Texas Culture and History A Timeline
The large and expansive state of Texas is the second largest state in the US both in terms of area and population. The state is bordered by Mexico along the south with New Mexico to the west and Louisiana to the east. Also adjacent to the state are Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Texas is as rich in history as southern hospitality and its culture is a mix of southwestern meets swinging Dixie and western frontier. Below is the timeline and history of the Lone Star state along with information about area culture and how it derived.
· Before the European Era
Through extensive archeological findings, researchers have determined that the state of Texas was once inhabited by three sets of cultures native to the area. These cultures lived in the region prior to European settlement in the land. The three groups were the Pueblo, the Mississippian culture, and the Mesoamerican civilizations.
The Pueblo culture extended from the upper Rio Grande area and was centered to the west of Texas. The Mississippian culture extended all the way along the Mississippi River and valley to the east of Texas and the Mesoamerican civilization lied to the south of Texas.
Culture in the area during the pre-European era was derived from a variety of peoples include Native American tribes that just inside the boundaries of Texas. Apache, Bidai, Comanche, Choctaw, and Wichita are just some of the Native American tribes that lived in Texas during this time.
· French Colonization
The first Europeans to arrive in Texas included the Spanish explorer Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca in 1528. Settlement did not occur until 1685. The colony was short-lived due to hostile native attacks and harsh weather conditions that the settlers will not prepared for.
By the early 1700s Spain became concerned that France would take over the area and sent many missions to the eastern portion of Texas. France, however, inhabited Louisiana, and took little interest in Texas. Around the year 1717, San Antonio was established as the first Spanish civilian settlement in the state of Texas.
Peace treaties arose later on when hostile natives began discouraging Spanish immigrants from invading the land. Once the peace treaties were enforced more and more Christian missions were on their way to Texas from Spain. Only a few nomadic tribes remained and most were converted to Christianity by missionaries in the area.
By 1825, Texas had a population in existence of nearly 3,500 people and was increasingly growing. Most of the population came from Mexican descent but by 1834 Texas grew to nearly ten times that with over 37,000 residents, of which only 7,800 were of Mexican descent.
Over the years Texas continued to grow in population but since the United States had not purchased the state there was unrest that remained. Division between Mexico and the United States continued throughout the region and it was not until the state was annexed did the divisive beliefs come to an end. Also, political freedom became a hot topic of argument while some wanted freedom others longed to annex with the United States.
· Republic of Texas
Despite tensions throughout Texas the ultimate annexation of the state finally occurred. Mexico attempted to capture the town of San Antonio on more than one occasion and defeated the people in a battle known as the Dawson Massacre. The republic, however, did survive and Mexico was unable to keep control of the area. The improper defense by Texas prompted the momentum of being annexed into the United States.
Mexico’s attacks came to an end once annexation took place and the area was protected more effectively. Although tensions remained the battles decreased and ultimately stopped.
· Texas Annexation
Annexation with the United States was attempted to be negotiated in 1837 but strong abolitionist opposition slowed the process. In 1844 James Polk was elected into office and during this year Texas was finally annexed. Congress admitted and recognized Texas as a state of the Union in December of 1845.
Immediately following the annexation of Texas Mexico dropped diplomacy with the United States. Fights for the border ended when Mexico opted for a substantial amount of money in exchange for control over the Texan border.
Once the border control issues were resolved after the Compromise of 1850, Texas began to grow as migrants flooded the area in an attempt to work in the cotton lands of the region. The area began to boom and Texas became a hotspot for settlement from migrants all over the country.
· Civil War Texas
After President Lincoln entered office in 1860 Texas was at war. The election triggered the secession of South Carolina from the Union. The Civil War was in full swing and although Texas was far from the actual battlefields, men and equipment was sent in support of the Confederacy. The border between Mexico and Texas became known as the “backdoor of the Confederacy.”
The last battle of the Civil War took place near Brownsville, Texas and the confederates won. Anarchy broke out and the state underwent reconstruction until 1866. In 1870 Texas was admitted back into the Union and became recognized as a state again. Labor issues and agricultural woes were prevalent in the area but soon began to ease.
· 20th Century Texas
The oil industry completely transformed the state of Texas after suffering from agricultural depression and economic instability. The Great Depression left the majority of the country facing hard times but when the oil boom hit, Texas was changed. The first oil well was located near Beaumont, Texas and later oil fields were discovered in the eastern and western portions of the state including the Gulf of Mexico.
In an effort to expand revenues and modernize the state, the education system was expanded throughout the 1960s. Higher education was funded by oil reserve revenues and universities were able to reach funding and research backing. Numerous state universities and private colleges are found in Texas today.