Texas, USA: Geography and climate



Texas , IFA (English) : [ˈtɛksəs] , (Spanish.) [Texas] ) is a state in the southern United States. It is the 2nd largest state in the United States (696,241 km²) after Alaska and the 2nd largest state after California (25,674,681 people). Texas is one of the centers of American agriculture, cattle breeding, education, oil and gas, chemical industries, and financial institutions. The state capital is Austin; the administrative division is counties (254).

The name of the state comes from the Spanish word “tejas”. The state’s name is derived from the Spanish word “tejas,” which in turn comes from the Native American word “táysha,” in the language of the Caddo tribes. In the language of the Caddo tribes it means “friend”, “ally” (the first Spanish explorers of the territory referred to the Indians, who were members of the confederacy of the Hasinai tribes). The American abbreviation for the state is TX.



Spanish colonization.

Prior to settlement by the Spanish and other settlers from Europe, present-day Texas was home to various Indian tribes: the Apache, Atapacan, Bidae, Caddo, Comanche, Cherokee, Cayowa, Tonkawa, Wichita, and Carancawa. The Apaches left Texas in the 1870s; they were the last Indians to occupy a significant portion of the state. Three indigenous tribes of Texas are now recognized by the U.S. government: the Alabama and Cushat tribes, the Kickapoo tribe, and the Isleta del Sur Pueblo tribe.

In 1519, the Spanish navigator Alonso Alvarez de Pineda walked along the Texas coast, charting the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico for the first time. The first European to set foot in Texas (November 6, 1528) was the shipwrecked conquistador Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. He spent six years in Texas, establishing trade relations with local tribes. The first settlement was established by the Spaniards in the Isleta area near present-day El Paso in 1682. Meanwhile, the east of present-day Texas began to be developed by the French, who were expanding their colony of Louisiana. On February 18, 1685, the Frenchman René-Robert Cavalier established Fort St. Louis in Matagorda Bay, a French outpost in Texas territory. In 1690, Alonso de Leon crossed the Rio Grande River and founded the Catholic Mission of San Francisco de los Tejas in eastern Texas. The mission was located near the old San Antonio Road, the oldest thoroughfare in what is now the United States. By the end of the eighteenth century all of present-day Texas, along with Mexico, was part of the Spanish colony of New Spain.

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At the beginning of the nineteenth century east Texas began to be developed by settlers from the United States. Moses Austin acquired 800 km²; on January 3, 1823, on the Brazos River, Stephen Austin formed a colony of 300 American families (now known as the “Old Three Hundreds”). In 1821 New Spain, which included Texas, achieved independence from Spain, and thus Texas became part of the Mexican Empire.

Republic of Texas

By the mid-1830s, dictatorship and lawlessness in Mexico had brought the state to the brink of disintegration, with the territories of Texas and Yucatán expressing – according to constitutional law – their desire to secede. In 1835, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, president of Mexico, proposed a new constitution abolishing slavery, which had been the norm among the American settlers. In addition, he increased pressure on Americans to disarm and forcibly remove illegal immigrants from U.S. border states and give up their land. This policy of the Mexican government caused discontent among Texans and led to the War of Independence.

On October 2, 1835, Texans clashed with a detachment of Mexican cavalry near the town of Gonzales, resulting in the outbreak of hostilities. On October 28, 1835, 90 Texans defeated 450 Mexicans at the Battle of Concepcion. On March 2, 1836, a Declaration of Independence from Mexico was signed at the American Settlers’ Meeting. Mexican troops were sent in in response, and at the battle of Fortress Alamo at San Antonio they almost completely destroyed the small Texas garrison after a thirteen-day siege. Next, on March 27, 1836, on the orders of Lopez de Santa Anna, the Mexicans executed James Fannin and about 400 Texans at Goliad. These defeats, in turn, inspired the Texans to form an army, which, under the leadership of Sam Houston, won the defining battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836 (Lopez de Santa Anna was taken prisoner).

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On May 14, 1836, Texas officials and General Santa Anna signed the Treaty of Independence at Velasco. However, the Mexican government did not ratify the treaty, leaving the question of independence from Mexico open (while the western part of present-day Texas continued to have an unclear legal status). In late 1836 a constitution (confirming the right of slavery) was adopted, and Texas was proclaimed a republic. The first president was Sam Houston. After repeatedly moving the capital, Houston was chosen as the center of power in 1837. The Republic of Texas gained international recognition. Meanwhile, Mexican raids into Texas continued. (On March 5, 1842, a detachment of over 500 Mexicans, led by Rafael Vasquez, invaded Texas for the first time since the Revolution; reaching San Antonio, it retreated back to the Rio Grande; on September 11, 1842, a 1,500-man Mexican army, led by Adrian Wahl, captured part of San Antonio, but later withdrew, taking prisoners.) Clashes continued for nearly 10 years, depending on whether the Mexican government’s position was strengthened or weakened. The U.S. did not officially intervene in these struggles, although thousands of volunteers in the U.S. were recruited to help Texans. The armed conflicts between Mexico and Texas were stopped not so much by the annexation of the latter to the USA (by which Texas became the 28th state by the treaty of December 29, 1845), as by the victory of the USA in the American – Mexican War of 1846-1848, which completely suppressed the resistance and the territorial claims of Mexico. When Texas separated from Mexico, it initially intended to become a part of the USA sooner or later (though among Texans there was also an idea of expansion of Texas with transformation of it into the huge state with territory to Pacific ocean).

Texas is the first and so far the only internationally recognized independent state directly admitted to the United States as a state-an equal member of the union (Vermont, which proclaimed itself the Republic of Vermont in 1777 and joined the United States in 1791, actually had autonomy, but had no international recognition; the US annexed the self-proclaimed Republic of California and the Kingdom of Hawaii, but included them as states only some time later). With its high status, Texas stipulated some features unique to the U.S. when it became a part of the United States. First, all lands and subsoil remained the property of the people of the state, with no federal lands in Texas. Secondly, for fear of political instability, Texas stipulated the possibility of division into five states. In 2009 Governor Rick Perry stated that Texas had the right to secede from the United States, but such a right of the state is questioned [2] .

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Second half of the 19th century

When Texas joined the United States, the territory of Texas included all of the lands of the modern state of Texas, as well as the unpopulated northern portions, which were transferred to the U.S. government by treaty of September 9, 1850 as payment of Texas’ foreign debt ($10 million). These federal territories were subsequently divided among the future states of New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wyoming.

Although land grants and other benefits were given to all residents and combat veterans in Texas, there was not much of an influx of immigrants. Special agencies were set up to recruit immigrants from Europe: there were German, French, Swedish, and Dutch agencies. The most active immigration came from Germany (the names of many towns – Fredericksberg, Aldorf, New Braunfels, etc.) testify to this. After the European revolutions of 1848, the German settlers were joined by Poles, Swedes, Norwegians, Czechs, and the French. Immigration grew until World War II.

During the Civil War Texas was part of the Confederacy (on February 23, 1861, in a referendum, Texans voted 46,129 to 14,697, a 76 percent majority) to secede from the United States. However, Governor Sam Houston refused to take the Confederate oath of office, and the Convention assembled a new state government. It was in Texas – on May 12, 1865 – that the last battle of the Civil War took place (Texans did not yet know that Confederate troops led by General Lee had surrendered in Virginia on April 9). In 1870, the U.S. Congress reincorporated Texas. In 1876 the modern constitution of Texas was adopted.

Twentieth Century

In the early twentieth century, significant oil reserves were discovered in Texas and the Gulf of Mexico, which reshaped the state’s economy (before World War II, Texas was dominated by farming cattle and farming). In the 1910s and 20s the Texas border area was attacked by Mexican bandits who took advantage of the turmoil of the Mexican Revolution. During the Great Depression, the state also experienced a dramatic decline in quality of life; this was compounded by numerous dust storms in the 1930s caused by drought and improper land cultivation. All of this led to a significant outflow of people from Texas during those years.

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After World War II, Texas became one of the centers of scientific technology, education, and industry. Houston was home to the NASA administration and the Lyndon Johnson Manned Spacecraft Center. The NASA administration and the Lyndon Johnson Space Center with the Mission Control Center were located in Houston. In the 1960s, Texas began to phase out the segregationist system, a process that took more than a decade.

On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. The crime still has no clear explanation. He was succeeded by Vice President Lyndon Johnson, former U.S. Senator from Texas.



Texas is bordered by New Mexico (west), Oklahoma (north), Louisiana (east), and Arkansas (northeast). The southwestern border of Texas runs along the Rio Grande River, which divides the United States and Mexico. To the southeast, Texas is washed by the Gulf of Mexico.

The eastern and southern parts of Texas are on the lowlands of the Gulf of Mexico, which rise up to 835 meters in the west to the Edward Plateau and the Llano-Estacado, which rise to 1200 meters. In the far west, the Rocky Mountain range begins (up to 2,665 m).

The largest rivers in Texas are the Red River, the Trinity, the Brazos, the Colorado, and the Rio Grande; many smaller rivers in the central and western parts often dry up.

Much of Texas (center and north) is a bushy plain, increasingly thinning to the west, where steppes and deserts begin. Savannah and oak-pine forests remain in the east and southeast (portions of the far southeast, on the Louisiana border, are significantly marshy).


Climatically Texas has two zones: the south (along the coast) has a subtropical, hot climate; the central and northern parts have a continental climate with hot summers and cool winters (average temperature in January 1 to 15°C, July 25 to 30°C). Precipitation decreases from 1,000 to 1,300 mm per year in an east-to-west direction, to 200 to 300 mm per year. Texas is characterized by frequent tornadoes in the central part and occasional tropical cyclones on the coast, which cause serious damage.

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Flora and fauna

Texas is rich in a variety of fauna and flora. The most numerous animals are coyotes, deer, and armadillos. Texas has several national wildlife refuges.

Largest Populated Areas

As of 2000, Texas has 22 agglomerations and 2 metropolitan areas (Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington and Houston-Galveston-Brazoria). Ten federal highways, Nos. 10, 20, 27, 30, 35, 37, 40, 44, 45, 110 linking Texas with New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana pass through the state. The state also has four federal ring roads, 635 (Dallas), 820 (Fort Worth), 610 (Houston), and 410 (San Antonio). Currently, there is debate about building Route 69, which, if approved, would run through the eastern part of the state, creating a “corridor” between Louisiana and Mexico.

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