4-43 The State of Texas

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The great state of Texas became the 28th state in the Union on December 29, 1845.  Its state capital is Austin.  The state was named after the Caddo Indians of eastern Texas which called their group of tribes the "Tejas," meaning "those who are friends".

In 1519, the Spanish explored the Texas coast.  This event marked the beginning of Spain's rule in Texas.  Nine years later, in 1528, Cabeza de Vaca was shipwrecked near Galveston. His small band met many Indian tribes while wandering through the Texas area, but he finally came to a Spanish settlement. He made his way to Mexico City with tales of the fabled "Seven Cities of Gold."

In the early 1540s, the explorer Coronado, attempted to find the seven cities and trekked through present day New Mexico, West Texas and Kansas.  Corpus Christi de la Isleta was established near El Paso in 1682. It was the first Spanish mission and pueblo in Texas.

In 1685, the French claimed Texas.  La Salle established Fort St. Louis in the Matagorda Bay area. Two years later, he was killed by his own men.  By 1690, Indians and disease had destroyed the small French force.  In 1690, the Spaniards established, Mission San Francisco de los Tejas, the first East Texas mission.  In 1718, with the establishment of Mission San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo), the city of San Antonio was founded.

In 1821, the year Mexico gained independence from Spain, Stephen Austin received permission from the Mexican government to settle a colony of 300 families, now known as the "Old Three Hundred," in Southeast Texas.  By 1836, 35,000 to 50,000 people had settled in Texas.  By 1835, Stephen Austin was convinced that war with Mexico was inevitable.  The growing tension in Texas was the result of cultural, political and religious differences between the American settlers and the Mexican government.  Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the president of Mexico, soon reinforced the Mexican troops in Texas. A battle was fought at Gonzales on October 2, 1835, in which the Mexican forces were thwarted in their efforts to retrieve a cannon and this gave rise to the famous flag bearing the words "Come and Take It."  The Battle of Gonzales is generally considered to be the first battle for Texas' independence.

The Battle of the Alamo, lasting nearly two weeks, ended on March 6, 1836, with the deaths of all its defenders (numbering about 190).  The Mexican army of Santa Anna numbered 4,000 to 5,000 during its final charge.  Some of the men killed were David Crockett, Jim Bowie and William B. Travis. A later massacre of Texans who had surrendered at Goliad on March 27 led to the battle cry of Texas' independence, "Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!"  The Texas Declaration of Independence was enacted at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 2, 1836.

On April 21, 1836, the Battle of San Jacinto was fought near the present city of Houston.  Santa Anna's entire force of 1,600 men was killed or captured by Gen. Sam Houston's army of 800 Texans; only nine Texans died.  This decisive battle resulted in Texas' independence from Mexico.

Emblem/Symbol Name of Emblem/Symbol Adopted
Motto "Friendship"  
Nickname The Lone Star State  
State Seal 1845
State Bird Mockingbird 1927
State Flower Bluebonnet 1901
State Song "Texas, Our Texas" 1929
State Tree Pecan 1919
State Flag 1839
State Insect Monarch Butterfly 1995
State Fish Guadalupe Bass 1989
State Flying Mammal Mexican Free-tailed Bat 1995
State Small Mammal 9-Banded Armadillo 1995
State Large Mammal Longhorn 1995
State Dog Blue Lacy 2005
State Gemstone Texas Blue Topaz 1969
State Stone Petrified Palmwood 1969
State Plant Prickly Pear Cactus 1995
State Vegetable Sweet Onion 1997
State Reptile Horned Lizard 1993

Complete the questions below.

1.  Texas became the 28th state in the Union on December 29, .

2.  The state song is "."

3.  The state motto is "."

4.  The Blue Lacy is the state .

5.  One hundred ninety defenders died at the Battle of the .

6.  The Texas Blue Topaz is the state .

7.  The state small mammal is the .

8.  The state plant is the .

9.  The state tree is the .

10.  The state nickname is the .



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