthia Ann Parker" by William Bridgers, 1861.
Image courtesy DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Written in 1836, the Constitution of the Republic of Texas protected slavery in the new nation. The General Provisions of the Constitution forbade any slave owner from freeing enslaved people without the consent of Congress and forbade Congress from making any law that restricted the slave trade or emancipated the enslaved. This solidified the importance of slavery in Texas from its founding.

Draft of the Republic of Texas Constitution, 1836. Image courtesy Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin

The Republic of Texas was born on March 2, 1836, when 58 delegates at Washington-on-the-Brazos signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. The first Texas Congress met at Columbia in the fall of 1836 to set the border with Mexico at the Rio Grande, a decision based on an aggressive interpretation of the Louisiana Purchase. The river remained under the control of Mexico, however, as the Mexican government did not recognize Texas' independence.

Image courtesy of Svalbertian, Creative Commons

On March 1, 59 delegates held the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos. There they drafted the Texas Declaration of Independence and adopted it on March 2. During the Convention, delegates also drafted the Texas Constitution, outlining their plan for the new Republic. This took place only a month after Santa Anna entered Texas with his army of 6,000 men. Mexico’s army vastly outnumbered the Texas rebels.

The Gonzales Ranging Company answered William B. Travis' impassioned letter asking for reinforcements to defend the Alamo. Thirty-two Rangers reached the fort on March 1. On March 6, all 32 Rangers died. This single troop loss accounted for 20% of all Alamo battle losses. These Rangers are now known in history as the "Immortal 32."

Merely declaring independence was a long way from winning the revolution. On March 6, 1836, Santa Anna led an attack on the Alamo. Under the command of William B. Travis and James Bowie, Texas rebels fought a fierce battle against the Mexican army. Casualties were high on both sides, but Santa Anna’s army ultimately triumphed. The defenders of the Alamo were killed in the attack, including famed frontiersman and former U.S. Congressman David Crockett. Those who did survive were captured and executed by Santa Anna’s troops. News of the defeat spread to Gonzales, where Sam Houston had formed an army. Feeling unprepared for the advancing army, Houston ordered Gonzales be evacuated and burned. The month-long flight, where evacuees headed east with news of Santa Anna’s advance, is known as “The Runaway Scrape.” In Goliad, Colonel James Fannin had been ordered to abandon his position to join Texas forces with General Houston however, he remained at the fort at Goliad. They fought the Mexican Army at the Battle of Coleto, but faced the same fate as the soldiers at the Alamo. They were defeated, and the Santa Anna gave the order to have Fannin's captured army executed.

Independence seemed out of reach after the Alamo and Goliad. General Houston drew criticism for not having yet attacked Santa Anna's advancing army. Ordered to stop his retreat by ad interim President David G. Burnet, Houston returned west, receiving word that Santa Anna's army was encamped on the west side of the Buffalo Bayou and the San Jacinto River, inside the present-day city limits of Houston. At 3:30 p.m. on April 21, outnumbered and facing impossible odds, Houston ordered the attack on Mexican army. With shouts of "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!", the ragtag militia descended upon the Mexican army. It is widely believed Santa Anna and his soldiers were indulging in an afternoon siesta and therefore were not ready to face the attack, which lasted approximately 18 minutes. Nine Texans were killed, and 630 Mexicans lost their lives. Santa Anna was captured after the battle. And so began the Republic of Texas.

In September of 1836, the citizens of the new Republic of Texas quickly elected Sam Houston as their first president, and Mirabeau B. Lamar as vice president. Houston appointed Stephen F. Austin to be Secretary of State. Austin died in office on December 27, 1836, at the age of 43.

Greenberry Logan was a free person of color who arrived in Texas in 1831. He fought and was injured at the Siege of Bexar (December 1835). Despite his military service, the Texas Constitution sought to remove all free persons of color unless they obtained permission from Congress to continue living in Texas. Logan and his wife Caroline submitted their petition to remain in March 1837, asking that they “might be allowed the privilege of spending the remainder of [their] days in quiet and peace.” Congress honored their request.

Greenberry Logan’s petition to remain in Texas, March 13, 1837. Image courtesy Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin.

The Texas Legislature passed an act authorizing Rangers to employ the services of "friendly" American Indian tribes as scouts and spies. Flacco, a Lipan Apache chief, served under Ranger John (Jack) Coffee Hays in 1841 and 1842. Hays later credited Flacco with saving his life in more than one battle with the Comanches.

The second president of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar, took over a bankrupt and lawless country. Driven by a vision of future greatness, Lamar ruthlessly drove the Cherokee from Texas, waged war with the Comanche, and undertook a disastrous expedition to open a trade route to Santa Fe. He also founded a new capital in Austin and laid the foundation that would one day create schools, colleges, and world-famous universities.

Image courtesy of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin

Under the second president of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar, the capital was relocated to Austin. Many in Congress believed that Houston was too far from the original Texas settlements, so the commission surveyed land north of San Antonio between the Trinity and Colorado Rivers. Lamar set up a commission to begin researching potential locations for the new capital. They ultimately chose the village of Waterloo and changed the name to Austin to honor the legacy of Stephen F. Austin.

Land was cheap— $.50 an acre compared to $1.25 in the U.S.— but settlement was difficult in the rugged and dangerous Republic of Texas. As a result, land sales attracted more speculators than actual settlers. To encourage settlement, the Texas Congress passed a homestead law. President Sam Houston opposed the bill because of rampant fraud and illegal claims on land titles, and kept the General Land Office closed throughout his term.

Image courtesy of Texas General Land Office

The flag you know today as the official State flag of Texas was adopted in January of 1839 as the official flag of the Republic of Texas.

Republic of Texas President Mirabeau B. Lamar ordered the expulsion or extermination of all American Indian tribes. In the Battle of the Neches, near present-day Tyler, Cherokees were defeated in their attempt to retain land granted to them by a previous state treaty. Cherokee Chief Bowles died clutching a sword given to him by his close friend, Sam Houston.

Image courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission

In the 1840s, during the Republic of Texas era, individual ranchers organized cattle drives to New Orleans. They also established the Shawnee Trail to Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa, where they could place the cattle on rail cars to be transported to the big markets in New York and Philadelphia.

President Lamar ordered the Rangers to attack Comanche villages in his campaign to drive American Indians out of Texas. War chiefs agreed to peace negotiations with the Rangers at Council House in San Antonio. At the talks, the Comanches entered with an injured hostage and demanded more money for the remaining hostages. Soon bullets and arrows flew. Six Texans and many Comanche war chiefs, women, and children died. The stage was set for the Battle of Plum Creek.

John (Jack) Coffee Hays led a company of Rangers toward Plum Creek. Word had spread of raiding Comanches seeking retribution for the Council House massacre. The Comanches reached Kelly Springs where their war chief, wearing a stovepipe hat and carrying a lady's parasol taken from a Linnville warehouse, was killed immediately. Fierce fighting continued along the San Marcos River with 150 Comanches killed.

Zylpha “Zelia” Husk emigrated to Texas by 1838 from Alabama and worked as a laundress in Houston. In 1840, Texas passed an Act Concerning Free Persons of Color that ordered all free Black people living in Texas to leave within two years unless granted an exemption by Congress. Husk petitioned the Republic for permanent residency in 1841. Fifty different white residents from Harris County testified that “we have known Zelp[ha] Husk for at least two or three years as a free woman of color, … she has conducted herself well and earned her living by honest industry.”

Zylpha Husk’s petition to remain in the Republic of Texas, December 16, 1841. Image courtesy Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin.

When Texas sought recognition from Great Britain as a sovereign nation, they signed a treaty to suppress the transatlantic slave trade. They mutually agreed that the Royal Navy and Texas Navy could detain and search each other’s ships for enslaved Africans or equipment typically found on a slave-trading vessel. This included shackles, hatches with open gratings, larger quantities of water and food than what the crew needed, and spare planking for laying down a slave deck. If ships were found with any of these things, their crews could be found guilty of illegally participating in the African slave trade.

Treaty Between Great Britain and Texas to Suppress the Slave Trade, 1842. Image courtesy Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin

On March 28, 1843, a number of Indian tribes including the Caddos, Delawares, Wacos, Tawakonis, Lipan Apaches, and Tonkawas attended the first council between the Tribes and Texas officials on Tehuacana Creek just south of present-day Waco.

Minutes of Indian Council at Tehuacana Creek, March 28, 1843, Texas Indian Papers, Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission

In 1836, the Republic of Texas voted in favor of annexation by the United States, but the U.S. wasn't interested because of concerns over the Republic's pro-slavery stance and an impending war with Mexico. By 1843, with the threat of British involvement in the Texas issue, U.S. President John Tyler proposed annexation. Texas drew up a state constitution in October 1845 and was admitted as the 28th U.S. state by the end of the year.

Texas' annexation to the United States was blocked over concern about slavery and debt. James K. Polk was elected President of the United States in 1844 on a promise to annex Texas (slave state) and the Oregon Territory (free state). The final obstacle to annexation was removed when Texas was allowed to keep its public lands to pay off its debt. Texas became the 28th U.S. state on December 29, 1845.

Image courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Head chiefs for the Comanche including Buffalo Hump, Santa Anna, and others signed a treaty with John O. Meusebach, who acted on behalf of German settlers. The treaty allowed settlers to travel into Comancheria and for the Comanche to go to the white settlements. More than three million acres of land opened up to settlement as a result.

1972/141, Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Almost ten years after winning independence from Mexico, and after a long and controversial diplomatic struggle, Texas was annexed to the United States under the administration of President James Polk.

The annexation of Texas bolstered westward expansion of the United States. Settlers moved to Texas in droves. President Polk defined the border between Texas and Mexico at the Rio Grande, but Mexico did not agree. Diplomatic solutions failed. Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor to position troops along the north bank of the Rio Grande to protect the Texas boundary. The Mexican government saw this as an invasion and thus an act of war, resulting in the Battle of Palo Alto in Brownsville on May 8, 1846—the first major battle of the U.S.-Mexican War. War was officially declared by U.S. Congress on May 13.

On February 2, 1848, the U.S.-Mexican War was brought to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. The treaty established boundaries between the United States and Mexico, with Mexico officially recognizing Texas as a part of the United States. Additionally, the treaty included the acquisition of Mexico's northern territory—which included California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona, as well as parts of Wyoming and Colorado—for $15 million. The United States added more than 25% of its present day size, and Mexico lost over half its land as a result of the treaty.

"Four newly raised ranging companies, have all been organized, and taken their several stations on our frontier. We know they are true men and they know exactly what they are about. With many of them, Indian and Mexican fighting has been their trade for years. That they may be permanently retained in the service on our frontier is extremely desirable."

- Victoria Advocate newspaper

When the California gold rush began in 1849, Texas ranchers organized cattle drives to provide food for the "Forty-Niners." The drives left from San Antonio and Fredericksburg and took a perilous six-month journey through El Paso to San Diego and Los Angeles. The California cattle drives ended after the market there went bust in 1857.

On December 10, 1850, representatives from the U.S. government and the southern Comanche, Lipan Apache, Caddo, Quapaw, and various Wichita bands met for treaty negotiations at the Spring Creek Council Grounds. The tribal representatives agreed to stay west of the Colorado River and north of the Llano River, to abide by U.S. laws, and to turn over fugitive enslaved people and individuals being held as prisoners. The agent for the U.S. agreed to regulate traders in American Indian territory, establish at least one trade house, and send blacksmiths and teachers to live with the tribes.

This stone is one of two placed at the meeting site near Fort Martin Scott in Fredericksburg to commemorate the signing of the treaty. However, the treaty was not ratified by the U.S. government and neither side honored its provisions.

Treaty Stone, 1850.
Courtesy Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

As the United States grew, so did the need for a more reliable transportation system. Travel was difficult in antebellum Texas, worsened by the expansive and unforgiving terrain in the west. Businesses also needed a way to ship their goods through the expanding area. This prompted the construction of the first railroad in Texas, which opened in 1853. Known as the "Harrisburg Railroad," the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, and Colorado Railway ran about 20 miles from Harrisburg to Stafford's Point.

On October 29, 1853, Alabama Chief Antone, the tribal subchiefs, and prominent citizens of Polk County presented a petition to the Texas legislature requesting land for a reservation. In part to thank the tribes for their support of the Texas Revolution in 1836, the petition was approved. The State of Texas purchased 1,110.7 acres of land for the Alabama Indian reservation. About 500 tribe members settled on this land during the winter of
1854–55. In 1855 the Texas legislature appropriated funds to purchase 640 acres for the Coushattas.

J. De Cordova's Map of the State of Texas Compiled from the records of the General Land Office of the State, New York: J. H. Cotton, 1857, Map #93984, Rees-Jones Digital Map Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

Upper and Lower Brazos Reservation was created in northern Texas. About 2,000 Caddo, Keechi, Waco, Delaware, Tonkawa, and Penateka Comanche, lived on the reservation. Five years later, attacks by white settlers and encroachments on the reservation resulted in the diverse tribes being forcibly removed to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma.

J. De Cordova's Map of the State of Texas Compiled from the records of the General Land Office of the State, New York: J. H. Cotton, 1857, Map #93984, Rees-Jones Digital Map Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

Modern communication is something we all take for granted, but 19th-century Texans weren't so lucky. In 1854, the Texas and Red River Telegraph Company established service in Marshall, connecting to parts of Louisiana and Mississippi. By 1866, over 1500 miles of wire connected Texas.

As the number of settlers to Texas increased, so did the number of attacks as the Americans Indians were driven off their tribal lands. Texas Governor Hardin Runnels appropriated $70,000 to fund a force of 100 Rangers led by the legendary Senior Captain John "RIP" Ford. The Rangers spent the next several years fighting pitched battles with American Indian tribes as well as Mexican soldiers.

In the 1860s, the center of Texas cattle ranching shifted from South Texas to the frontier northwest of Fort Worth. Here settlers from Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, and Arkansas established new ranches in the rough brush country. These settlers, many of whom opposed secession, faced vigilante violence during the Civil War, but eventually expanded the cattle business into a true industry.

The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 prompted the secession of Southern, slave-holding states. The majority of Texans feared the election of a Republican would threaten slavery, which they believed was a vital part of the economy of the young state. Not all Texans bought into the idea of secession, most notably Sam Houston, the Unionist governor of the state. Although Houston himself was a slave-owner and opposed abolition, he actively worked to keep the state from seceding. However, the State Legislature voted in favor of an Ordinance of Secession on February 23, 1861. Governor Houston was evicted from office when he refused to take an oath to the Confederacy. Houston was replaced by Lieutenant Governor Edward Clark. This would mark the beginning of a long, bloody battle between the North and South. The Union would prove victorious four years later.

By a vote of 166 to 8, the Secession Convention of Texas voted to withdraw from the Union. Independence was declared on March 2, and on March 5, Texas joined the Confederate States of America. Governor Sam Houston refused to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederacy. When the Convention removed him from office on March 16, Houston's political career was over. The statesman retired to Huntsville where he died two years later.

All able-bodied men were required to report for service to the Confederate Army. This left many Texas colonies and forts with no defense from continual Comanche and Kiowa raids. The Texas Legislature passed an act authorizing the formation of the Frontier Regiment. These Rangers patrolled 18 forts located along a 500-mile line from the Red River to the Rio Grande. By 1863, all Frontier Regiment Rangers were drafted into the Confederate Army.

Early in the Civil War, Texas ranchers supplied the Confederate army with beef. Federal troops seized control of the Mississippi River and New Orleans in 1863, cutting Texas off from its southern markets. With most men involved in the war, cattle were left to roam. By 1865, there were thousands of unbranded "maverick" cattle throughout the state.

Large-scale cattle raids by Comanche became common with attacks in Cooke, Denton, Montague, Parker, and Wise counties. In December, some 300 Comanches attacked settlements in Montague and Cooke counties and escaped after driving off soldiers from the Frontier Regiment.

Saddle pad, 1870s
Image courtesy Heritage Society, Houston, Gift of Mrs. Herman P. Pressler

U.S. Army Col. Kit Carson led 350 California and New Mexico volunteer cavalry against Comanche and Kiowa camps near the abandoned "Adobe Walls" trading post in the Texas Panhandle. After a battle of several hours, Carson and his troops narrowly escaped, outnumbered by about 1,400 Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache warriors.

The Freedman's Bureau was a federal agency created to assist African Americans in the South with their transition to freedom following the Civil War. It was established by Congress in March 1865 as a branch of the United States Army and operated in Texas from late September 1865 until July 1870. The agency assisted newly freed African Americans with legal matters, education, and employment. The Bureau was also tasked with curbing the violence inflicted upon African Americans, especially by the KKK, a newly founded hate group.

Illustration of The Freedmen's Bureau distributing rations

On June 19, 1865, federal authority was established in Texas when General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston. Granger proclaimed the end of slavery for 250,000 African Americans as well as the end of the Confederacy. "Juneteenth," celebrating that declaration of emancipation, was declared an official holiday in the state of Texas in 1980.

The economic devastation of the South after the Civil War meant Texas ranchers had to look elsewhere for profitable markets. In the North and East, cattle that were worth just $4 a head in Texas could be sold for $40. The challenge was getting them there. Cow folk and their cattle traveled the famed Chisholm Trail that crossed the Red River and headed into Kansas in order to reach the rail heads that could take the cattle to market.

The Army Reorganization Act authorized Congress to form the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st Infantry units. The soldiers signed up for five years and received three meals a day, a uniform, an education and $13.00 a month pay. These African American troops become known as "Buffalo Soldiers" because of their bravery in battles against Native Americans. The term eventually became a reference for all African American soldiers.

Buffalo Soldiers: The Unknown Army

Cathay Williams was a cook for the Union Army. When the Civil War ended, Cathay needed to support herself. She signed up with the 25th Infantry Buffalo Soldiers as William Cathay. When she was hospitalized, the doctor discovered her secret. On October 14, 1868, "William Cathay" was declared unfit for duty and honorably discharged. In 1891, Cathay applied for a military pension, but was denied because women weren't eligible to be soldiers.

885 men of the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers regiment took up stations at Fort Stockton and Fort Davis. When not engaged in skirmishes with the Apache and Comanche Indians, the soldiers guarded civilian and government stagecoaches traveling along the San Antonio to El Paso road.

Fort Lancaster 9th Cavalry Company K soldiers were moving their horses to pasture. 400 Kickapoo Indians advanced toward the fort. The Buffalo Soldiers scurried to fire at the invaders while herding their valuable horses back toward the fort's corral. Bullets and arrows flew throughout the night. By the time the battle ended the next morning, Company K had lost 38 cavalry horses and two soldiers to the Kickapoo.

Pennsylvania-born Mifflin Kenedy began sheep ranching in Texas after the Mexican-American War of 1846. In the aftermath of the Civil War, Kenedy made his move into cattle ranching with the purchase of Laureles Ranch near Corpus Christi. Kenedy fenced his ranch with smooth wire in 1869, marking the beginning of enclosed ranching in Texas. In 1907, Laureles was incorporated into the mighty King Ranch.

After the Civil War, the United States entered the era of Reconstruction, during which former Confederate States had to meet certain conditions for readmission into the Union. This included recognizing the U.S. constitutional amendments that ended slavery and rewriting their state constitutions. Nine African Americans were delegates to the 1868 Constitutional Convention. One of these delegates, George T. Ruby was elected to the Texas Senate a year later, becoming the first African American to serve in the legislature. Texas was readmitted to the United States on March 30, 1870.

Hyrum Wilson and several others between 1869 and 1872 owned and operated a pottery company on land granted to them by their former enslaver, John Wilson. Years of experience in John Wilson’s pottery shop provided the newly freed men the knowledge and skills needed to establish and operate their own pottery company. The enterprise’s success provided a livelihood for the potters that differed from sharecropping and tenant farming, both of which tied African Americans to landowners in a manner much like slavery.

George T. Ruby (left) and Matthew Gaines (right). 1/151-1. Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission

When the Twelfth Provisional Legislature began in February 1870, it included Texas’s first two African American legislators. Elected in 1869 to serve in the Texas Senate were George T. Ruby, a former Freedmen’s Bureau agent originally from New York, and Matthew Gaines, a Baptist preacher. Together, these men pushed for resolutions to protect African American voters and supported bills for public education and prison reform.

George T. Ruby (left) and Matthew Gaines (right). Image courtesy Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin.

The original four infantry units of Buffalo Soldiers were reorganized into two regiments. The original 38th and 41st regiments became the 24th regiment, and the 39th and 40th were combined to become the 25th regiment. From that point on, the Buffalo Soldiers troops were comprised of the 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments and the 24th and 25th Infantry regiments.

A new technique for tanning bison hides became commercially available. In response, commercial hunters began systematically targeting bison for the first time. Once numbering in the tens of millions, the bison population plummeted. By 1878, the American Bison were all but extinct. This was a terrible blow to the American Indians whose livelihood depended on the bison and to whom the bison is a sacred animal.

Pile of buffalo hides obtained from hunting expeditions in western Kansas, April 4, 1874.
Image courtesy Kansas Historical Society

Following the end of the Civil War, the cattle industry began to rebound. Cattle were turned loose in south Texas and their populations rapidly increased. With cattle numbers on the rise again, ranchers drove their herds toward the new markets in the northern U.S. The cattle industry in Texas was back and booming.

During Reconstruction, southern states were required to nullify acts of secession, abolish slavery, and ratify the 13th Amendment in order to be readmitted to the Union. Texas balked on the slavery issue, which prompted Congress to require that the Texas Legislature also pass the 14th and 15th Amendments before being considered for readmission. When Texas finally met all conditions, President Ulysses S. Grant readmitted Texas to the United States.

Sergeant Emmanuel Stance of the 9th Cavalry left Fort McKavett to rescue two children captured in an Apache raid. Stance and his men fought off the Apaches multiple times. Both children and over a dozen stolen horses were recovered. For his valor, Stance was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and became the first African American soldier to win the country's highest civilian medal in the post-Civil War period.

Under the command of General William T. Sherman, the 10th Cavalry conducted an inspection tour of Texas frontier to determine the safety of white settlers against Indian threats. They traveled over 34,000 miles, mapping significant geographical features as they went. The information they gathered was used to develop highly detailed maps of the unsettled territory.

Kiowas and Comanche attacked a freight wagon train on the Salt Creek Prairie of Young County and killed the wagon master and seven teamsters. In response U.S. Army Gen. Sherman ordered operations to arrest any Comanche and Kiowa found away from their reservation. Chiefs Satank, Satanta, and Big Tree were arrested and put on trial. They were the first Native American leaders to be tried for raids in a U.S. Court.

Photograph 518901, "White Bear (Sa-tan-ta), a Kiowa chief full-length, seated, holding bow and arrows" William S. Soule Photographs of Arapaho, Cheyenna, Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache Indians, 1868 - 1875 Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1793 - 1999 National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.

In 1871, Ransom and Sarah Williams purchased 45 acres in southern Travis County, despite the discriminatory labor practices that kept most African Americans from earning enough money to purchase land. The Williams family supported themselves by raising horses and farming. Objects left behind at the farmstead show that the family was successful enough to have money to spend on toys, costume jewelry, manufactured dish sets imported from England, and mass-produced patent medicines and extracts.

Transfer-printed whiteware saucer owned by the Williams family (reconstructed), c. 1875–1897. Image courtesy Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin.

While on an expedition to the Llano Estacado, US Cavalry companies and Tonkawa scouts attacked a Comanche village on the North Fork of the Red River. About 13 women and children and their horse herd of some 800 animals were captured. Three soldiers were killed and seven wounded. The Comanche suffered 50 killed and seven wounded. The prisoners were sent to Fort Sill in Indian Territory.

Johnson, Chief of Tonkawa Scouts, United States Army, 1870–1875.
Image courtesy DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

As the United States recovered from the Civil War, the nation's industrial capacity developed at a revolutionary pace. The overheated economy crashed in the Panic of 1873, causing the value of cattle to plummet. The resulting depression caused many cattle ranchers to go bankrupt and temporarily sidelined the industry.

Six companies of the 4th Cavalry, along with 24 Black-Seminole scouts led by Lt. John Bullis, crossed the Rio Grande and attacked a village of Lipan and Kickapoo near Remolino, Mexico. The survivors were deported to the Mescalero Reservation in the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico.

A Black Seminole regiment, c. 1885. Image courtesy Archives of the Big Bend, Sul Ross State University, Alpine, Texas.

Black troops in the U.S. Army were stationed throughout Texas, the Southwest, and the Great Plains. They were given the name "Buffalo Soldiers" by Native Americans. Four regiments served in Texas: the 9th and 10th Cavalry, and the 24th and 25th Infantry. The Buffalo Soldiers participated in many frontier campaigns and were responsible for a variety of military tasks, including building roads and escorting mail parties through the frontier.

Beginning in 1868, a series of patents was issued to several inventors for strong, mass-produced fencing made from interlocking strands of wire, outfitted with sharp barbs that discouraged even the toughest cattle from muscling through it. In 1876, two salesman demonstrated barbed wire in the Alamo Plaza in San Antonio. Within a few years, the simple, revolutionary invention had ended the open range.

By the winter of 1873‒1874, the Southern Plains Indians were in crisis. The reduction of the buffalo herds combined with increasing numbers of settlers and military patrols had put them in an unsustainable position. Led by Isa-tai and Quanah Parker, 250 warriors on June 27th attacked a small outpost of buffalo hunters at Adobe Walls in the Texas Panhandle. This would start the Red River (or Buffalo) War.

Red River War Kiowa Prisoners, Fort Marion, Florida, c.1875. Kiowas.
Image courtesy Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

Alex Sweet, editor of the nationally-circulated humor magazine Texas Siftings, wrote in 1882: "The Rangers have done more to suppress lawlessness, to capture criminals, and to prevent Mexican and Indian raids on the frontier, than any other agency employed by either the State or national government."

The U.S. Army began a campaign to remove all Comanche, Kiowa, Southern Cheyenne, and Arapaho from the southwest plains and relocate them to reservations in Indian Territory. Led by Comanche Chief Quanah Parker, the Indian tribes fought one last battle for their native lands. The U.S. Army, including all regiments of the Buffalo Soldiers, engaged the Indians in over 20 battles from 1874 to 1875 in the Texas panhandle around the Red River.

The cattle drives faced the constant threat of attack by American Indians. In a series of battles known as the Red River War, the U.S. Army defeated a large force of Kiowa, Cheyenne, and Comanche at Palo Duro Canyon, by capturing and killing their horses. Without their ability to make war, the Indians were forced to relocate to reservations in Oklahoma, opening up the Staked Plains to cattle ranching.

The Red River War officially ended in June 1875 when Quanah Parker and his band of Quahadi Comanche entered Fort Sill and surrendered. They were the last large band in Texas. The United States had now defeated the unified Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, and Kiowa and forcibly confined them to reservations.

Photograph 530911, "Quanah Parker, a Kwahadi Comanche chief full-length, standing in front of tent" Photographs of American Military Activities, ca. 1918 - ca. 1981 Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1860 - 1985 National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.

Created in 1876 as a result of legislation in Texas that mandated higher education opportunities for African Americans, Prairie View A&M became the first state supported institution of higher learning for African Americans in Texas. The school’s original curriculum was the training of teachers, but in 1887 it expanded to include agriculture, nursing, arts and sciences, and mechanical arts, and by 1932, the college initiated graduate programs in agricultural economics, rural education, agricultural education, and rural sociology.

Birds-eye view of Prairie View State Normal College, ca. 1900. Image courtesy of Prairie View A&M University, Special Collections/Archives Department, Prairie View, TX

Since Texas gained independence from Mexico in 1836, the Texas Constitution has undergone five revisions. The Constitution of 1876 was the sixth revision of the document and established the foundation for the law still in effect in Texas today. The 1875 constitution, in part a reaction to Reconstruction, shortened terms and lowered salaries of elected officials, decentralized control of public education, limited powers of both the legislature and governor, and provided biennial legislative sessions. The new constitution also created the University of Texas and confirmed the creation of Texas A&M, setting aside one million acres of land for the Permanent University Fund.

Henry O. Flipper was the first African American cadet to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point.


Contents

Texas lies at the juncture of two major cultural spheres of Pre-Columbian North America, the Southwestern and the Plains areas. The area now covered by Texas was occupied by three major indigenous cultures, which had reached their developmental peak before the arrival of European explorers and are known from archaeology. These are: [7]

  • the Pueblo from the upper Rio Grande region, centered west of Texas
  • the Mound Builders of the Mississippi culture which spread throughout the Mississippi Valley and its tributaries the Caddo nation are considered among its descendants
  • the civilizations of Mesoamerica, centered south of Texas. The influence of Teotihuacan in northern Mexico peaked around AD 500 and declined over the 8th to 10th centuries.

The Paleo-Indians who lived in Texas between 9200 – 6000 BC may have links to Clovis and Folsom cultures these nomadic people hunted mammoths and bison latifrons [8] using atlatls. They extracted Alibates flint from quarries in the panhandle region.

Beginning during the 4th millennium BC, the population of Texas increased despite a changing climate and the extinction of giant mammals. Many pictograms from this era, drawn on the walls of caves or on rocks, are visible in the state, including at Hueco Tanks [9] and Seminole Canyon.

Native Americans in East Texas began to settle in villages shortly after 500 BC, farming and building the first burial mounds. They were influenced by the Mississippian culture, which had major sites throughout the Mississippi basin. [8] In the Trans-Pecos area, populations were influenced by Mogollon culture.

From the 8th century, the bow and arrow appeared in the region, [8] manufacture of pottery developed, and Native Americans increasingly depended on bison for survival. Obsidian objects found in various Texan sites attest of trade with cultures in present-day Mexico and the Rocky Mountains, as the material is not found locally.

As of the colonial period, Texas was largely divided between 6 culture groups. The Caddoan peoples occupied the area surrounding the entire length of the Red River, and at the time of initial contact with Europeans they formed four collective confederacies known as the Natchitoches, the Hasinai, the Wichita & the Kadohadocho (Caddo). Along the Gulf Coast region were the Atakapa tribes. [10] Southward from the Atakapa, along the Gulf Coast to the Rio Grande river, at least one Coahuiltecan tribe (a culture group primarily from Northeast Mexico) was located. The Puebloan peoples, [11] situated largely between the Rio Grande & Peco rivers were part of an extensive civilization of tribes that lived in what are now the states of Texas, New Mexico, Colorado & Utah. While the northernmost Puebloan groups faced a cultural collapse due to a drought, many of the southern tribes survive to the present. North of the Pueblos were the Apachean tribes who although commonly referred to as a single nation, were actually a culture group. [12] Finally, north of the Apacheans, in the northern current-day Texas Panhandle region, were the Comanches. [13]

Native Americans determined the fate of European explorers and settlers depending on whether a tribe was kind or warlike. [14] Friendly tribes taught newcomers how to grow indigenous crops, prepare foods, and hunting methods for the wild game. Warlike tribes made life difficult and dangerous for explorers and settlers through their attacks and resistance to European conquest. [15] Many Native Americans died of new infectious diseases, which caused high fatalities and disrupted their cultures in the early years of colonization.

Three federally recognized Native American tribes reside in present-day Texas: the Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas, the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, and the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo of Texas. [ citation needed ] A remnant of the Choctaw tribe in East Texas still lives in the Mt. Tabor Community near Overton, Texas. [ citation needed ]

The first European to see Texas was Alonso Álvarez de Pineda, who led an expedition for the governor of Jamaica, Francisco de Garay, in 1520. While searching for a passage between the Gulf of Mexico and Asia, [16] Álvarez de Pineda created the first map of the northern Gulf Coast. [17] This map is the earliest recorded document of Texas history. [17]

Between 1528 and 1535, four survivors of the Narváez expedition, including Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and Estevanico, spent six and a half years in Texas as slaves and traders among various native groups. Cabeza de Vaca was the first European to explore the interior of Texas.

Although Álvarez de Pineda had claimed the area that is now Texas for Spain, the area was essentially ignored for over 160 years. Its initial settlement by Europeans occurred by accident. In April 1682, French nobleman René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle had claimed the entire Mississippi River Valley for France. [18] The following year, he convinced King Louis XIV to establish a colony near the Mississippi, essentially splitting Spanish Florida from New Spain. [19] [20]

La Salle's colonization expedition left France on July 24, 1684 and soon lost one of its supply ships to Spanish privateers. [21] A combination of inaccurate maps, La Salle's previous miscalculation of the latitude of the mouth of the Mississippi River, and overcorrecting for the Gulf currents led the ships to be unable to find the Mississippi. [22] Instead, they landed at Matagorda Bay in early 1685, 400 miles (644 km) west of the Mississippi. [22] In February, the colonists constructed Fort Saint Louis. [20]

After the fort was constructed, one of the ships returned to France, and the other two were soon destroyed in storms, stranding the settlers. La Salle and his men searched overland for the Mississippi River, traveling as far west as the Rio Grande [20] and as far east as the Trinity River. [23] Disease and hardship laid waste to the colony, and by early January 1687, fewer than 45 people remained. That month, a third expedition launched a final attempt to find the Mississippi. The expedition experienced much infighting, and La Salle was ambushed and killed somewhere in East Texas. [24]

The Spanish learned of the French colony in late 1685. Feeling that the French colony was a threat to Spanish mines and shipping routes, King Carlos II's Council of war recommended the removal of "this thorn which has been thrust into the heart of America. The greater the delay the greater the difficulty of attainment." [20] Having no idea where to find La Salle, the Spanish launched ten expeditions—both land and sea—over the next three years. The last expedition discovered a French deserter living in Southern Texas with the Coahuiltecans. [25]

The Frenchman guided the Spanish to the French fort in late April 1689. [26] The fort and the five crude houses surrounding it were in ruins. [27] Several months before, the Karankawa had become angry that the French had taken their canoes without payment and had attacked the settlement [26] sparing only four children. [24]

Establishment of Spanish colony Edit

News of the destruction of the French fort "created instant optimism and quickened religious fervor" in Mexico City. [28] Spain had learned a great deal about the geography of Texas during the many expeditions in search of Fort Saint Louis. [25] In March 1690, Alonso De León led an expedition to establish a mission in East Texas. [29] Mission San Francisco de los Tejas was completed near the Hasinai village of Nabedaches in late May, and its first mass was celebrated on June 1. [29] [30]

On January 23, 1691, Spain appointed the first governor of Texas, General Domingo Terán de los Ríos. [31] On his visit to Mission San Francisco in August, he discovered that the priests had established a second mission nearby, but were having little luck converting the natives to Christianity. The Indians regularly stole the mission cattle and horses and showed little respect to the priests. [32] When Terán left Texas later that year, most of the missionaries chose to return with him, leaving only three religious people and nine soldiers at the missions. [33] The group also left behind a smallpox epidemic. [30] The angry Caddo threatened the remaining Spaniards, who soon abandoned the fledgling missions and returned to Coahuila. For the next 20 years, Spain again ignored Texas. [34]

After a failed attempt to convince Spanish authorities to reestablish missions in Texas, in 1711 Franciscan missionary Francisco Hidalgo approached the French governor of Louisiana for help. [35] The French governor sent representatives to meet with Hidalgo. This concerned Spanish authorities, who ordered the reoccupation of Texas as a buffer between New Spain and French settlements in Louisiana. [36] In 1716, four missions and a presidio were established in East Texas. Accompanying the soldiers were the first recorded female settlers in Spanish Texas. [37]

The new missions were over 400 miles (644 km) from the nearest Spanish settlement, San Juan Bautista. [38] Martín de Alarcón, who had been appointed governor of Texas in late 1716, wished to establish a way station between the settlements along the Rio Grande and the new missions in East Texas. [39] Alarcón led a group of 72 people, including 10 families, into Texas in April 1718, where they settled along the San Antonio River. Within the next week, the settlers built mission San Antonio de Valero and a presidio, and chartered the municipality of San Antonio de Béxar, now San Antonio, Texas. [40]

The following year, the War of the Quadruple Alliance pitted Spain against France, which immediately moved to take over Spanish interests in North America. [41] In June 1719, seven Frenchmen from Natchitoches took control of the mission San Miguel de los Adaes from its sole defender, who did not know that the countries were at war. The French soldiers explained that 100 additional soldiers were coming, and the Spanish colonists, missionaries, and remaining soldiers fled to San Antonio. [42]

The new governor of Coahuila and Texas, the Marquis de San Miguel de Aguayo, drove the French from Los Adaes without firing a shot. He then ordered the building of a new Spanish fort Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Los Adaes, located near present-day Robeline, Louisiana, only 12 mi (19 km) from Natchitoches. The new fort became the first capital of Texas, and was guarded by six cannons and 100 soldiers. [43] The six East Texas missions were reopened, [44] and an additional mission and presidio were established at Matagorda Bay on the former site of Fort Saint Louis. [45] [46]

Difficulties with the Native Americans Edit

In the late 1720s, the viceroy of New Spain closed the presidio in East Texas and reduced the size of the garrisons at the remaining presidios, [47] leaving only 144 soldiers in the entire province. With no soldiers to protect them, the East Texas missions relocated to San Antonio. [48]

Although the missionaries had been unable to convert the Hasinai tribe of East Texas, they did become friendly with the natives. The Hasinai were bitter enemies of the Lipan Apache, who transferred their enmity to Spain and began raiding San Antonio and other Spanish areas. [49] [50] A temporary peace was finally negotiated with the Apache in 1749, [51] and at the request of the Indians a mission was established along the San Saba River northwest of San Antonio. [52] The Apaches shunned the mission, but the fact that Spaniards now appeared to be friends of the Apache angered the Apache enemies, primarily the Comanche, Tonkawa, and Hasinai tribes, who promptly destroyed the mission. [53]

In 1762, France finally relinquished their claim to Texas by ceding all of Louisiana west of the Mississippi River to Spain as part of the treaty to end the Seven Years' War. [54] Spain saw no need to continue to maintain settlements near French outposts and ordered the closure of Los Adaes, making San Antonio the new provincial capital. [55] The residents of Los Adaes were relocated in 1773. After several attempts to settle in other parts of the province, the residents returned to East Texas without authorization and founded Nacogdoches. [56]

The Comanche agreed to a peace treaty in 1785. [57] The Comanche were willing to fight the enemies of their new friends, and soon attacked the Karankawa. Over the next several years the Comanche killed many of the Karankawa in the area and drove the others into Mexico. [58]

In January 1790, the Comanche also helped the Spanish fight a large battle against the Mescalero and Lipan Apaches at Soledad Creek west of San Antonio. The Apaches were resoundingly defeated and the majority of the raids stopped. [59] By the end of the 18th century only a small number of the remaining hunting and gathering tribes within Texas had not been Christianized. In 1793, mission San Antonio de Valero was secularized, and the following year the four remaining missions at San Antonio were partially secularized. [60]

Encroachment Edit

In 1799, Spain gave Louisiana back to France in exchange for the promise of a throne in central Italy. Although the agreement was signed on October 1, 1800, it did not go into effect until 1802. The following year, Napoleon sold Louisiana to the United States. The original agreement between Spain and France had not explicitly specified the borders of Louisiana, and the descriptions in the documents were ambiguous and contradictory. [61] The United States insisted that its purchase also included most of West Florida and all of Texas. [61]

Thomas Jefferson claimed that Louisiana stretched west to the Rocky Mountains and included the entire watershed of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and their tributaries, and that the southern border was the Rio Grande. Spain maintained that Louisiana extended only as far as Natchitoches, and that it did not include the Illinois Territory. [62] Texas was again considered a buffer province, this time between New Spain and the United States. [63] The disagreement would continue until the signing of the 1819 Adams–Onís Treaty, at which point Spain gave Florida to the United States in return for undisputed control of Texas. [64]

During much of the dispute with the United States, governance of New Spain was in question. In 1808, Napoleon forced the Spanish king to abdicate the throne and appointed Joseph Bonaparte as the new monarch. [65] A shadow government operated out of Cadiz during Joseph's reign. [66] Revolutionaries within Mexico and the United States unsuccessfully combined to declare Texas and Mexico independent. [67]

Spanish troops reacted harshly, looting the province and executing any Tejanos accused of having Republican tendencies. By 1820 fewer than 2,000 Hispanic citizens remained in Texas. [64] The situation did not normalize until 1821, when Agustin de Iturbide launched a drive for Mexican Independence. Texas became a part of the newly independent nation without a shot being fired, ending the period of Spanish Texas. [68]

Spanish legacy Edit

Spanish control of Texas was followed by Mexican control of Texas, and it can be difficult to separate the Spanish and Mexican influences on the future state. The most obvious legacy is that of the language every major river in modern Texas, including the Red River, which was baptized by the Spaniards as Colorado de Texas, has a Spanish or Anglicized name, as do 42 of the state's 254 counties. Numerous towns also bear Spanish names. [69]

An additional obvious legacy is that of Roman Catholicism. At the end of Spain's reign over Texas, virtually all inhabitants practiced the Catholic religion, and it is still practiced in Texas by a large number of people. [70] The Spanish missions built in San Antonio to convert Indians to Catholicism have been restored and are a National Historic Landmark. [71]

The Spanish introduced European livestock, including cattle, horses, and mules, to Texas as early as the 1690s. [72] These herds grazed heavily on the native grasses, allowing mesquite, which was native to the lower Texas coast, to spread inland. Spanish farmers also introduced tilling and irrigation to the land, further changing the landscape. [73]

Texas eventually adopted much of the Anglo-American legal system, but some Spanish legal practices were retained, including homestead exemption, community property, and adoption. [74]

From the 1750s to the 1850s, the Comanche were the dominant group in the Southwest, and the domain they ruled was known as Comancheria. Confronted with Spanish, Mexican, and American outposts on their periphery in New Mexico, Texas, and Coahuila and Nueva Vizcaya in northern Mexico, the Comanche worked to increase their own safety, prosperity and power. [75] The population in 1810–1830 was 7,000 to 8,000. [76]

The Comanche used their military power to obtain supplies and labor from the Americans, Mexicans, and Indians through thievery, looting and killing, tribute, and kidnappings. There was much violence committed by and against Comanche, before and after the European settlement of Texas. Although they made a living partially through raiding and violence, along with hunting/gathering, especially buffalo hunting, the Comanche empire also supported a commercial network with long-distance trade. Dealing with subordinate Indians, the Comanche spread their language and culture across the region. In terms of governance, the Comanche were nearly independent but allied bands with a loosely hierarchical social organization within bands. [77]

Their empire collapsed when their camps and villages were repeatedly decimated by epidemics of smallpox and cholera in the late 1840s, and in bloody conflict with settlers, the Texas Rangers, and the U.S. Army. The population plunged from 20,000 to just a few thousand by the 1870s. The Comanche were no longer able to deal with the U.S. Army, which took over control of the region after the Mexican–American War ended in 1848. [75] The long-term imprint of the Comanche on the Indian and Hispanic culture has been demonstrated by scholars such as Daniel J. Gelo [78] and Curtis Marez. [79]

In 1821, the Mexican War for Independence severed the control that Spain had exercised on its North American territories, and the new country of Mexico was formed from much of the lands that had comprised New Spain, including Spanish Texas. [80] The 1824 Constitution of Mexico joined Texas with Coahuila to form the state of Coahuila y Tejas. [81] The Congress did allow Texas the option of forming its own state "as soon as it feels capable of doing so." [82]

The same year, Mexico enacted the General Colonization Law, which enabled all heads of household, regardless of race or immigrant status, to claim land in Mexico. [83] Mexico had neither manpower nor funds to protect settlers from near-constant Comanche raids and it hoped that getting more settlers into the area could control the raids. The government liberalized its immigration policies, allowing for settlers from the United States to immigrate to Texas. [84]

The German settlement in Mexico goes back to the times they settled Texas when it was under Spanish rule, but the first permanent settlement of Germans was at Industry, in Austin County, established by Friedrich Ernst and Charles Fordtran in the early 1830s, then under Mexican rule. Ernst wrote a letter to a friend in his native Oldenburg, which was published in the newspaper there. His description of Texas was so influential in attracting German immigrants to that area that he is remembered as "the Father of German Immigration to Texas." Many Germans, especially Roman Catholics who sided with Mexico, left Texas for the rest of present-day Mexico after the U.S. defeated Mexico in the Mexican–American War in 1848. A few Mexican Irish communities existed in Mexican Texas until the Texas Revolution. Many Irish then sided with Catholic Mexico against Protestant pro-U.S. elements. [85]

The first empresarial grant had been made under Spanish control to Moses Austin. The grant was passed to his son Stephen F. Austin, whose settlers, known as the Old Three Hundred, settled along the Brazos River in 1822. [86] The grant was later ratified by the Mexican government. [87] Twenty-three other empresarios brought settlers to the state, the majority from the United States of America. [88]

Starting in 1821, and in spite of growing Mexican limitations on slavery, U.S. immigrants brought an increasing number of slaves into Texas. By 1825, 69 slave owners owned 443 slaves. [89] Mexico granted Texas a one-year exemption from the national edict of 1829 outlawing slavery, but Mexican president Anastasio Bustamante ordered that all slaves be freed in 1830. [90] [91] To circumvent the law, the colonists converted their slaves into indentured servants "for life." [92] By 1836 there were 5,000 enslaved African Americans in Texas. [93]

Bustamante outlawed the immigration of United States citizens to Texas in 1830. [91] Several new presidios were established in the region to monitor immigration and customs practices. [94] The new laws also called for the enforcement of customs duties, angering both native Mexican citizens (Tejanos) and Anglos. [95] In 1832, a group of men led a revolt against customs enforcement in Anahuac. These Anahuac Disturbances coincided with a revolt in Mexico against the current president. [96] Texans sided with the federalists against the current government and after the Battle of Nacogdoches, drove all Mexican soldiers out of East Texas. [97]

Texans took advantage of the lack of oversight to agitate for more political freedom, resulting in the Convention of 1832. Among other issues, the convention demanded that U.S. citizens be allowed to immigrate into Texas, and requested independent statehood for the area. [98] [99] The following year, Texians reiterated their demands at the Convention of 1833. After presenting their petition, courier Stephen F. Austin was jailed for the next two years in Mexico City on suspicion of treason. [100] Although Mexico implemented several measures to appease the colonists, [101] President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna's measures to transform Mexico from a federalist to a centralist state provided an excuse for the Texan colonists to revolt. [102]

Texas Revolution Edit

The vague unrest erupted into armed conflict on October 2, 1835 at the Battle of Gonzales, when Texans repelled a Mexican attempt to retake a small cannon. [103] [104] This launched the Texas Revolution, and over the next three months, the Texian Army successfully defeated all Mexican troops in the region. [105]

On March 2, 1836, Texans signed the Texas Declaration of Independence at Washington-on-the-Brazos, effectively creating the Republic of Texas. The revolt was justified as necessary to protect basic rights and because Mexico had annulled the federal pact. The majority of the colonists were from the United States they said that Mexico had invited them to move to the country, but they were determined "to enjoy" the republican institutions to which they were accustomed in their native land. [106]

Many of the Texas settlers believed the war to be over and left the army after the initial string of victories. [107] The remaining troops were largely recently arrived adventurers from the United States according to historian Alwyn Barr, the numerous American volunteers "contributed to the Mexican view that Texan opposition stemmed from outside influences." [108] The Mexican congress responded to this perceived threat by authorizing the execution of any foreigner found fighting in Texas they did not want prisoners of war. [109]

As early as October 27, Mexican president Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna had been preparing to quell the unrest in Texas. [110] In early 1836, Santa Anna personally led a 6,000-man force toward Texas. His force was large but ill-trained. [111] Santa Anna led the bulk of the troops to San Antonio de Bexar to besiege the Alamo Mission, while General Jose de Urrea led the remaining troops up the coast of Texas. [112] Urrea's forces soon defeated all the Texian resistance along the coast, culminating in the Goliad Massacre, where they executed 300 Texian prisoners of war. [113] After a thirteen-day siege, Santa Anna's forces overwhelmed the nearly 200 Texians defending the Alamo, and killed the prisoners. "Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!" became a battle cry of the Texas Revolution. [114]

News of the defeats sparked the Runaway Scrape, where much of the population of Texas and the Texas provisional government fled east, away from the approaching Mexican army. [115] Many settlers rejoined the Texian army, then commanded by General Sam Houston. After several weeks of maneuvering, on April 21, 1836, the Texian Army attacked Santa Anna's forces near the present-day city of Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto. [116] They captured Santa Anna and forced him to sign the Treaties of Velasco, ending the war. [5] [117] [118]

The 1st Congress of the Republic of Texas convened in October 1836 at Columbia (now West Columbia). It overturned the Mexican prohibition of slavery and outlawed the emancipation of slaves, although slaveholders were allowed to free their slaves outside the Republic if they desired. Free Blacks were specifically forbidden to live in the Republic. Stephen F. Austin, known as the Father of Texas, died December 27, 1836, after serving two months as Secretary of State for the new Republic. In 1836, five sites served as temporary capitals of Texas (Washington-on-the-Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston, Velasco and Columbia) before President Sam Houston moved the capital to Houston in 1837. In 1839, the capital was moved to the new town of Austin by the next president, Mirabeau B. Lamar.

Internal politics of the Republic were based on the conflict between two factions. The nationalist faction, led by Mirabeau B. Lamar, advocated the continued independence of Texas, the expulsion of the Native Americans, and the expansion of Texas to the Pacific Ocean. Their opponents, led by Sam Houston, advocated the annexation of Texas to the United States and peaceful co-existence with Native Americans.

Although Texas governed itself, Mexico refused to recognize its independence. [119] On March 5, 1842, a Mexican force of over 500 men, led by Ráfael Vásquez, invaded Texas for the first time since the revolution. They soon headed back to the Rio Grande after briefly occupying San Antonio. 1,400 Mexican troops, led by the French mercenary general Adrian Woll launched a second attack and captured San Antonio on September 11, 1842. A Texas militia retaliated at the Battle of Salado Creek. However, on September 18, this militia was defeated by Mexican soldiers and Texas Cherokee Indians during the Dawson Massacre. [120] The Mexican army would later retreat from the city of San Antonio.

Mexico's attacks on Texas intensified the conflict between the political factions in an incident known as the Texas Archive War in 1842. To "protect" the Texas national archives, President Sam Houston ordered them out of Austin. Austin residents, suspicious of the president's motives because of his avowed disdain of the capital, forced the archives back to Austin at gunpoint. The Texas Congress admonished Houston for the incident, and the incident would solidify Austin as Texas's seat of government for the Republic and the future state. [121]

On February 28, 1845, the U.S. Congress narrowly passed a bill that authorized the United States to annex the Republic of Texas if it so voted. The legislation set the date for annexation for December 29 of the same year. On October 13 of the same year, a majority of voters in Texas approved a proposed constitution that specifically endorsed slavery and the slave trade. This constitution was later accepted by the U.S. Congress, making Texas a U.S. state on the same day annexation took effect (therefore bypassing a territorial phase).

The Mexican government had long warned that annexation would mean war with the United States. When Texas joined the U.S., the Mexican government broke diplomatic relations with the United States. The United States now assumed the claims of Texas when it claimed all land north of the Rio Grande. In June 1845, President James K. Polk sent General Zachary Taylor to Texas, and by October, 3,500 Americans were on the Nueces River, prepared to defend Texas from a Mexican invasion. On November 10, 1845, [122] Polk ordered General Taylor and his forces south to the Rio Grande, into disputed territory that Mexicans claimed as their own. Mexico claimed the Nueces River—about 150 miles (240 km) north of the Rio Grande—as its border with Texas.

On April 25, 1846, a 2,000-strong Mexican cavalry detachment attacked a 70-man U.S. patrol that had been sent into the contested territory north of the Rio Grande and south of the Nueces River. The Mexican cavalry routed the patrol, killing 16 U.S. soldiers in what later became known as the Thornton Affair. Both nations declared war. In the ensuing Mexican–American War, there were no more battles fought in Texas, but it became a major staging point for the American invasion of northern Mexico.

One of the primary motivations for annexation was the Texas government's huge debts. The United States agreed to assume many of these upon annexation. However, the former Republic never fully paid off its debt until the Compromise of 1850. In return for $10 million, a large portion of Texas-claimed territory, now parts of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Wyoming, was ceded to the Federal government.

Migration Edit

Intensified migration to Texas after statehood raised the population to about 150,000. Societies such as the Texas Emigration and Land Company now pledged to settle colonists who would agree to constitute a militia for defense against the Indians in return they would receive a grant of 320 acres of choice land. Most of the newcomers continued to migrate from the states of the lower South slavery was granted legal protection by the Texas constitution of 1845. The Texas population by 1860 was quite diverse, with large elements of European whites (from the American South), African Americans (mostly slaves brought from the east), Tejanos (Hispanics with Spanish heritage), and about 20,000 recent German immigrants. [123]

The new state grew rapidly as migrants poured into the fertile cotton lands of east Texas. [124] With their investments in cotton lands and slaves, Texas planters established cotton plantations in the eastern districts. The central area of the state was developed more by subsistence farmers who seldom owned slaves. [125]

Texas in its Wild West days attracted men who could shoot straight and possessed the zest for adventure, "for masculine renown, patriotic service, martial glory and meaningful deaths." [126]

German immigration Edit

The Germans were the largest group immigrating directly from Europe. [127] According to the Handbook of Texas :

The Germans who settled Texas were diverse in many ways. They included peasant farmers and intellectuals Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and atheists Prussians, Saxons, Hessians, and Alsatians abolitionists and slaveholders farmers and townsfolk frugal, honest folk and ax murderers. They differed in dialect, customs, and physical features. A majority had been farmers in Germany, and most arrived seeking economic opportunities. A few dissident intellectuals fleeing the 1848 revolutions in Germany sought political freedom, but few, save perhaps the Wends, went for religious freedom. The German settlements in Texas reflected their diversity. Even in the confined area of the Hill Country, each valley offered a different kind of German. The Llano valley had stern, teetotaling German Methodists, who renounced dancing and fraternal organizations the Pedernales valley had fun-loving, hardworking Lutherans and Catholics who enjoyed drinking and dancing and the Guadalupe valley had atheist Germans descended from intellectual political refugees. The scattered German ethnic islands were also diverse. These small enclaves included Lindsay in Cooke County, largely Westphalian Catholic Waka in Ochiltree County, Midwestern Mennonite Hurnville in Clay County, Russian German Baptist and Lockett in Wilbarger County, Wendish Lutheran. [128]

Czech immigration Edit

The first Czech immigrants started their journey to Texas on August 19, 1851, headed by Jozef Šilar. Attracted to the rich farmland of Central Texas, Czechs settled in the counties of Austin, Fayette, Lavaca, and Washington. The Czech-American communities are characterized by a strong sense of community, and social clubs were a dominant aspect of Czech-American life in Texas. By 1865, the Czech population numbered 700 by 1940 there were more than 60,000 Czech-Americans in Texas. [129]

In the summer of 1860, a slave panic erupted in North and East Texas amid rumors of arson by slaves and abolitionists. Called the "Texas Troubles", between 30 and 100 blacks and whites were lynched by vigilantes. The events were used to arouse support for secession. [130]

As an essential part of the southern cotton industry, farmers depended on slave labor to do the massive amount of field work. In 1860, 30% of the total state population of 604,215 were enslaved. [131] In the statewide election on the secession ordinance, Texans voted to secede from the Union by a vote of 46,129 to 14,697 (a 76% majority). The Secession Convention immediately organized a government, replacing Sam Houston when he refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy.

Texas declared its secession from the United States on February 1, 1861, and joined the Confederate States of America on March 2, 1861. With few battles in its territory, Texas was mainly a "supply state" for the Confederate forces until mid-1863, when the Union capture of the Mississippi River made large movements of men, horses or cattle impossible. Texas regiments fought in every major battle throughout the war. The last battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Palmito Ranch, was fought in Texas on May 12, 1865. The 2nd Texas Cavalry Battalion (U.S.) (one of only two from the state) took part.

Unionism Edit

Support for the Confederacy was perhaps weakest in Texas Elliott estimates that only a third of the white men in early 1861 supported the Confederacy. Many unionists supported the Confederacy after the war began, but many others clung to their unionism throughout the war, especially in the northern counties, the German districts, and the Mexican areas. Local officials harassed unionists and engaged in large-scale massacres against unionists and Germans. In Cooke County, 150 suspected unionists were arrested 25 were lynched without trial and 40 more were hanged after a summary trial. Draft resistance was widespread, especially among Texans of German or Mexican descent many of the latter went to Mexico. Potential draftees went into hiding, Confederate officials hunted them down, and many were shot. [132] On August 1, 1862 Confederate troops executed 34 pro-Union German Texans in the "Nueces Massacre" of civilians.

Historiography Edit

During the 20th century, national historiographical trends influenced the scholarship on the Civil War in Texas. Beginning in the 1950s, historians focused on military campaigns in Texas and other areas of the Southwest, a region previously neglected. Since the 1970s, scholars have shifted their attention to South Texas, exploring how its relations with Mexico and Mexican Americans affected both Confederate and Union Civil War military operations. Also since the 1970s, the "New Social History" has stimulated research in war-related social, economic, and political changes. This historiographical trend is related to a growing interest in local and regional history. [133]

Reconstruction Edit

When news of the Emancipation Proclamation arrived in Galveston on June 19, 1865, freed slaves rejoiced, creating the celebration of Juneteenth. The State had suffered little during the war, but trade and finance had been disrupted. Angry returning veterans seized state property, and Texas went through a period of extensive violence and disorder. Most outrages took place in northern Texas outlaws based in the Indian Territory plundered and murdered without distinction of party. [134]

President Andrew Johnson appointed Union General A. J. Hamilton as provisional governor on June 17, 1865. Hamilton had been a prominent politician before the war. He granted amnesty to ex-Confederates if they promised to support the Union in the future, appointing some to office. On March 30, 1870, although Texas did not meet all the requirements, Congress restored Texas to the Union.

Many free blacks were able to become businessmen and leaders. Through the young Republican Party, blacks rapidly gained political power. Indeed, blacks comprised 90% of the Texas Republican Party during the 1880s. [135] Norris Wright Cuney, an African American from Galveston, rose to the chairmanship of the Texas Republican Party and even the national committeeman. [136]

Democrats regain control after Reconstruction Edit

Like other Southern states, by the late 1870s white Democrats regained control of the state legislature. They passed a new constitution in 1876 that segregated schools and established a poll tax to support them, but it was not originally required for voting. [137]

Within the Republican Party the Lily-white movement emerged, a movement to wrest control of the party by whites and eliminate black influence altogether. The movement had its origins in Texas but spread across the nation. This in addition to wider efforts to restrict the influence of non-whites rapidly reversed the fortunes of the black population. [138]

Racial violence continued by whites against blacks as they enforced white supremacy. Despite this, freedmen pursued education, organized new churches and fraternal organizations, and entered politics, winning local offices. By the 1890s, more than 100,000 blacks were voting in state elections. [139] In 1896 and 1898, Republican Robert B. Hawley was elected to Congress from the state by a plurality, when most white voters split between the Democratic and Populist parties. Democrats were determined to end competition by Republicans and Populists, and reviewed what other Southern states were doing to disenfranchise blacks and poor whites. Mississippi's new constitution of 1890 had survived a Supreme Court case, although in practice it was highly discriminatory against freedmen.

Land use politics Edit

Much of Texas politics of the remainder of the 19th century centered on land use. Guided by the federal Morill Act, Texas sold public lands to gain funds to invest in higher education. In 1876, the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas opened, and seven years later the University of Texas at Austin began conducting classes. [140]

New land use policies drafted during the administration of Governor John Ireland enabled individuals to accumulate land, leading to the formation of large cattle ranches. Many ranchers ran barbed wire around public lands, to protect their access to water and free grazing. This caused several range wars. [141] Governor Lawrence Sullivan Ross guided the Texas Legislature to reform the land use policies. [142]

The coming of the railroads in the 1880s ended the famous cattle drives and allowed ranchers to market their cattle after a short drive, and farmers move their cotton to market cheaply. They made Dallas and other cities the centers of commercial activity. [143] Ft. Worth became the gateway to the west, via the Fort Worth and Denver Railway. [144] However the passenger trains were often the targets of armed gangs. [145]

Governor Lawrence Sullivan Ross had to personally intervene to resolve the Jaybird-Woodpecker War (1888-1889) among factions of Democrats in Fort Bend County at bottom, it was a racial conflict. The majority population was black by a large margin, and had been electing county officers for 20 years. But, the white elite Democrats wanted their own people in power. Conflict became violent and the Jaybirds ordered several blacks out of town. Tensions increased and a total of seven people were killed. In the fall of 1889, the Democratic Party created "white-only pre-primary elections," which in practice were the only competitive contests in the county, and thus disenfranchised the blacks. This situation lasted until the US Supreme Court ruling in Terry v. Adams (1953) declared it unconstitutional [146] in the last of the white primary cases. [147]

Under Jim Hogg, the state turned its attention toward corporations violating the state monopoly laws. In 1894, Texas filed a lawsuit against John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company and its Texas subsidiary, the Waters-Pierce Oil Company of Missouri. Hogg and his attorney-general argued that the companies were engaged in rebates, price fixing, consolidation, and other tactics prohibited by the state's 1889 antitrust act. The investigation resulted in a number of indictments, including one for Rockefeller. Hogg requested that Rockefeller be extradited from New York, but the New York governor refused, as Rockefeller had not fled from Texas. Rockefeller was never tried, but other employees of the company were found guilty. [148]

Galveston, the fourth-largest city in Texas and then the major port, was destroyed by a hurricane with 100 mph (160 km/h) winds on September 8, 1900. The storm created a 20 ft (6.1 m) storm surge when it hit the island, 6–9 ft (1.8–2.7 m) higher than any previously recorded flood. Water covered the entire island, killing between 6,000 and 8,000 people, destroying 3,500 homes as well as the railroad causeway and wagon bridge that connected the island to the mainland. [149] To help rebuild their city, citizens implemented a reformed government featuring a five-man city commission. Galveston was the first city to implement a city commission government, and its plan was adopted by 500 other small cities across the United States. [150]

In the aftermath of the Galveston disaster, action proceeded on building the Houston Ship Channel to create a more protected inland port. Houston quickly grew once the Channel was completed, and rapidly became the primary port in Texas. Railroads were constructed in a radial pattern to link Houston with other major cities such as Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin.

By 1900, the Dallas population reached 38,000 as banking and insurance became major activities in the increasingly white-collar city, which was now the world's leading cotton center. It was also the world's center of harness making and leather goods. Businessmen took control of civic affairs with little municipal patronage, there was only a small role for the Democratic Party to play. The predominantly black Republican Party was essentially closed out of politics by the disenfranchisement in 1901 of most blacks through imposition of a poll tax (see below).

Disenfranchisement Edit

Determined to control politics in the state, reduce competition from Republicans and Populists, and close blacks out of politics, in 1901 the Democrat-dominated state legislature passed a poll tax as a requirement for voting. Given the economic difficulties of the times, the poll tax caused participation by African Americans, poor whites, and Mexican Americans to drop sharply, effectively disenfranchising more than one-third of the population of the state. [151] [152]

By the early 20th century, the Democratic Party in Texas started using a "white primary." Restricting the Democratic primary to white voters was another way of closing minorities out of politics, as the primary was the only competitive contest for office in the one-party state. By 1906, the number of black voters had dropped from more than 100,000 in the 1890s to 5,000. The state also passed a law for white primaries. [139] In 1896, 86.6% of all voters in Texas voted in the presidential election following disenfranchisement, voter turnout in 1904 was 29.2% and in 1920 was 21.6%. [153]

When the Supreme Court ruled in 1923 that white primaries established by political parties were unconstitutional, in 1927 the Texas state legislature passed a bill that authorized political parties to establish their internal practices. The Democratic Party reinstated the white primary. That law survived until 1944 before another Supreme Court case ruled that it was unconstitutional. After 1944, the NAACP and other organizations worked to register black voters and participation increased. But the major disenfranchisement continued until passage in the mid-1960s of civil rights legislation, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to provide for federal oversight in areas in which historically minorities did not vote in expected numbers based on population. [152]

Dallas growth Edit

Texans in 1909 marked an icon of progress with the construction of the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi. [154] The 190-foot steel-frame skyscraper was the 14-story Praetorian Building, housing the Praetorian Insurance Company. Dallas became the regional headquarters of the Federal Reserve in 1914, strengthening its dominance of Texas banking. The city had reached 260,000 population by 1929 when the effects of the Stock Market Crash hit Texas, causing a sharp drop in the prices of oil, cotton and cattle growth came to a standstill.

Oil Edit

On the morning of January 10, 1901, Anthony F. Lucas, an experienced mining engineer, drilled the first major oil well at Spindletop, a small hill south of Beaumont, Texas. The East Texas Oil Field, discovered on October 5, 1930, is located in east central part of the state, and is the largest and most prolific oil reservoir in the contiguous United States. Other oil fields were later discovered in West Texas and under the Gulf of Mexico. The resulting Texas Oil Boom permanently transformed the economy of Texas, and led to its most significant economic expansion after the Civil War.

Great Depression Edit

The economy, which had experienced significant recovery since the Civil War, was dealt a double blow by the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. After the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the economy suffered significant reversals. Thousands of city workers became unemployed, many of whom depended on federal relief programs such as FERA, WPA and CCC. Thousands of unemployed Mexican citizens received one-way bus tickets to their home villages in Mexico. [155]

Farmers and ranchers were especially hard hit, as prices for cotton and livestock fell sharply. Beginning in 1934 and lasting until 1939, the Dust Bowl, an ecological disaster of severe wind and drought, caused an exodus from Texas and the surrounding plains, in which over 500,000 Americans were homeless, hungry and jobless. [156] Thousands left the region forever to seek economic opportunities in California. For the majority of farmers who remained, the New Deal's Agricultural Adjustment Act was a crash program started in 1933 that in two weeks signed up cotton growers, even as agents and committeemen faced poor roads, bureaucratic delays, inadequate supplies, balking mules, and language barriers. It brought recovery by the mid-1930s, raising cotton prices by controls on how much farmers could plant. [157]

World War II Edit

World War II had a dramatic effect on Texas, as federal money poured in to build military bases, munitions factories, POW detention camps and Army hospitals 750,000 young men left for service the cities exploded with new industry the colleges took on new roles and hundreds of thousands of poor farmers left for much better-paying war jobs, never to return to agriculture. [158] [159] Texas needed more farm workers. The Bracero Program brought in 117,000 Mexicans to work temporarily. [160]

Existing military bases in Texas were expanded and numerous new training bases were built: Texas World War II Army Airfields Brooke Army Medical Center, Camp Mabry, Corpus Christi Army Depot, Fort Bliss, Fort Hood, Fort Sam Houston, Ingleside Army Depot, Red River Army Depot, especially for aviation training. The good flying weather made the state a favorite location for Air Force training bases. In the largest aviation training program in the world, 200,000 graduated from programs at 40 Texas airfields, including 45,000 pilots, 12,000 bombardiers, 12,000 navigators, and thousands of aerial gunners, photographers, and mechanics. [161] Fred Allison in a study of Majors Field, the Army Air Forces Basic Flying School, at Greenville during 1942–45, shows that the base—like most military bases in rural Texas—invigorated the local economy, but also changed the cultural climate of the conservative Christian town, especially around unprecedented freedom regarding alcohol, dating and dancing, and race relations. [162]

The Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant and the Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant were built as part of the WWII buildup. Hundreds of thousands of American (and some allied) soldiers, sailors and airmen trained in the state. All sectors of the economy boomed as the homefront prospered.

During WWII, Texas became home to as many as 78,982 enemy prisoners, mainly Germans it held 15% of the total POWs in the United States. There were fourteen prisoner-of-war camps in the state. The men in the camps were put to work to supplement the local farm labor lost to the war. [163] [164] Though contemporary War Department officials claimed that government attempts at denazification of the prisoners were highly successful, Nazi influence upon prisons in individual camps was common for the duration of the POW program. [165] Walker examined Nazi activities in Texas POW camps during 1943–45 and found that the military authorities had failed to eradicate the influence of Nazi leaders. [165]

Previously a largely rural area, East Texas became more urban as workers were recruited for the oil, shipbuilding, and aircraft industries. East Texans made many contributions to the war effort, both at home and in the armed forces. High schools had patriotic programs as well, but so many teachers and older students left for the military or for defense jobs that budgets were cut, programs dropped, and the curriculum had to be scaled down. Hospitals reported a shortage of supplies and medical personnel, as many doctors and most of the younger nurses joined the services. [166]

Harmon General Hospital, one of the Army's largest, opened in Longview in November 1942 with 157 hospital buildings and a capacity of 2,939 beds. The facility was designed for the treatment of soldiers with central nervous system syphilis, psychiatric disorders, tropical illnesses, and dermatological diseases. At the end of the war, the facility was adapted for use as the campus of LeTourneau University. [167]

Baylor University, like most schools, was successful in the multiple missions of aiding national defense, recruiting soldiers, and keeping the institution operational while the war continued. [168] Texas Tech University likewise had many roles in the war the most famous was the War Training Service Pre-Flight program during 1943–44. It prepared Air Force pilots for full-fledged military aviation training. The efforts of Clent Breedove and M. F. Dagley, private contractors for the Civilian Pilot Training Program at the university site since 1939, with Harold Humphries as chief pilot, brought an economic boost to Lubbock. 3,750 cadets received classroom instruction and flying time. [169] From February 1943 to January 1944, more than 2,000 women completed training at the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps Branch Number One, Army Administration School, at Stephen F. Austin State Teacher's College in Nacogdoches.

Nowhere were the wartime effects greater than in Houston, which in 1940 was a city of 400,000 population dependent on shipping and oil. The war dramatically expanded the city's economic base, thanks to massive federal spending. Energetic entrepreneurs, most notably George Brown, James Elkins and James Abercrombie, landed hundreds of millions of dollars in federal wartime investment in technologically complex facilities. Houston oil companies moved from being refiners and became sophisticated producers of petrochemicals. Especially important were synthetic rubber and high octane fuel, which retained their importance after the war. The war moved the natural gas industry from a minor factor to a major energy source Houston became a major hub when a local firm purchased the federally-financed Inch pipelines. Other major growth industries included steel, munitions, and shipbuilding.

Tens of thousands of new migrants streamed in from rural areas, straining the city's housing supply and the city's ability to provide local transit and schools. For the first time, high-paying jobs went to large numbers of women, blacks and Hispanics. The city's African-American community, emboldened by their newfound prosperity, increased its agitation for civil rights they backed and funded the legal case of Smith v. Allwright (1944), in which the Supreme Court ruled against the latest version of the white primary in support of voting rights. [170]

Throughout East Texas, black family growth and dissolution came more rapidly than in peacetime blacks were more mobile as an adjustment to employment opportunities. There was a more rapid shift to factory labor, higher economic returns, and a willingness of whites to tolerate the change in black economic status so long as the traditional "Jim Crow" social relations were maintained. [171]

1950s Texas drought Edit

Beginning in 1949, Texas was hit with a devastating drought that extended until 1957. Rainfall decreased 30 to 50 percent, while temperatures rose, killing crops, livestock, and triggering a rise of dust storms. As a result, the number of Texas farms and ranches declined by nearly 100,000, and Texas experienced a period of mass urbanization as the rural population moved to the city to rebuild their livelihoods. The state's rural population declined from more than a third of the population to a quarter. [172] As a result, the Texas Water Development Board was created in 1957, and the state began a period of building a diverse system of water conservation plans. This included increasing access to groundwater, and creating lakes by damming rivers. [173]

JFK assassination Edit

On Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, at 12:30 pm Central Standard Time (18:30 UTC), Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed President John F. Kennedy. The Texas Governor, John B. Connally, was also shot but survived. The episode caused a national outrage focused on right wing elements in Dallas that had long been hostile to Kennedy. [174] For a half-century and more the people of Dallas still struggle with being branded as having some responsibility. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, located where the assassin is believed to have fired the shots, has become a historic tourist site. [175]

Higher education Edit

During World War II the main universities like University of Texas and Texas A&M University gained a new national role. The wartime financing of university research, curricular change, campus trainee programs, and postwar veteran enrollments changed the tenor and allowed Texas schools to gain national stature. [176]

From 1950 through the 1960s, Texas modernized and dramatically expanded its system of higher education. Under the leadership of Governor Connally, the state produced a long-range plan for higher education, a more rational distribution of resources, and a central state apparatus that managed state institutions with greater efficiency. Because of these changes, Texas universities received federal funds for research and development during the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson administrations. [177]

Economic and demographic change Edit

Beginning around the mid-20th century, Texas began to transform from a rural and agricultural state to one that was urban and industrialized. [178] The state's population grew quickly during this period, with large levels of migration from outside the state. [178] As a part of the Sun Belt Texas experienced strong economic growth, particularly during the 1970s and early 1980s. [178] Texas's economy diversified, lessening its reliance on the petroleum industry. [178] By 1990, Hispanics overtook blacks to become the largest minority group in the state. [178]

Shift to the Republican Party Edit

Prior to the mid-20th century Texas was essentially a one-party state, and the Democratic primary was viewed as "the real election". The Democratic Party had conservative and liberal factions, which became more pronounced after the New Deal. [179] Additionally, several factions of the party briefly split during the 1930s and 40s. [179]

The state's conservative white voters began to support Republican presidential candidates by the mid-20th century. After this period, they supported Republicans for local and state offices as well, and most whites became Republican Party members. [180] The party also attracted some minorities, but many have continued to vote for Democratic candidates. The shift to the Republican Party is much-attributed to the fact that the Democratic Party became increasingly liberal during the 20th century, and thus increasingly out-of-touch with the average Texas voter. [181] As Texas was always a conservative state, voters switched to the GOP, which now more closely reflected their beliefs. [181] [182] Commentators have also attributed the shift to Republican political consultant Karl Rove, who managed numerous political campaigns in Texas in the 1980s and 90s. [182] Other stated reasons included court-ordered redistricting and the demographic shift in relation to the Sun Belt that favored the Republican Party and conservatism. [178]

The 2003 Texas redistricting of Congressional districts led by Republican Tom DeLay, was called by the New York Times "an extreme case of partisan gerrymandering". [183] A group of Democratic legislators, the "Texas Eleven", fled the state in a quorum-busting effort to prevent the legislature from acting, but was unsuccessful. [184] The state had already redistricted following the 2000 census. Despite these efforts, the legislature passed a map heavily in favor of Republicans, based on 2000 data and ignoring the estimated nearly one million new residents in the state since that date. Career attorneys and analysts at the Department of Justice objected to the plan as diluting the votes of African American and Hispanic voters, but political appointees overrode them and approved it. [183] Legal challenges to the redistricting reached the national Supreme Court in the case League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry (2006), but the court ruled in favor of the state (and Republicans). [185]

In the 2014 Texas elections, the Tea Party movement made large gains, with numerous Tea Party favorites being elected into office, including Dan Patrick as lieutenant governor, [186] [187] Ken Paxton as attorney general, [186] [188] in addition to numerous other candidates [188] including conservative Republican Greg Abbott as governor. [189]


Howe Truss Bridge

A howe truss bridge design includes vertical members and diagonals that slope up towards the center. Its diagonals are under compression under balanced loading. It was invented in 1840 by Massachusetts millwright William Howe. Howe truss design proved to be instrumental not only in the development of several notable bridges at the end of an era of fully wooden bridges but also as an inspiration for the creation of other popular designs.


Latest in the series: Homeless in Texas

The same data also shows a slight increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness in Texas in the past three years. According to HUD’s 2019 Point in Time Count, there are an estimated 25,848 homeless people in the state, compared with 23,122 in 2016.

According to an analysis of the HUD data by The Texas Tribune, more men than women in Texas and nationwide experience homelessness. Black Texans disproportionately experience homelessness, compared with Hispanic and white residents.

What causes homelessness?

Advocates say the main cause of homelessness is a lack of affordable housing in Texas, which is especially pronounced in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, the urban areas driving Texas' population growth. But low-income families are also struggling in smaller cities.

“That’s an issue across the state and across the nation,” said Brenda Mascorro, executive director of the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless, which coordinates efforts in Bexar County. “The deficiency right now is that we just don’t have enough affordable housing for individuals that are becoming homeless.”

But experts also say homelessness is often the byproduct of failures of societal institutions, such as the criminal justice system and health care providers.

“We need to look at how other systems may be increasing homelessness,” said Carl Falconer, president and CEO of the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance. “If you arrest people for quality-of-life crimes, there’s a good likelihood that they are going to become homeless or stay homeless for longer.”

An unexpected health emergency can create financial problems and lead to homelessness, but living without shelter can exacerbate existing medical conditions and addictions.

“Access to mental health services, substance treatment services and quality, affordable healthcare for people experiencing homelessness is really difficult," said Matthew Mollica, executive director of Austin's Ending Community Homelessness Coalition.

What’s happening in Austin?

In Austin, the City Council rolled back ordinances in June prohibiting camping, sitting and lying in public spaces. Since then, Abbott and Adler have publicly clashed about public resources dedicated to addressing homelessness. In two letters sent to Adler in October, Abbott expressed his concerns about unsanitary conditions on Austin’s streets and urged city officials to reinstate the camping ban by Nov. 1, or the state would intervene.

“Reinstating the camping ban is not a total solution, but it is an essential part of demonstrating consequential improvement in the Austin homelessness crisis and the danger it poses to public health and safety,” Abbott said in the second letter.

On Oct. 17, the council approved an ordinance that reinstated a camping ban on city sidewalks, near homeless shelters and in high wildfire risk areas. Less than two weeks later, Abbott announced that the Texas Department of Transportation would be forcing people experiencing homelessness in Austin out of encampments under state overpasses so the city could clean the areas. In many instances, homeless residents returned after state crews were done. Abbott also had a 5-acre plot of state-owned land turned into a homeless encampment.

What do people who are homeless think?

Many homeless Austin residents said Abbott’s approaches were doing less to help them and more to push them out of public view.

Harvest, who lives in a tent under a State Highway 71 overpass, said people still treat her differently and act afraid of her even though many Texans could be one paycheck away from being homeless themselves.

Harvest asked that the Tribune not use her full name because she fears being targeted by other homeless residents. She said that people wrongly assume all people experiencing homelessness are thieves or addicted to drugs. She said what most homeless Texans actually have in common is that they’ve experienced some type of trauma that’s been difficult to process.

“We weren't able to make sense of it, and we felt like we had to pull ourselves out of the mainstream,” Harvest said.

Gilbert Jones lives in a tent under an overpass with his pregnant wife and said he is regularly surrounded by needles and pipes on the ground. He said he’s looking to find work and permanent housing for his family but is having difficulty navigating the bureaucracy of organizations and institutions trying to help homeless residents.

“Every time we send a letter or go to our appointments, [they say] ‘Oh, wait till next month. Wait till this. Wait till that.’ But you’re not telling us nothing,” Jones said.

What’s happening in other urban areas?

While the San Antonio and Austin regions have seen increases in the homeless population since 2011, HUD numbers show the Houston area has seen a 54% decrease in its homeless population during the same time period. The Houston metropolitan area is the region with the most people in the state, but the larger homeless population is in the Dallas region, and the highest share of unsheltered homeless residents in the state is in the Austin area.

The Houston area saw nearly three times as many new people ask for homeless-related services last year compared with Austin, according to data provided to the Tribune by regional homelessness organizations. In the past eight years, Houston has found housing for thousands of veterans, implemented a digital database known as the Homeless Management Information System and worked to nearly double the funds it receives from HUD.

Dallas, however, has seen a general increase in homelessness since 2009 — and a 725% increase in unsheltered homelessness during the same time period. City officials and homeless experts in Dallas say increasing housing prices and a lack of housing in general aren’t helping.

“One of the biggest factors is the housing conditions and the housing market here in Dallas,” said Monica Hardman, director of Dallas City Hall's Office of Homeless Solutions. “[It] is extremely hard to find housing that is affordable, especially if you are not making a living wage.”

What’s going on at the federal level?

Trump has repeatedly criticized California's handling of homelessness and threatened to intervene if cities don't take an aggressive approach toward encampments. Trump recently chose Robert Marbut Jr., the founding president of San Antonio’s homeless shelter Haven for Hope, to lead the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

However, homeless advocates have called aspects of Marbut Jr.’s approach to addressing homelessness in San Antonio “paternalistic” and “patronizing.” He previously criticized programs that feed people on the streets for “enabling” them and not addressing the root cause of homelessness.

Mascorro said 75% to 80% of the homeless population in San Antonio enters the homeless system through Haven for Hope.

However, participants in Haven for Hope are not allowed on the campus if they are intoxicated or high, an approach that differs from the current trend in homelessness services, known as the “housing first” model. That model instead aims to first find housing and then focus on solving other problems, such as alcoholism or drug use, through support services.

“While it might be more expensive because you are providing housing, it ends up saving money,” said Gary Painter, director of the Homelessness Policy Research Institute at the University of Southern California. “It is at least [as] cost effective as the other model and also certainly much more effective.

Meanwhile, HUD Secretary Ben Carson recently visited Houston in what CityLab called, "yet another signal that the administration is keen to take a hands-on approach to people who sleep on the street."

If I want to help people experiencing homelessness, what can I do?

To help people experiencing homelessness in Texas, advocates from around the state say people should look for organizations in their neighborhoods focused on addressing the issue. They also say Texans should home in on trying to fix one problem and have conversations within their communities about testing different solutions closer to their homes.

“We need people that are willing to say, ‘Yeah, I'm willing to give this a shot in my backyard,” said Blake Fetterman, executive director for the Salvation Army’s Carr P. Collins Center in Dallas. “Whether that's the development of affordable housing in their community, whether that's the development of a shelter in their community, but we need more people saying yes.”

Disclosure: Steve Adler is a former Texas Tribune board chairman and has been a financial supporter of the Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.


Quality journalism doesn't come free

Perhaps it goes without saying — but producing quality journalism isn't cheap. At a time when newsroom resources and revenue across the country are declining, The Texas Tribune remains committed to sustaining our mission: creating a more engaged and informed Texas with every story we cover, every event we convene and every newsletter we send. As a nonprofit newsroom, we rely on members to help keep our stories free and our events open to the public. Do you value our journalism? Show us with your support.


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