• Population- 20,851,820
  • Capital- Austin
  • Largest cities– Houston, San Antonio, Dallas
  • Time zone- Most of state is Central and the tip of West Texas is Mountain
  • Date of Admission to the Union- December 29, 1845
  • Slogan- “It’s like a whole other country”
  • State website URL- www.texas.gov

“Don’t mess with Texas”, a popular litter campaign from 1986, might just as well speak to the imposing nature of this impressive and geographically diverse state. Located in the West South Central region of the states, Texas boasts 268,601 square miles, and is second in land mass only to Alaska.

The flat low hills of the Gulf Coastal Plain occupy more than one-third of Texas. The Central Lowlands, or the Osage Plains, occupy north-central Texas. The Great Plains over northern and central Texas includes the High Plains in the Panhandle (part of the Rocky Mountains known as the Trans-Pecos). The Basin and Range region extends west of the Great Plains, and includes rugged mountains, high dry basins and the highest point in Texas, Guadalupe Peak (8,749 ft).

Texas is a derivation of the Caddo word for “friend” or “ally”, a greeting to the first Spanish explorers in the 16 th century. Americans settled in Texas in the 1820s, after possession passed from Spain to Mexico. The Independent Republic of Texas was declared in 1836, naming Sam Houston president of the young Republic. (Visitors to San Antonio can tour the historic mission of the Alamo, a noted battle of the Texas Revolution, and immortalized in the cry to “remember the Alamo”.)

Texas became the 28 th state of the union on December 29, 1845. War was declared on Mexico the following year after Mexican troops crossed the Rio Grande. Under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signed in 1848, Mexico ceded Texas and seven other present-day states of the west for the sum of US$15 million.

Texas had a gross state product of over $1 trillion dollars in 2006 (second only to California). Historically reliant on oil, cotton, and cattle, the “ Lone-Star State” (the nation’s biggest producer of oil and leader in oil refineries) shifted economic development to include aerospace and computer industries.