Condensed History of Texas
Spanish explorers first found Texas shores in 1519 and for over 300 hundred years, portions of Texas were under Spanish rule. East Texas Indians welcomed the Spanish fleets but were not happy with "Mission living", preferring their own religious idols and culture. Texas Indian Tribes included the Caddos, which the early Spanish called the Tejas. Tejas is said to be the Caddo Tribe's word for friend. This word evolved to Texas, becoming the name of the Mexican province, later the Republic and today the state. The state motto remains friendship.
In 1685 La Salle established Fort St. Louis in Matagorda Bay, thus France laid a claim to Texas lands. Two years later, La Salle was
murdered by his own men and Mexican explorers moved to reestablish the Spanish presence. Thus began the Missions period with many Catholic missions erected across Texas.
Between 1719 and 1722, during a war between Spain and France, the French attempted some takeovers of Spanish missions which were thwarted. Since that time France had no rule over Texas lands, though there continued to be smuggling and privateering between French Louisiana and Spanish Texas.
After 1749, parts of the present day state were included in Coahuila, while San Antonio was thriving and becoming the most important community in Spanish Texas.
In 1830, Mexico forbade emigration from the United States into Texas, paving the way for a revolution. Texans were unhappy with Mexican policy and the
revolution started on October 2, 1835 when Texans stormed the presidio at Goliad. Following battles and skirmishes throughout 1835, was the Siege of Bexar where Texans took the town of San Antonio in December 1835. On March 6th, 1836, Mexicans returned to take back the key town of San Antonio and the famous battle of the Alamo took place. The battle ensued with 189 Texans against about 1600 Mexicans. All 189 lost their lives.
On April 21, 1836, Sam Houston led the Texans against the Mexican Army at San Jacinto, gaining independence for Texas.
From 1836 to 1845, the Texas flag flew over the land and was known as The Republic of Texas. On December 29, 1845, U.S. legislation was
signed admitting Texas as the 28th state of the Union. Upon this legislation, the Mexican-American war broke due to disputes over Texas boundaries. At this time, the Rio Grande River became the southern boundary line for Texas.
On February 1, 1861, Texas seceded from the Union along with a handful of other southern states who became the Confederacy and the Civil War was begun. The Civil War lasted until April 9, 1865 and in fact the last battle of this bloody war was fought on Texas soil more than a month after General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, VA. The Battle of Palmito Ranch occurred on May 12-13, 1865.
After being readmitted into the Union, Texas
was built on cattle ranching, farming and in the early 20th century, oil was discovered at Spindletop launching a whole new era of "black gold" or "Texas Tea" and a hope of new prosperity for Texas was born.
Texas History Resources Online: