The Republic of Texas was admitted into the United States of America as the 28th state on December 29, 1845. It is currently the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the south central part of the country, Texas shares borders with the other U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast. It is nicknamed the Lone Star State to signify its former status as an independent republic, and as a reminder of the state’s struggle for independence from Mexico. The “Lone Star” can be found on the Texan state flag and on the Texan state seal. The origin of the state name, Texas, is from the word Tejas which means ‘friends’ in the Caddo language.
The term “six flags over Texas” refers to several nations that have ruled over the territory. Spain was the first European country to claim the area of Texas. France held a short-lived colony. Mexico controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming an independent Republic. In 1845, Texas joined the United States as the 28th state. The state’s annexation set off a chain of events that caused the Mexican–American War in 1846. A slave state before the American Civil War, Texas declared its secession from the U.S. in early 1861, and officially joined the Confederate States of America on March 2 of the same year. After the Civil War and the restoration of its representation in the federal government, Texas entered a long period of economic stagnation.
Anglo-American immigrants, primarily from the Southern United States, began emigrating to Mexican Texas in the early 1820s at the invitation of the Mexican government, which sought to populate the sparsely inhabited lands of its northern frontier. Colonizing empresario Stephen F. Austin managed the regional affairs of the mostly American-born population — 20% of them slaves — under the terms of the generous government land grants. Mexican authorities were initially content to govern the remote province through salutary neglect, “permitting slavery under the legal fiction of ‘permanent indentured servitude’, similar to Mexico’s peonage system.
A general lawlessness prevailed in the vast Texas frontier, and Mexico’s civic laws went largely unenforced. Mexican authorities, perceiving that they were losing control over Texas and alarmed by the unsuccessful Fredonian Rebellion of 1826, abandoned the policy of benign rule. New restrictions were imposed in 1829–1830, outlawing slavery throughout the nation and terminating further American immigration to Texas. Military occupation followed, sparking local uprisings and a civil war. Texas conventions in 1832 and 1833 submitted petitions for redress of grievances to overturn the restrictions, with limited success.
In 1835, an army under Mexican President Santa Anna entered its territory of Texas and abolished self-government. Texans responded by declaring their independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836. On April 20–21, rebel forces under Texas General Sam Houston defeated the Mexican army at the Battle of San Jacinto. In June 1836, Santa Anna agreed to Texas independence, but the Mexican government refused to honor Santa Anna’s pledge. Texans, now de facto independent, recognized that their security and prosperity could never be achieved while Mexico denied the legitimacy of their revolution.
In the years following independence, the migration of white settlers and importation of black slave labor into the vast republic was deterred by Texas’s unresolved international status and the threat of renewed warfare with Mexico. American citizens who considered migrating to the new republic perceived that “life and property were safer within the United States” than in an independent Texas. The situation led to labor shortages, reduced tax revenue, large national debts and a diminished Texas militia.
The Anglo-American immigrants residing in newly-independent Texas overwhelmingly desired immediate annexation by the United States. But, despite his strong support for Texas independence from Mexico, then-President Andrew Jackson delayed recognizing the new republic until the last day of his presidency to avoid raising the issue during the 1836 general election. Jackson’s political caution was informed by northern concerns that Texas could potentially form several new slave states and undermine the North-South balance in Congress.
Jackson’s successor, President Martin Van Buren, viewed Texas annexation as an immense political liability that would empower the anti-slavery northern Whig opposition — especially if annexation provoked a war with Mexico. Presented with a formal annexation proposal from Texas minister Memucan Hunt, Jr. in August 1837, Van Buren summarily rejected it. Annexation resolutions presented separately in each house of Congress were either soundly defeated or tabled through filibuster. After the election of 1838, new Texas president Mirabeau B. Lamar withdrew his republic’s offer of annexation due to these failures. Texans were at an annexation impasse when John Tyler entered the White House in 1841.
William Henry Harrison, Whig Party presidential nominee, defeated US President Martin Van Buren in the 1840 general election. Upon Harrison’s death shortly after his inauguration, Vice-President John Tyler assumed the presidency. President Tyler was expelled from the Whig party in 1841 for repeatedly vetoing their domestic finance legislation. Tyler, isolated and outside the two-party mainstream, turned to foreign affairs to salvage his presidency, aligning himself with a southern states’ rights faction that shared his fervent slavery expansionist views.
In his first address to Congress in special session on June 1, 1841, Tyler set the stage for Texas annexation by announcing his intention to pursue an expansionist agenda so as to preserve the balance between state and national authority and to protect American institutions, including slavery, so as to avoid sectional conflict. Tyler’s closest advisors counseled him that obtaining Texas would assure him a second term in the White House, and it became a deeply personal obsession for the president, who viewed the acquisition of Texas as the “primary objective of his administration”. Tyler delayed direct action on Texas to work closely with his Secretary of State Daniel Webster on other pressing diplomatic initiatives.
With the Webster-Ashburton Treaty ratified in 1843, Tyler was ready to make the annexation of Texas his “top priority”. Representative Thomas W. Gilmer of Virginia was authorized by the administration to make the case for annexation to the American electorate. In a widely circulated open letter, understood as an announcement of the executive branch’s designs for Texas, Gilmer described Texas as a panacea for North-South conflict and an economic boon to all commercial interests. The slavery issue, however divisive, would be left for the states to decide as per the US Constitution. Domestic tranquility and national security, Tyler argued, would result from an annexed Texas; a Texas left outside American jurisdiction would imperil the Union. Tyler adroitly arranged the resignation of his anti-annexation Secretary of State Daniel Webster, and on June 23, 1843 appointed Abel P. Upshur, a Virginia states’ rights champion and ardent proponent of Texas annexation. This cabinet shift signaled Tyler’s intent to pursue Texas annexation aggressively.
In late September 1843, in an effort to cultivate public support for Texas, Secretary Upshur dispatched a letter to the US Minister to Great Britain, Edward Everett, conveying his displeasure with Britain’s global anti-slavery posture, and warning their government that forays into Texas’s affairs would be regarded as “tantamount to direct interference ‘with the established institutions of the United States'”. In a breach of diplomatic norms, Upshur leaked the communique to the press to inflame popular Anglophobic sentiments among American citizens.
In the spring of 1843, the Tyler administration had sent executive agent Duff Green to Europe to gather intelligence and arrange territorial treaty talks with Great Britain regarding Oregon; he also worked with American minister to France, Lewis Cass, to thwart efforts by major European powers to suppress the maritime slave trade. Green reported to Secretary Upshur in July 1843 that he had discovered a “loan plot” by American abolitionists, in league with Lord Aberdeen, British Foreign Secretary, to provide funds to the Texas in exchange for the emancipation of its slaves. Minister Everett was charged with determining the substance of these confidential reports alleging a Texas plot. His investigations, including personal interviews with Lord Aberdeen, concluded that British interest in abolitionist intrigues was weak, contradicting Secretary of State Upshur’s conviction that Great Britain was manipulating Texas. Though unsubstantiated, Green’s unofficial intelligence so alarmed Tyler that he requested verification from the US minister to Mexico, Waddy Thompson.
John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, a pro-slavery extremist counseled Secretary Upshur that British designs on American slavery were real and required immediate action to preempt a takeover of Texas by Great Britain. When Tyler confirmed in September that the British Foreign Secretary Aberdeen had encouraged détente between Mexico and Texas, allegedly pressing Mexico to maneuver Texas towards emancipation of its slaves, Tyler acted at once. On September 18, 1843, in consultation with Secretary Upshur, he ordered secret talks opened with Texas Minister to the United States Isaac Van Zandt to negotiate the annexation of Texas. Face-to-face negotiations commenced on October 16, 1843.
Texans were hesitant to pursue a US-Texas treaty without a written commitment of military defense from America, since a full-scale military attack by Mexico seemed likely when the negotiations became public. If ratification of the annexation measure stalled in the US Senate, Texas could face a war alone against Mexico. Because only Congress could declare war, the Tyler administration lacked the constitutional authority to commit the US to support of Texas. But when Secretary Upshur provided a verbal assurance of military defense, President Houston, responding to urgent calls for annexation from the Texas Congress of December 1843, authorized the reopening of annexation negotiations.
As Secretary Upshur accelerated the secret treaty discussions, Mexican diplomats learned that US-Texas talks were taking place. Mexican minister to the U.S. Juan Almonte confronted Upshur with these reports, warning him that if Congress sanctioned a treaty of annexation, Mexico would break diplomatic ties and immediately declare war. Secretary Upshur evaded and dismissed the charges, and pressed forward with the negotiations. In tandem with moving forward with Texas diplomats, Upshur was secretly lobbying US Senators to support annexation, providing lawmakers with persuasive arguments linking Texas acquisition to national security and domestic peace.
By early 1844, Upshur was able to assure Texas officials that 40 of the 52 members of the Senate were pledged to ratify the Tyler-Texas treaty, more than the two-thirds majority required for passage. Tyler, in his annual address to Congress in December 1843, maintained his silence on the secret treaty, so as not to damage relations with the wary Texas diplomats. Throughout, Tyler did his utmost to keep the negotiations secret, making no public reference to his administration’s single-minded quest for Texas.
The Tyler-Texas treaty was in its final stages when its chief architects, Secretary Upshur and Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Gilmer, died in an accident aboard USS Princeton on February 28, 1844, just a day after achieving a preliminary treaty draft agreement with the Texas Republic. The Princeton disaster proved a major setback for Texas annexation, in that Tyler expected Secretary Upshur to elicit critical support from Whig and Democratic Senators during the upcoming treaty ratification process. Tyler selected John C. Calhoun to replace Upshur as Secretary of State and to finalize the treaty with Texas. The choice of Calhoun, a highly regarded but controversial American statesman, risked introducing a politically polarizing element into the Texas debates, but Tyler prized him as a strong advocate of annexation.
The Tyler-Texas treaty, signed on April 12, 1844, was framed to induct Texas into the Union as a territory, following constitutional protocols. To wit, Texas would cede all its public lands to the United States, and the federal government would assume all its bonded debt, up to $10 million. The boundaries of the Texas territory were left unspecified. Four new states could ultimately be carved from the former republic — three of them likely to become slave states. Any allusion to slavery was omitted from the document so as not to antagonize anti-slavery sentiments during Senate debates, but it provided for the “preservation of all [Texas] property as secured in our domestic institutions.”
Upon the signing of the treaty, Tyler complied with the Texans’ demand for military and naval protection, deploying troops to Fort Jesup in Louisiana and a fleet of warships to the Gulf of Mexico. In the event that the Senate failed to pass the treaty, Tyler promised the Texas diplomats that he would officially exhort both houses of Congress to establish Texas as a state of the Union upon provisions authorized in the Constitution. Tyler’s cabinet was split on the administration’s handling of the Texas agreement. Secretary of War William Wilkins praised the terms of annexation publicly, touting the economic and geostrategic benefits with relation to Great Britain. Secretary of the Treasury John C. Spencer was alarmed at the constitutional implications of Tyler’s application of military force without congressional approval, a violation of the separation of powers. Refusing to transfer contingency funds for the naval mobilization, he resigned.
Tyler submitted his treaty for annexation to the Senate, delivered April 22, 1844, where a two-thirds majority was required for ratification. Secretary of State Calhoun (assuming his post March 29, 1844) had sent a letter to British minister Richard Packenham denouncing British anti-slavery interference in Texas. He included the Packenham Letter with the Tyler bill, intending to create a sense of crisis in Southern Democrats. In it, he characterized slavery as a social blessing and the acquisition of Texas as an emergency measure necessary to safeguard the “peculiar institution” in the United States. In doing so, Tyler and Calhoun sought to unite the South in a crusade that would present the North with an ultimatum: support Texas annexation or lose the South.
President Tyler expected that his treaty would be debated secretly in Senate executive session. However, less than a week after debates opened, the treaty, its associated internal correspondence, and the Packenham letter were leaked to the public. The nature of the Tyler-Texas negotiations caused a national outcry, in that “the documents appeared to verify that the sole objective of Texas annexation was the preservation of slavery.” A mobilization of anti-annexation forces in the North strengthened both major parties’ hostility toward Tyler’s agenda. The leading presidential hopefuls of both parties, Democrat Martin Van Buren and Whig Henry Clay, publicly denounced the treaty. Texas annexation and the reoccupation of Oregon territory emerged as the central issues in the 1844 general election.
In response, Tyler, already ejected from the Whig party, quickly began to organize a third party in hopes of inducing the Democrats to embrace a pro-expansionist platform. By running as a third-party candidate, Tyler threatened to siphon off pro-annexation Democratic voters; Democratic party disunity would mean the election of Henry Clay, a staunchly anti-Texas Whig. Pro-annexation delegates among southern Democrats, with assistance from a number of northern delegates, blocked anti-expansion candidate Martin Van Buren at the convention, which instead nominated the pro-expansion champion of Manifest Destiny, James K. Polk of Tennessee. Polk unified his party under the banner of Texas and Oregon acquisition.
In August 1844, in the midst of the campaign, Tyler withdrew from the race. The Democratic Party was by then unequivocally committed to Texas annexation, and Tyler, assured by Polk’s envoys that as President he would effect Texas annexation, urged his supporters to vote Democratic. Polk narrowly defeated Whig Henry Clay in the November election. The victorious Democrats were poised to acquire Texas under President-elect Polk’s doctrine of Manifest Destiny, rather than on the pro-slavery agenda of Tyler and Calhoun.
Southern Whigs in the Congress, including Representative Milton Brown and Senator Ephraim Foster, both of Tennessee, and Representative Alexander Stephens of Georgia collaborated to introduce a House amendment on January 13, 1845 that was designed to enhance slaveowner gains in Texas beyond those offered by the Democratic-sponsored Tyler-Calhoun treaty bill. The legislation proposed to recognize Texas as a slave state which would retain all its vast public lands, as well as its bonded debt accrued since 1836. Furthermore, the Brown amendment would delegate to the U.S. government responsibility for negotiating the disputed Texas-Mexico boundary. The issue was a critical one, as the size of Texas would be immensely increased if the international border were set at the Rio Grande River, with its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains, rather than the traditionally recognized boundary at the Nueces River, 100 miles to the north.
While the Tyler-Calhoun treaty provided for the organization of a total of four states from the Texas lands — three likely to qualify as slave states — Brown’s plan would permit Texas state lawmakers to configure a total of five states from its western region, south of the 36°30′ Missouri Compromise line, each pre-authorized to permit slavery upon statehood, if Texas designated them as such.
By early February 1845, when the Senate began to debate the Brown-amended Tyler treaty, its passage seemed unlikely, as support was “perishing”. The partisan alignments in the Senate were near parity, 28–24, slightly in favor of the Whigs. The Senate Democrats would require undivided support among their colleagues, and three or more Whigs who would be willing to cross party lines to pass the House-amended treaty. The fact that Senator Foster had drafted the House amendment under consideration improved prospects of Senate passage.
Anti-annexation Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri had been the only Southern Democrat to vote against the Tyler-Texas measure in June 1844. His original proposal for an annexed Texas had embodied a national compromise, whereby Texas would be divided in two, half slave-soil and half free-soil. As pro-annexation sentiment grew in his home state, Benton retreated from this compromise offer. By February 5, 1845, in the early debates on the Brown-amended House bill, he advanced an alternative resolution that, unlike the Brown scenario, made no reference whatsoever to the ultimate free-slave apportionment of an annexed Texas and simply called for five bipartisan commissioners to resolve border disputes with Texas and Mexico and set conditions for the Lone Star Republic’s acquisition by the United States.
The Benton proposal was intended to calm northern anti-slavery Democrats (who wished to eliminate the Tyler-Calhoun treaty altogether, as it had been negotiated on behalf of the slavery expansionists), and allow the decision to devolve upon the soon-to-be-inaugurated Democratic President-elect James K. Polk. President-elect Polk had expressed his ardent wish that Texas annexation should be accomplished before he entered Washington in advance of his inauguration on March 4, 1845, the same day Congress would end its session. With his arrival in the capital, he discovered the Benton and Brown factions in the Senate “paralyzed” over the Texas annexation legislation. On the advice of his soon-to-be Secretary of the Treasury Robert J. Walker, Polk urged Senate Democrats to unite under a dual resolution that would include both the Benton and Brown versions of annexation, leaving enactment of the legislation to Polk’s discretion when he took office. In private and separate talks with supporters of both the Brown and Benton plans, Polk left each side with the “impression he would administer their [respective] policy. Polk meant what he said to Southerners and meant to appear friendly to the Van Burenite faction.” Polk’s handling of the matter had the effect of uniting Senate northern Democrats in favor of the dual alternative treaty bill.
On February 27, 1845, less than a week before Polk’s inauguration, the Senate voted 27–25 to admit Texas, based on the Tyler protocols of simple majority passage. All twenty-four Democrats voted for the measure, joined by three southern Whigs. Benton and his allies were assured that Polk would act to establish the eastern portion of Texas as a slave state; the western section was to remain unorganized territory, not committed to slavery. On this understanding, the northern Democrats had conceded their votes for the dichotomous bill. The next day, in an almost strict party line vote, the Benton-Milton measure was passed in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. President Tyler signed the bill the following day, March 1, 1845.
Senate and House legislators who had favored Benton’s renegotiated version of the Texas annexation bill had been assured that President Tyler would sign the joint house measure, but leave its implementation to the incoming Polk administration. But, during his last day in office, President Tyler, with the urging of his Secretary of State Calhoun, decided to act decisively to improve the odds for the immediate annexation of Texas. On March 3, 1845, with his cabinet’s assent, he dispatched an offer of annexation to the Republic of Texas by courier, exclusively under the terms of the Brown–Foster option of the joint house measure. Secretary Calhoun apprised President-elect Polk of the action, who demurred without comment. Tyler justified his preemptive move on the grounds that Polk was likely to come under pressure to abandon immediate annexation and reopen negotiations under the Benton alternative.
When President Polk took office on March 4, he was in a position to recall Tyler’s dispatch to Texas and reverse his decision. On March 10, after conferring with his cabinet, Polk upheld Tyler’s action and allowed the courier to proceed with the offer of immediate annexation to Texas. The only modification was to exhort Texans to accept the annexation terms unconditionally. Polk’s decision was based on his concern that a protracted negotiation by US commissioners would expose annexation efforts to foreign intrigue and interference. While Polk kept his annexation endeavors confidential, Senators passed a resolution requesting formal disclosure of the administration’s Texas policy. Polk stalled, and when the Senate special session had adjourned on March 20, 1845, no names for US commissioners to Texas had been submitted by him. Polk denied charges from Senator Benton that he had misled Benton on his intention to support the new negotiations option, declaring “if any such pledges were made, it was in a total misconception of what I said or meant.”
On May 5, 1845, Texas President Anson Jones called for a convention on July 4, 1845, to consider the annexation and a constitution. On June 23, the Texan Congress accepted the US Congress’s joint resolution of March 1, 1845, annexing Texas to the United States, and consented to the convention. On July 4, the Texas convention debated the annexation offer and almost unanimously passed an ordinance assenting to it. The convention remained in session through August 28, and adopted the Constitution of Texas on August 27, 1845. The citizens of Texas approved the annexation ordinance and new constitution on October 13, 1845.
President Polk signed the legislation making the former Lone Star Republic a state of the Union on December 29, 1845 (Joint Resolution for the admission of the state of Texas into the Union, J.Res. 1, enacted December 29, 1845, 9 Stat. 108). Texas formally relinquished its sovereignty to the United States on February 14, 1846.
After Texas’s annexation, Mexico broke diplomatic relations with the United States. While the United States claimed that Texas’s border stretched to the Rio Grande, Mexico claimed it was the Nueces River. While the former Republic of Texas could not enforce its border claims, the United States had the military strength and the political will to do so. President Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor south to the Rio Grande on January 13, 1846. A few months later Mexican troops routed an American cavalry patrol in the disputed area in the Thornton Affair starting the Mexican–American War. The first battles of the war were fought in Texas: the Siege of Fort Texas, Battle of Palo Alto and Battle of Resaca de la Palma. After these decisive victories, the United States invaded Mexican territory ending the fighting in Texas.
After a series of United States victories, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the two-year war. In return, for US$18,250,000, Mexico gave the U.S. undisputed control of Texas, ceded the Mexican Cession in 1848, most of which today is called the American Southwest, and Texas’s borders were established at the Rio Grande.
The Compromise of 1850 set Texas’s boundaries at their present form. U.S. Senator James Pearce of Maryland drafted the final proposal where Texas ceded its claims to land which later became half of present-day New Mexico, a third of Colorado, and small portions of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming to the federal government, in return for the assumption of $10 million of the old republic’s debt.
Post-war Texas grew rapidly as migrants poured into the cotton lands of the state. They also brought or purchased enslaved African Americans, whose numbers tripled in the state from 1850 to 1860, from 58,000 to 182,566.
Texas was at war again after the election of 1860. At this time, blacks comprised 30 percent of the state’s population, and they were overwhelmingly enslaved. When Abraham Lincoln was elected, South Carolina seceded from the Union. Five other Lower South states quickly followed. A State Convention considering secession opened in Austin on January 28, 1861. On February 1, by a vote of 166–8, the Convention adopted an Ordinance of Secession from the United States. Texas voters approved this Ordinance on February 23, 1861. Texas joined the newly created Confederate States of America on March 4, 1861 ratifying the permanent C.S. Constitution on March 23.
Not all Texans favored secession initially, although many of the same would later support the Southern cause. Texas’s most notable Unionist was the state Governor, Sam Houston. Not wanting to aggravate the situation, Houston refused two offers from President Lincoln for Union troops to keep him in office. After refusing to swear an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy, Houston was deposed as governor.
While far from the major battlefields of the American Civil War, Texas contributed large numbers of men and equipment to the rest of the Confederacy. Union troops briefly occupied the state’s primary port, Galveston. Texas’s border with Mexico was known as the “backdoor of the Confederacy” because trade occurred at the border, bypassing the Union blockade. The Confederacy repulsed all Union attempts to shut down this route, but Texas’s role as a supply state was marginalized in mid-1863 after the Union capture of the Mississippi River. The final battle of the Civil War was fought near Brownsville, Texas at Palmito Ranch with a Confederate victory.
Texas descended into anarchy for two months between the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia and the assumption of authority by Union General Gordon Granger. Violence marked the early months of Reconstruction. Juneteenth commemorates the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston by General Gordon Granger, almost two and a half years after the original announcement. President Johnson, in 1866, declared the civilian government restored in Texas. Despite not meeting reconstruction requirements, Congress resumed allowing elected Texas representatives into the federal government in 1870. Social volatility continued as the state struggled with agricultural depression and labor issues.
In 1900, Texas suffered the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history during the Galveston hurricane. On January 10, 1901, the first major oil well in Texas, Spindletop, was found south of Beaumont. Other fields were later discovered nearby in East Texas, West Texas, and under the Gulf of Mexico. The resulting “oil boom” transformed Texas. Oil production eventually averaged three million barrels per day at its peak in 1972.
In 1901, the Democratic-dominated state legislature passed a bill requiring payment of a poll tax for voting, which effectively disenfranchised most blacks, and many poor whites and Latinos. In addition, the legislature established white primaries, ensuring that minorities were excluded from the formal political process. The number of voters dropped dramatically, and the Democrats crushed competition from the Republican and Populist parties.
The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl dealt a double blow to the state’s economy, which had significantly improved since the Civil War. Migrants abandoned the worst hit sections of Texas during the Dust Bowl years. Especially from this period on, blacks left Texas in the Great Migration to get work in the Northern United States or California and to escape the oppression of segregation. In 1940, Texas was 74 percent Anglo, 14.4 percent black, and 11.5 percent Hispanic.
World War II had a dramatic impact on Texas, as federal money poured in to build military bases, munitions factories, POW detention camps and Army hospitals; 750,000 young men left for service; the cities exploded with new industry; the colleges took on new roles; and hundreds of thousands of poor farmers left the fields for much better paying war jobs, never to return to agriculture. Texas manufactured 3.1 percent of total United States military armaments produced during World War II, ranking eleventh among the 48 states.
Texas modernized and expanded its system of higher education through the 1960s. The state created a comprehensive plan for higher education, funded in large part by oil revenues, and a central state apparatus designed to manage state institutions more efficiently. These changes helped Texas universities receive federal research funds. With strong investments in universities, Texas developed a diversified economy and high tech industry in the mid-twentieth century.
As of 2010, it shares the top of the list of the most Fortune 500 companies with California at 57. With a growing base of industry, the state leads in many industries, including agriculture, petrochemicals, energy, computers and electronics, aerospace, and biomedical sciences. Texas has led the nation in export revenue since 2002 and has the second-highest gross state product.
Due to its size and geologic features such as the Balcones Fault, Texas contains diverse landscapes that resemble both the U.S. southern and southwestern regions. Although Texas is popularly associated with the U.S. southwestern deserts, less than 10 percent of Texas’ land area is desert. Most of the population centers are located in areas of former prairies, grasslands, forests, and the coastline. Traveling from east to west, one can observe terrain that ranges from coastal swamps and piney woods, to rolling plains and rugged hills, and finally the desert and mountains of the Big Bend.
The 100th anniversary of Texas statehood was commemorated by a 3-cent dark blue stamp issued on December 29, 1945, in Austin, Texas (Scott #938). The design features the U.S. flag with a ray shining from the 28th star to the single star on the Texas state flag. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing printed 170,640,000 of these stamps on the rotary press, perforated 11×10½.