Texas is home to the oldest datable human artifact in North America. People lived in the Buttermilk Creek Complex in what is now Bell County between 15,500 and around 13,200 BC. Traces of the Paleo-Indians can be found mainly in the north. On the Pecos River, man-made petroglyphs have been preserved around 4000 BC and southeast of Perryton in Ochiltree County are the ruins of the settlement The Buried City, which was probably built between 800 and 1500 by Indians was inhabited. Texas also owes its name to the Indians. The Indian word “teysha”, from which Texas eventually developed, means something like “hello friends” and was used by researchers and colonists who referred to the friendly Indian tribes in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
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The Spaniards were the first Europeans to arrive in what is now Texas in 1519. Alonso Álvarez de Pineda mapped the Texan coast and in the course of time many places and especially missions in the area of the present state were created. Corpus Christi was founded in 1621, El Paso followed in 1659. An interim attempt at colonization by the French failed in 1685. In 1718 the Mission San Antonio de Valero was founded, which eventually became known as “The Alamo” in US history and above all over 100 years later should go down in Texan history.
In 1821, Texas became part of Mexico, but two years later the North American Colonel Stephen F. Austin received permission to settle with 300 families in the state of Texas. This heralded the Anglo-American colonization of today’s Lone Star State, but also created tensions between the settlers and the Mexicans under President General Santa Anna. Especially when Mexico outlawed slavery. These tensions between the two camps finally culminated in the Texan War of Independence in 1835, during which the Texans proclaimed the independent Republic of Texas in 1836 and declared General Sam Houston military commander-in-chief.
The battle followed, which would become the symbol of the War of Independence. On March 6th, after a thirteen-day siege, Mexican troops began to storm Fort Alamo and were only able to take the mission station on the third attempt and with great losses, despite being clearly superior. Most of the defenders were killed in the fighting. Survivors were subsequently executed by the Mexicans. It was a victory for the Mexicans, but it was the beginning of the end for them nonetheless.
After further acts of war, the Texan War of Independence finally ended with the 18-minute battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, in which the Texan Army under General Sam Houston surprisingly won the war. Texas then remained a separate country as an independent Republic of Texas between 1836 and 1845 and did not join the Union until 1845. At least until the Civil War, when Texas, along with other Southern States, left the Union and joined the Confederate States of America. After the end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was completed, Texas was re-admitted to the Union in 1870.
Texas – stronghold of American conservatism
Politically, the Lone Star State has been a Republican stronghold since the 1970s and is viewed as thoroughly conservative. George Bush and his father George HW Bush made careers in Texas before moving into the White House.
But Texas is also known for its rigorous enforcement of the death penalty. There is no other state in the United States where more people are executed. The corporal punishment of students using so-called paddles is still allowed in the Lone Star State and is especially widespread among evangelical Christians.
Texas – the home of the cowboys
To walk in the footsteps of western heroes like Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood is a dream that many associate with their vacation in the USA. In Texas, the dream of the Wild West can come true. Because the Lone Star State is not only a stronghold of the rodeo, but also events with colorful western shows, cattle auctions, country music and line dancing are regularly offered in all major cities. The rodeo in Houston, where the world’s best riders compete in bull riding, bull wrestling and other well-known rodeo disciplines, is particularly spectacular.
In addition, many ranches offer cowboy vacations, which give visitors the opportunity to get to know the originality of the Wild West and the unique pristine landscape with its huge cacti on the back of a horse or donkey or optionally in a jeep, which they previously only knew from western films without having to forego modern comfort. The largest ranch in Texas is the King Ranch on the Gulf of Mexico, which was founded in 1852 and is a historical attraction in a wonderful landscape. Bandera is known as the world capital of cowboys, with its impressive longhorn cattle, real cowboy breakfast and saloons.
Also worth seeing are the Cadillac Ranch with its art installation made up of 10 Cadillacs and the “Frontier Texas!” Museum in Abilene, where you can return to the days of the Wild West with life-size holograms.
A touch of Spain and Mexico
The influence of the Mexican and Spanish culture from the long period of Spanish rule can still be felt in many places in Texas and some of the most famous attractions of the Lone Star States originally came from the Spanish.
First of all, of course, the Spanish mission station The Alamo in San Antonio should be mentioned, where the most famous and no less historical battle of the Texan War of Independence took place at the beginning of the 19th century. The Alamo is now the most visited attraction in Texas. Another highlight for friends of Spanish culture is El Paso with its many festivals and holidays such as the famous Amigo Airshow.