Texas is sometimes called The Lone Star State, which is a reference to the years when Texas was an independent nation (1836-1845). The name comes from the Spanish Tejas.
Texas began as a Spanish province, and when Mexico gained independence, Mexican authorities decided to invite in immigrants so as to increase population and make the province more secure from Indian raids. Immigrants were to swear loyalty to Mexico, learn to speak Spanish, and convert to Catholicism.
Immigrants from the United States began migrating to Texas in the 1820s under programs negotiated with Mexico by entrepreneurs like Stephen F. Austin.
In a few years, the number of immigrants from the United States in Texas considerably outnumbered the Spanish speakers, and the Mexican government became concerned. In particular, Mexico had abolished slavery in 1829, and some of the immigrants from the US were slaveholders intending to grow cotton of rich Texas lands.
Mexico tried to impose restrictions on the immigrants, and the result was violent revolution. In a small but bloody war, Texas achieved independence. The war featured the famed fight and massacre at the Alamo, a massacre of Texans at Goliad, and Sam Houston’s total defeat of Santa Anna (the Mexican dictator) at the battle of San Jacinto. The United States recognized the Republic in 1839, but refused to annex Texas.
Texas managed to endure wars with the formidable Comanche tribes and continual cross border raids from Mexico. Texas was the trigger that started the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846-1848, which resulted in the US annexation and Texas almost immediately becoming a state. The U.S. also acquired California, Arizona and New Mexico as a result of the war.
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