Capital city Austin
Population 29.183.290 (2020)
Surface 696.241 km²
Governor Greg Abbott (R)
Member of the US since 1845

A map of Texas

Texas is a state of the United States. Texas is located in the south of the country and borders the states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. In addition, the state borders neighboring Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico. Texas is the second largest state by area after Alaska and the second largest state by population after California . More than 29 million people live in the state. The capital of Texas is Austin, but other major cities are Dallas and Houston. The state is also called The Lone Star State(The Lone Star State), named after the single star on the Texas flag. Before the arrival of the Europeans, Texas was inhabited by various indigenous peoples. Originally, Texas was a Spanish colony and later became part of Mexico. However, Texas was home to a lot of American settlers, who separated from Mexico in 1836. They wanted a state of the United States, but were not immediately admitted. Texas became an independent republic for a while and joined in 1854. Texas’s entry into the United States sparked the Mexican–American War, as Mexico still recognized Texas as its territory. The border dispute ended in an American victory. Less than 16 years later, in 1861, Texas seceded again and joined the Confederate States of America. Texas wanted to protect slavery and fought for the Confederacy (proponents of slavery) during the American Civil War. Texas was the last state to free the slaves and rejoined the United States in 1866. After 1900, many oil fields were found in the state and the state had to deal with a lot of immigration from Mexico. Petroleum is still important to the Texas economy. Texas is known as a “red state,” meaning a large majority of its residents vote for the Republican Party. Texas is also becoming more of a swing state these days. Texas has its own unique culture, influenced by both the United States and Mexico. Texas is known for its ranches, rodeo, cowboys, tex-mex, and country music. In addition, they say Everything is bigger in Texas (“Everything is bigger in Texas”) and Don’t mess with Texas! (“Don’t mock Texas!”).

 

Geography

Landscape

Captain

Texas is the second largest state in the United States after Alaska. To the south, the state is separated from Mexico by the Rio Grande, which runs from the town of El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico. Most cities are in the east of the state. The Gulf of Mexico is located in the east of the state. The Texas coastal area is partially below sea level. You will also find several islands off the coast, the so-called Texas barrier islands. These are elongated islands, which create a small sea between the islands and the coast. This creates so -called estuaries. Between the islands are several openings to the Gulf of Mexico. These estuaries are mainly nature reserves. The coastal area is part of the Gulf Coastal Plains. The soil here is very fertile and many cities are located in this area. In this area you will find dune areas, lakes, forests and swamps. The center of the state is also called the North Central Plains. The area is quite flat and is surrounded by a number of mountain ranges. To the south is the Edwards Plateau, to the west the Caprock Escarpment and to the east the Eastern Cross. The area can be compared to the prairies and there are also many cities here. The landscape has some hills and the vegetation consists mainly of oak trees, carya trees and elms. In the north, the area spills over into the Great Plains. Northern Texas is part of this gigantic area, which stretches all the way to Canada. The northernmost part of Texas is also known as the Texas Panhandle. Here you will also find many forests and prairies. The western part of the state consists mainly of deserts with mountains. Here one finds mainly grasslands with low shrubs. There are also some areas. Although Texas is known for its deserts, this is only 10% of the landscape. The highest point in the state is Guadalupe Peak at 2,667 meters.

Biggest cities

Name Residents County
1. Houston 2.320.268 Harris County
2. Saint Anthony 1.547.253 Bexar County
3. Dallas 1.343.573 Dallas County
4. Austin 978.908 Travis County
5. Fort Worth 909.585 Tarrant County
6. Step 681.728 El Paso County
7. Arlington 398.854 Tarrant County
8. Body of Christ 326.586 Nueces County
9. Plano 287.677 Collin County
10. Laredo 262.491 Webb County

Climate

Fall in Texas

Texas has different climates due to the size of the state. The east of the state has a temperate maritime climate. Here one has to deal with mild winters and warm summers. The coastal areas in the south have a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild winters. Both areas have to deal with precipitation throughout the year. The western part of the state has a desert climate. Depending on the location, the temperatures are high or low. Very little rain falls in these areas. Although Texas is often depicted as desert-like, Texas is only a small part of desert. Because of this, the desert climate only occurs in the west and on the Mexican border. On the borders between the areas with a desert climate and the areas with a maritime climate there is a steppe climate. In these areas in the dry, but less dry than in the desert climate. Temperatures here can be both high and low. Tornadoes are common in Texas, especially in the north. North Texas belongs to the so-called Tornado Alley, an area with many tornadoes. An average of 139 tornadoes occur in Texas each year, making Texas the state with the most tornadoes each year. Tornadoes mainly occur in the months of April, May and June. Heavy thunderstorms are also common in the north. Both the thunderstorms and the tornadoes are caused by dry air from Mexico colliding with cold air from Canada. Because of Texas’s location on the Gulf of Mexico, there are occasional hurricanesfor in the state. Texas has fewer hurricanes than other states around the Gulf of Mexico, but it is the more severe hurricanes that pass over Texas. Hurricanes usually cause a lot of damage in the state. The deadliest hurricane in the United States has also made landfall in Texas. This was Hurricane Galvelston in 1900, which killed between 8,000 and 12,000 people. Hurricanes often pass through Texas over Louisiana, but Texas can still suffer from the tropical storms created by the hurricanes. Due to climate change, Texas is experiencing both drought and flooding. Part of the Texas coast is below sea level and is at risk of flooding due to rising sea levels and sudden, heavy rain showers. Other areas are actually experiencing drought. Texas has almost no snow storms, but a snow storm hit the state in February 2021. This led to a large current flow in the state. Snowstorms occasionally occur in the state; this already happened in 2004.

Population

Population groups

Texas also has the most Czech Americans of any state.

Texas is one of the fastest growing states in terms of population. Texas today (in 2020) has just over 29 million inhabitants. In the year 2000 there were still 20 million. Texas is the second most populous state after California. The population of Texas is growing rapidly due to the many immigration. Texas is located on the Mexican border and many Hispanic immigrants from Latin America come to the United States via Texas. These immigrants mainly come from Mexico itself, but also many from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Some of these immigrants entered the United States illegally. They do work and live in Texas (and sometimes even pay taxes), but they are not registered with the government. These people are calledundocumented immigrants and about 1.6 million of them live in Texas. Most of them have a residence permit or have applied for asylum. Some 4.1 million residents of the state were born abroad. Texas has a multicultural immigration population. 42% of the residents are white Americans and 39% are Latino. 12% of the population is African American, 6% Asian and the rest is mainly indigenous peoples. The African Americans in Texas are in many cases the descendants of the former slaves in the state. Most Asian Americans are from Vietnam or China. Most white Americans have an Irish, English or German migration background. An important population group are the Tejanos. They are descended from the Spanish settlers of the colonial era. One third of the population is Tejano.

Taal

That both English (top) and Spanish (bottom) play an important role in Texas is clear from the many bilingual borders.

Texas has no official language under the Constitution. Nevertheless, English can be seen as official, as it is used in education, law and politics. Also, most Texans speak (only) English and laws are drafted in English. Research shows that 66% of Texans speak English at home. The people of Texas have a noticeable dialect. The English spoken in the state is often referred to as Texan English. This dialect is similar to that spoken in other southern states, such as New Mexico or Louisiana. Texan English is also influenced by Spanish from Mexico, which means that a lot of loanwords have been adopted. Well-known words from Texan English are howdy?(How are you?) and yonder (out there somewhere). Spanish _also has an important role in the state, as many people from Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America live and work in the state. Texas also borders on Spanish-speaking Mexico, where it conducts a lot of trade. In politics, Spanish is sometimes used by, for example, the governor. There is also a lot of campaigning in Spanish, since some of the Spanish speakers have little or no knowledge of English. Since 1999, it has been mandatory for all high school students in Texas to take Spanish as a school subject for two years. Since 2007, academic tests have been offered in both English and Spanish. Although many Spanish-speaking residents also speak English, there are areas where Spanish is mainly spoken in everyday life. This is especially along the Mexican border. Here the government even offers services in Spanish. That’s how it is in the townEl Cenizo bilingual (Spanish and English). Originally, German also had an important status in Texas, due to the many immigrants from Germany. This has been less the case since the First World War. The German dialect spoken in the state is also known as Texas German. Today, most German speakers live in Fredericksburg and the surrounding area. In the eastern part of the state, French is also spoken due to its proximity to Louisiana. Other major languages ​​include Vietnamese, Tagalog, Hindi, Korean, Kurdish, Czech, and Chinese.

Religion

Texas also has many megachurches; huge church buildings where many people can attend a service at the same time.

Christianity plays an important role in Texas society. Texas is the so-called Bible Belt; an area in the southwestern United States. This area is known for being strict Christian and conservative. Christianity has more followers there than in other states. Texas is more on the edge of this Bible Belt, making it a little less strict than other states in that area (such as Alabama). Yet 77% of Texans consider themselves Christian. Of these, 50% adhere to Protestantism and 23% to the Roman Catholic Church. The remaining percent consists of other Christian denominations, such as the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Mormon Church and theJehovah’s Witnesses. The main Protestant denominations are Evangelicism, Methodism and Baptism. 18% of the population has no religion or is not religious. Lesser faiths include Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhism.

Education

Texas has several universities such as:

  • De University of Texas
  • De Texas State University
  • De University of Houston
  • De University of North Texas
  • De Texas Tech University

Politics

State politics

The Texas State House

The day-to-day administration of Texas is in the hands of a governor. The current governor of Texas is Greg Abbottof the Republican Party. The governor is elected by direct election every four years. There are no limits on the number of installments; someone can literally be re-elected until that person dies or decides not to stand for election again. Compared to other states, the Texas governor has relatively little power. The governor is aided by a lieutenant governor and several ministers. The lieutenant governor and almost all ministers are also elected by popular vote. This means that people from different parties can sit in a government. The lieutenant governor assists the governor and is his deputy. He is also the president of the Senate. The Texas Legislature is called the Texas Legislature and is made up of two chambers. These are:

  • The House of Representatives, consisting of 150 seats, is elected every two years.
  • The Senate, consisting of 31 seats, is elected every four years.

The Republican Party has a majority in both chambers. The remaining seats are filled by Democrats. Texas’s legal system is a lot more extensive than in other states. It’s also a lot more complicated. The death penalty still exists in Texas and it is the state that uses it the most. Between 1976 and 2021, as many as 573 people were sentenced to death.

Administrative division

How many counties in Texas? Texas is divided into 254 counties, making it the state with the most counties. Below you can see a map with all counties!

National politics

Ted Cruz, one of the most famous Texas politicians

Originally, Texas was a “blue state”. Between the 1870s and 1970s, residents of the state voted almost exclusively for the Democratic Party. This was also the case in other states in the southeastern United States. At the time, the Democrats were conservative. When the Democratic Party became a lot more progressive, the Republican Party gained a lot of support. Texas has been a “red state” since the 1980s, meaning it is very Republican. Texas often votes for Republican candidates in national elections, and Republicans also have a majority in the state. In recent years this seems to be changing. Partly due to immigration and aging, Texas is now a swing state, which leans Republican. This means that Republicans often win, but Democratic candidates also have a chance. Especially during presidential elections you see that Democratic presidential candidates are getting more and more votes and the profit for the Republicans is getting smaller and smaller. Texas is an important state for Republicans, as it has the most electoral votes after California. Whoever wins Texas immediately wins a lot of electoral votes. It is therefore also interesting for the Democrats to win Texas. Initiatives like Turn Texas Blue and politicians like Beto O’Rourke have made the Democratic Party more popular in the state. Texas is represented in the United States Congress by 36 representatives and two senators. Of the delegates, 23 are Republican and 13 are Democratic. The two senators (Ted Cruz and John Cornyn) are both from the Republican Party. President Lyndon B. Johnson was born in Texas and lived there for a long time. George W. Bush has also lived much of his life in Texas and it is his home state (although he was born in Connecticut). Although President Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in Texas, his home state was Kansas (where he lived most of his life).

Independence?

This flag is widely used by the independence movement.

The call for an independent Texas makes the headlines every once in a while. Texas has one of the largest independence movements in the United States. Many proponents of Texan independence point to the state’s unique culture and economy. The culture of Texas is also very much influenced by Mexican culture, giving the state its own culture that is different from the American culture. Texas is also one of the most important states in terms of economy. Proponents of independence point to the oil wells in the ground, the proceeds of which can be used for Texas itself. There are also historical reasons, as Texas was an independent country for seven years and had seceded during the American Civil War. Opponents think this is a bad idea, Texas has always been a “rebel” in the United States. The Texas campaign began in the 1990s. It’s Like a Whole Other Country (Texas. It’s a whole different country), which portrayed the state as a different country. At the same time, the Republic of Texas Organization was founded, which aims to be independent. Once in a while the population is asked whether they are for or against an independent Texas. The last time this happened was in 2016. Then only 26% said they were for an independent Texas, but 40% said they were like Hillary Clintonhad become president. You often see that the percentage increases slightly when a Democrat is president, while it decreases slightly when a Republican is. As with independence movements in other states, this is primarily a criticism of national politics. While many Texans say that the Texas Constitution states that “they can secede themselves and become an independent country if the people of the state want to (without going through the United States Congress)”, this is not true. First, it’s not in the Texas Constitution, and second, no US state can secede under the law. However, the Constitution of Texas states that the state can be divided into five smaller states by means of a referendum among the population. The reason for this is that Texas was huge in size when it joined the United States.

Texas - The Lone Star State

 

Texas – The Lone Star State