Area, 267,338 sq mi (692,405 sq km).
Pop. (2000) 20,851,820, a 22.8% increase since the 1990 census.
Capital, Austin. Largest city, Houston.
Nickname, Lone Star State.
Motto, Friendship. State bird, mockingbird.
State flower, bluebonnet.
State tree, pecan.
Texas is roughly spade shaped. The vast expanse of the state contains great regional differences (the distance from Beaumont to El Paso is greater than that from New York to Chicago).
Mineral resources compete with industry for primary economic importance in Texas. The state is the leading U.S. producer of oil, natural gas, and natural-gas liquids, despite recent production declines. It is also a major producer of helium, salt, sulfur, sodium sulfate, clays, gypsum, cement, and talc.
Texas manufactures an enormous variety of products, including chemicals and chemical products, petroleum, food and food products, transportation equipment, machinery, and primary and fabricated metals. The development and manufacture of electronic equipment, such as computers, has in recent decades become one of the state's leading industries; the area around Dallas-Fort Worth has become known as “Silicon Prairie,” a name now also extended to Austin and its suburbs. Agriculturally, Texas is one of the most important states in the country. It easily leads the nation in producing cattle, cotton, and cottonseed. Texas also has more farms, farmland, sheep, and lambs than any other state.
The Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is in the Houston area. Other places of interest in the state include Big Bend National Park,Guadalupe Mountains National Park , Amistad and Lake Meredith national recreation areas, Padre Island National Seashore, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, and Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge, winter home of the whooping crane. Austin is the capital; Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio are the largest cities.
Continue to read below for some interesting and fun facts.
- Texas is popularly known as The Lone Star State.
- The Alamo is located in San Antonio. It is where Texas defenders fell to Mexican General Santa Anna and the phrase Remember the Alamo originated. The Alamo is considered the cradle of Texas liberty and the state's most popular historic site.
- The lightning whelk is the official state shell.
- Texas is the only state to have the flags of 6 different nations fly over it. They are: Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States, and the United States.
- Although six flags have flown over Texas, there have been eight changes of government: Spanish 1519-1685, French 1685-1690, Spanish 1690-1821, Mexican 1821-1836, Republic of Texas 1836-1845, United States 1845-1861, Confederate States 1861-1865, United States 1865-present
- The King Ranch in Texas is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.
- During the period of July 24-26, 1979, the Tropical Storm Claudette brought 45 inches of rain to an area near Alvin, Texas, contributing to more than $600 million in damages. Claudette produced the United States 24 hour rainfall record of 43 inches.
- More wool comes from the state of Texas than any other state in the United States.
- Edwards Plateau in west central Texas is the top sheep growing area in the country.
- Texas is the only state to enter the United States by treaty instead of territorial annexation.
- The state was an independent nation from 1836 to 1845.
- Texas boasts the nation's largest herd of whitetail deer.
- A coastal live oak located near Fulton is the oldest tree in the state. The tree has an estimated age of more than 1,500 years.
- Sam Houston, arguably the most famous Texan, was actually born in Virginia. Houston served as governor of Tennessee before coming to Texas.
- Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.
- The first offensive action of the Texas Revolution occurred in Goliad on October 9, 1835 when local colonists captured the fort and town.
- On December 20, 1835 the first Declaration of Texas Independence was signed in Goliad and the first flag of Texas Independence was hoisted.
- The Hertzberg Circus Museum in San Antonio contains one of the largest assortments of circusana in the world.
- The capital city of Austin is located on the Colorado River in south-central Texas. The capitol building is made from Texas pink granite. It served as the capital of the Republic of Texas in 1840-1842.
- Austin is considered the live music capital of the world.
- Texas is home to Dell and Compaq computers and central Texas is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of the south.
- Professional sports teams include the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Houston Astros, Houston Comets, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and Texas Rangers.
- Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. The Dublin Dr Pepper plant, 85 miles west of Waco, still uses pure imperial cane sugar in its product. There is no period after the Dr in Dr Pepper.
- The first suspension bridge in the United States was the Waco Bridge. Built in 1870 and still in use today as a pedestrian crossing of the Brazos River.
- In 1836 five sites served as temporary capitals of Texas: Washington-on-the-Brazos: Harrisburg: Galveston: Velasco: and Columbia. Sam Houston moved the capital to Houston in 1837. In 1839 the capital was moved to the new town of Austin.
- The capitol in Austin opened May 16, 1888. The dome of the building stands seven feet higher than that of the nation's Capitol in Washington, D.C.
- Texas comes from the Hasinai Indian word tejas meaning friends or allies.
- The armadillo is the official state mammal.
- Texas has the first domed stadium in the country. The structure was built in Houston and opened in April 1965.
- The Houston Comets are the only team in the country to win four back-to-back WNBA championships. 1997-2000 Cynthia Cooper remains the only player to win the WNBA Championship MVP.
- The worst natural disaster in United States history was caused by a hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900. Over 8000 deaths were recorded.
- The first word spoken from the moon on July 20, 1969 was Houston.
- Texas' largest county is Brewster with 6,208 square miles.
- Texas possesses three of the top ten most populous cities in the United States. These towns are Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.
- El Paso is closer to Needles, California than it is to Dallas.
- Texas includes 267,339 square miles, or 7.4% of the nation's total area.
- The state's cattle population is estimated to be near 16 million.
- More land is farmed in Texas than in any other state.
- More species of bats live in Texas than in any other part of the United States.
- Laredo is the world's largest inland port.
- Port Lavaca has the world's longest fishing pier. Originally part of the causeway connecting the two sides of Lavaca Bay, the center span of was destroyed by Hurricane Carla in 1961.
- The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is the world's largest rose garden. It contains 38,000 rose bushes representing 500 varieties of roses set in a 22-acre garden.
- Amarillo has the world's largest helium well.
- The world's first rodeo was held in Pecos on July 4, 1883.
- The Flagship Hotel on Seawall Boulevard in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built entirely over the water.
- The Heisman trophy is named for John William Heisman the first full-time coach and athletic director at Rice University in Houston.
- Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other comparable area in North America.
- The Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America's only remaining flock of whooping cranes.
- Jalapeno pepper jelly originated in Lake Jackson and was first marketed in 1978.
Thanks to: San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau, Rebecca Edinger, Brien Segers, Hill DeWolfe
*Information from Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition