Texas, The Lone Star State

Texas, The Lone Star State

By Sandra Merville Hart

The nickname for Texas is the Lone Star State. The state flag has a single star on it, which is said to symbolize that Texas struggled for independence from Mexico alone.

The Caddo were one of the Native American tribes living in Texas before the Europeans came. The Caddo word taysha for “friend” originated the name for Texas.

The early history of Texas

alamo-678138_960_720The Spanish built missions and forts in what is now Texas. The area was part of Mexico in the early 1800s. After Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, settlers in Texas wanted their freedom as well.

In 1835, about 200 Texans seized a mission named the Alamo, a chapel in San Antonio. They defended it from Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and his much larger army for 13 days until the Alamo was overrun.

Sam Houston led Texans at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836. He spurred his men on with the words “Remember the Alamo” and defeated Santa Anna. Texas won its independence.

Texas becomes a state

Texas became the 28th state on December 29, 1845.

Spindletop

Drilling at Spindletop Hill grew a lot more exciting on January 10, 1901. A gusher of oil spurted over 150 feet into the air, more powerful than anyone in the world had seen.

The site in southeastern Texas near Beaumont soon produced about 100,000 barrels each day, beginning an oil boom in the state.

Big Bend National Park

Over 300,000 people visit Big Bend National Park in Texas every year. This sandy desert park with the Rio Grande River running through it also has canyons and towering mountains.

It is also a wonderful place for birdwatching because northern birds migrate there for the winter and tropical birds come north in the spring.

Johnson Space Center

johnson-space-center-89465_960_720Located in Houston, Johnson Space Center flight controllers helped land the spacecraft Apollo 11 on the moon on July 20, 1969. Astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon. Buzz Aldrin was second.

Visitors to the Space Center can experience a simulated space launch at the Blast Off Theater.

Other fun facts about Texas

Head to San Antonio for Fiesta San Antonio for its celebration of Texas’ multicultural heritage.

In McLean, visitors to the Devil’s Rope Museum can learn how the simple invention of barbed wire changed the West.

Texas is the second largest state. Only Alaska is bigger.

The state capital is Austin.

The state bird is the mockingbird.

The state flower is the bluebonnet.

 

 

Sources

50 States Our America: Time for Kids, Time Inc. Books, 2017.

Balkan, Gabrielle. The 50 States, Wide Eyed Editions, 2015.

Cheney, Lynne. Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2006.

Davis, Kenneth C. Don’t Know Much About The 50 States, HarperCollins Publishers, 2001.

Fast Facts About the 50 States. Children’s Press, 2010.

Keenan, Sheila. Greetings from the 50 States, Scholastic Inc., 2008.

“Spindletop,” History.com, 2019/01/13 https://www.history.com/topics/landmarks/spindletop.

 

 

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