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State of Texas
Flag of Texas State seal of Texas
Flag of Texas Seal
Nickname(s): Lone Star State
Motto(s): Friendship
Before Statehood Known as
The Republic of Texas
Map of the United States with Texas highlighted
Official language(s) No official language
See languages of Texas
Demonym Texan
Capital Austin
Largest city Houston
Largest metro area Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington[1]
Area  Ranked 2nd in the US
 - Total 268,820 sq mi
(696,241 km²)
 - Width 773 miles (1,244 km)
 - Length 790 miles (1,270 km)
 - % water 2.5
 - Latitude 25° 50′ N to 36° 30′ N
 - Longitude 93° 31′ W to 106° 39′ W
Population  Ranked 2nd in the US
 - Total 20,851,820
 - Density 79.6/sq mi 
30.75/km² (28th in the US)
 - Highest point Guadalupe Peak[2]
8,749 ft  (2,667 m)
 - Mean 1,700 ft  (520 m)
 - Lowest point Gulf of Mexico coast[2]
0 ft  (0 m)
Admission to Union  December 29, 1845 (28th)
Governor Rick Perry (R)
Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst (R)
U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R)
John Cornyn (R)
Congressional Delegation List
Time zones  
 - most of state Central: UTC-6/-5
 - tip of West Texas Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Abbreviations TX Tex. US-TX
Website www.texas.gov
Map of Texas, showing major cities and roads
Map of Texas, showing major cities and roads

Texas (IPA: /ˈtɛksəs/) is a state geographically located in the South Central United States. Texas is also known as the Lone Star State. Austin is the state capital. Texas is the second largest U.S. state in both area and population, with an area of 268,820 square miles (696,200 km²) and a growing population of 23.9 million. Houston is the state's largest city. The Dallas/Fort Worth area is the largest metropolitan statistical area.

Traveling from east to west, the landscape of Texas gradually evolves from that of the Deep South into that of the desert Southwest, going from piney woods to semi-forests of oak and cross timbers, into rolling plains and prairie, then finally to desert in the Big Bend. It is these wide open spaces of the Texas prairie that have lent currency to the phrase that "everything is bigger in Texas."[3] Due to its long history as a center of the American cattle industry, Texas is associated throughout much of the world with the image of the cowboy.

Historically and culturally, partly due to settlement patterns and its membership in the Confederacy, Texas has close ties to the American South. However, having once been both a Spanish and Mexican possession, it can also be classified as a Southwestern state. While most residents acknowledge these categories, many claim an independent "Texan" identity superseding regional labels.

Spain was the first European country to claim Texas. In 1836 it became the independent Republic of Texas. In 1845 it joined the United States as the 28th state, causing the Mexican-American War and planting seeds for the U.S. Civil War. The discovery of oil in the early 1900s led to an economic boom in the state. It has become economically diversified, with a growing base in high technology.


[edit] Etymology

Texas state welcome sign
Texas state welcome sign

The state's name derives from táyshaʔ, a word in the Caddoan language of the Hasinai, which means "friends" or "allies".[4][5][6]

The word "Texas" is part of American English vernacular in ways not directly related to the state. Due to the state's large geographic size, the term "Texas-sized" is often used to describe big things.[7][8] The state's name has been used as part of several brands such as the Louisville, Kentucky restaurant chain, Texas Roadhouse, and the multinational semiconductor corporation, Texas Instruments.

The abbreviated form of "Texas", "Tex", has been used as a nickname for someone having been born and/or raised in the state like former Dallas Cowboys president and general manager Tex Schramm. Tex is used as a prefix for several Texas related words including Tex-Mex or the resturant chain Texadelphia. The nickname, The Lone Star State, comes from the single star of the former Republic of Texas that symbolized the Texas's fight for independence.[9]

[edit] History

Main article: History of Texas

Prior to European colonization, Texas was inhabited by Native American nations such as the Caddo, Comanche and Apache. Spain was the first European country to claim the territory of Texas. Starting in the 1820s, American and European immigrants began arriving in the area. Mexico declared its independence from Spain, and Texas declared its independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836. Following this date, Texas existed as the independent republic for nearly a decade. In 1845, it joined the United States as the 28th state. Texas is the only state to enter the United States by treaty instead of territorial annexation.[10] Annexation of Texas led the United States to war with Mexico then the Mexican Cession. In the American Civil War, Texas was the 7th state to join the Confederate States of America. Near the turn of the 20th century, discovery of oil led to an economic boom in the state. Texas grew rapidly becoming the second largest state in population in 1994. Throughout the decade, the state's economy became increasingly diversified especially in high technology.

The display of the "Six Flags" in Austin, Texas includes the flags of (left to right) Castile and León (Spain), the Fleur-de-lis of France, Mexico, the Confederate States of America, the Republic of Texas, and the United States of America.
The display of the "Six Flags" in Austin, Texas includes the flags of (left to right) Castile and León (Spain), the Fleur-de-lis of France, Mexico, the Confederate States of America, the Republic of Texas, and the United States of America.[11]

[edit] Colonization

Main articles: Spanish Texas and Mexican Texas

Alonso Álvarez de Pineda, creator of the first map of the northern Gulf Coast, made the first documented European sighting of Texas in 1519.[12][13] On 6 November 1528, shipwrecked Spanish conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca became the first known European in Texas.[14] Texas was claimed as part of New Spain but was not settled immediately.[15] In 1685 La Salle established the first European community in Texas, the French colony of Fort Saint Louis.[16] The colony, located along Matagorda Bay, lasted only four years before succumbing to harsh conditions and hostile natives.[17]

Due to the perceived French encroachment, Spain established its first presence in Texas in 1691 constructing of several missions in East Texas.[18] The missions failed quickly, and Spain did not resettle Texas until two decades had passed.[19] Spain returned to East Texas in 1716, establishing several missions and a presidio to maintain a buffer between Mexico and the French territory of Louisiana.[20][21] Two years later, the first civilian settlement in Texas, San Antonio, was established as a way station between the missions and the nearest existing Spanish settlement.[22]

Fear of Indian attacks and remoteness from the rest of the New Spain discouraged settlers from moving to Texas; it remained one of the least populated provinces of New Spain.[23] San Antonio was a target for raids by the Lipan Apache.[24] In 1749, the Spanish signed a peace treaty with the Apache,[25] which angered the enemies of the Apache and resulted in raids by the Comanche, Tonkawa, and Hasinai tribes.[26] The Comanche signed a treaty with Spain in 1785[27] and later assisted in defeating the Lipan Apache and Karankawa tribes which had continued to cause difficulties for Spanish settlers.[28][29] An increase in the number of missions in the province allowed for a peaceful conversion of other tribes, and by the end of the 1700s only a few of the nomadic tribes had not been "Christianized".[30]

The Louisiana Purchase by the United States from Napoleon led to a border dispute over Texas.[31] U.S. President Thomas Jefferson insisted that the purchase included all land to the east of the Rocky Mountains and to the north of the Rio Grande.[32] The dispute was resolved in 1819, with the signing of the Adams-Onís Treaty recognizing the Sabine River as Texas's eastern boundary.[33] Two years later, the state became a province of Mexico after the Mexican War of Independence.[34]

In 1821, Texas became part of the newly independent Republic of Mexico and, in 1824, became the northern section of Coahuila y Tejas. Spain's policy of allowing only full-blooded Spaniards to settle Texas also ended with Mexico's independence. On 3 January 1823, Stephen F. Austin began a colony of 297 Anglo-American families known as the "Old Three Hundred" along the Brazos River, after Austin was authorized to do so by Governor Antonio María Martínez.[35] By 1830, the 30,000 Anglo settlers in Texas outnumbered Tejanos six to one.[36]

[edit] Independence

The Convention of 1832 and the Convention of 1833 were responses to rising unrest at policies of the Mexican government. Delegates feared the end of duty-free imports from the United States and the threat of ending slavery.[37] In 1835, Antonio López de Santa Anna, President of Mexico, created a unified constitution for all Mexican territories, including Texas.[37] The new constitution , imposed a central style of government with power concentrated in the President, and turned states into provinces with governors appointed from Mexico City. Some states around Mexico rebelled against this imposition, including Chihuahua, Zacatecas and Yucatan. Centralista forces' suppression of dissidents in Zacatecas also inspired fear of the Mexican government.[38] Texans also resented policies such as, the forcible disarmament of settlers, and the expulsion of immigrants and legal landowners originally from the United States.

Republic of Texas. The present-day outlines of the U.S. states are superimposed on the boundaries of 1836–1845
Republic of Texas. The present-day outlines of the U.S. states are superimposed on the boundaries of 1836–1845

On 2 March 1836, the Convention of 1836 signed a Declaration of Independence.[39][40] On 21 April 1836, the Texans—led by General Sam Houston—won their independence at the Battle of San Jacinto. Santa Anna's capture led to the Treaties of Velasco, which gave Texas firm boundaries. Mexico repudiated the treaties, considered Texas a breakaway province, and vowed to reconquer it. Later in 1836, the Texans adopted a constitution that formally legalized slavery. The Republic of Texas included the area of the present state of Texas, and additional unoccupied territory to the west and northwest.[38]

[edit] Statehood

Main article: Texas Annexation

Most Texans wanted their Republic to be annexed into the United States because of the Republic's defensive and financial difficulties. Events such as the Dawson Massacre and two recaptures of Béxar in Texas of 1842 added momentum to the desire for statehood.[41] However, strong Northern opposition to adding another slave state blocked Texas's admission until pro-annexation James K. Polk won the election of 1844. On 29 December 1845, Texas was admitted to the U.S. as a constituent state of the Union.[42] The Mexican–American War followed, with decisive victories by the U.S.[43]

The federal government and the new state had a dispute over territory which extended the length of the Rio Grande. This land includes most of the future states of Arizona, and New Mexico, as well as parts of Colorado, Oklahoma and Wyoming. Texas also had problems paying off the former Republic's debts. Congress settled the issue in one part of the Compromise of 1850. Texas gave up claims to the disputed land, while the national government paid the state 10 million dollars.[44]

Post-war Texas grew rapidly as migrants poured into the cotton lands of the state.[45] Numerous German immigrants started to arrive in the early 1840s because of economic, social and political conditions in their states. In 1842 German nobles organized the Adelsverein, banding together to buy land in central Texas to enable German settlement. The Revolutions of 1848 acted as another catalyst for so many immigrants that they became known as the "48ers". Many of them were educated artisans and businessmen. German immigrants continued to arrive up until the Civil War. After the war from 1865 to 1890, as many immigrants arrived from Germany as in the roughly 30 years before the war.[46] With their investments in cotton cultivation, Texas planters had brought in many enslaved blacks. They established plantations mostly in the eastern part of the state. The central area was settled more by subsistence farmers. By 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, the population of Texas totaled 604,215 and was 30 percent enslaved African Americans.[47]

[edit] Civil War, Reconstruction and Disfranchisement

On 1 February 1861, elected delegates met in convention and authorized secession from the United States, which voters later approved in state-wide referendum. The state was accepted as a charter member of the Confederate States of America on 1 March 1861.[48][4] During the American Civil War Texas was a "supply state" for the Confederate forces, due to its distance from the front lines, contributing men, especially cavalry. Texan regiments fought in every major battle throughout the war.[49] Texas was cut off from the rest of the Confederacy mid-1863, when the Union capture of the Mississippi River made large movements of men or cattle impossible. The last battle of the Civil War was fought in Texas, at Palmito Ranch, on 12 May 1865.[50]

Texas descended into anarchy during the two months between the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia and the assumption of authority by Union General Gordon Granger. Violence also marked the early months of Reconstruction, as people paid off old grudges and struggled for power.[51] Juneteenth commemorates the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation on 19 June 1865 in Galveston by General Gordon Granger, over 2-1/2 years after the original announcement.[52] President Johnson, on 20 August 1866, declared that civilian government had been restored to Texas.[53] Despite not meeting all reconstruction requirements, on 30 March 1870 the Congress readmitted Texas into the Union.[54] Social volatility continued as Texas struggled with agricultural depression and labor issues.

Like other Southern states, by the late 1870s white Democrats regained control, often with a mix of intimidation and terrorism. They passed a new constitution in 1876 that segregated schools and established a poll tax to support them, but it was not originally required for voting.[55] In 1901 the legislature passed a poll tax as a prerequisite for voter registration. Given the economic difficulties of the times, the poll tax caused participation by poor whites, African Americans and Mexican Americans to drop sharply. By the early 20th century, the Democratic Party in Texas started using a "white primary", which the state legislature authorized in 1923. This solidified the Democratic Party as white.[56] Since the Democratic Party dominated the state after 1900 for decades, the "white primary" provision further reduced what little minority participation there was in the political process, as the primaries were the true competitive contest. These provisions extended deep into the 20th century.[56]

[edit] Modern Texas

The first major oil well in Texas was Spindletop, south of Beaumont, on 10 January 1901. Other fields were later discovered nearby in East Texas, West Texas, and under the Gulf of Mexico. The resulting “Oil Boom” permanently transformed the economy of Texas.[57] Oil production eventually averaged three million barrels of oil per day at its peak in 1972.[58]

The economy, which had shown significant progress since the American Civil War, was dealt a double blow by the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Many migrants abandoned the worst hit sections of Texas during the Dust Bowl years. Especially from this period on, many blacks left Texas in the Great Migration to get work in the North or California and to escape the oppression and disfranchisement of segregation.[59] With the expanded settlement of Texas by new migrants, although the numbers of African Americans increased, their proportion of population went from 20.4 percent in 1900 to 12.4 percent in 1960.[59]

From 1950 through the 1960s, Texas modernized and dramatically expanded its system of higher education. Under the leadership of Governor John B. Connally, the state created a long-range plan for higher education, a more rational distribution of resources, and a central state apparatus designed to manage state institutions more efficiently. These changes helped Texas universities receive federal research funds during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.[60]

[edit] Geography

Main article: Geography of Texas
See also: Texas Irrigation Canals

The geography of Texas spans a wide range of features and timelines. Texas is the southernmost part of the Great Plains, which ends in the south against the folded Sierra Madre Oriental of Mexico. It is in the south-central part of the United States of America. It is considered to form part of the U.S. South and also part of the U.S. Southwest.

The Rio Grande, Red River and Sabine River are natural state borders, Oklahoma on the north, Louisiana and Arkansas on the east, & the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the south. To the west, the borders with the State of New Mexico & with the panhandle of Oklahoma are not based on natural features of terrain.

Texas's size prohibits easy categorization of the entire state in any recognized region of the United States because of vast geographic, economic, and cultural diversity within the state. The state can be divided into five human geographical regions: North, East, Central, South, and West. Texas Almanac divides Texas into four physical geographical regions: Gulf Coastal Plains, Interior Lowlands, Great Plains, and The Basin and Range Province.

Some regions, primarily East, Central, and North Texas, have a stronger association with the American South rather than the Southwest. Others, such as far West Texas and South Texas share more similarities with the latter. The upper Texas Panhandle is similar to the Midwestern United States and the South Plains parts of West Texas, is a blend of South and Southwest.

[edit] Geology

Main article: Geology of Texas
Shaded Relief Map of the Llano Estacado
Shaded Relief Map of the Llano Estacado

Texas is the southernmost part of the Great Plains, which ends in the south against the folded Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico. The continental crust here is a stable Mesoproterozoic craton which changes across a broad continental margin and transitional crust into true oceanic crust of the Gulf of Mexico. The oldest rocks in Texas date from the Mesoproterozoic and are about 1,600 million years old. These Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks underly most of the state, and are exposed in three places: Llano uplift, Van Horn, and the Franklin Mountains, near El Paso. This is overlain by mostly sedimentary rocks. The oldest sediments were deposited on the flanks of a rifted continental margin, or passive margin that developed during Cambrian time. This margin existed until Laurasia and Godwana collided in Pennsylvanian time to form Pangea. This is the buried crest of the Appalachian MountainsOuachita MountainsMarathon Mountains zone of Pennsylvanian continental collision. This orogenic crest is today buried beneath the DallasWacoAustinSan Antonio trend. During this time E. Texas was a region of high mountains and shallow seas covered W. Texas.

The late Paleozoic mountains collapsed as rifting in Jurassic time began to open the Gulf of Mexico. Pangea began to break up in the Triassic but seafloor spreading to form the Gulf of Mexico occurred only in the mid and late Jurassic. The shoreline shifted again to the eastern margin of the state and the Gulf of Mexico passive margin began to form. Today there are 9 miles (14 km) to 12 miles (19 km) of sediments buried beneath the Texas continental shelf and a large proportion of remaining US oil reserves are to be found here. At the start of its formation, the incipient Gulf of Mexico basin was restricted and seawater often evaporated completely to form thick evaporite deposits of Jurassic age. These salt deposits have buoyantly risen up through the passive margin sediments to form salt dome diapirs, commonly found in East Texas, along the Gulf coast.

East Texas outcrops consist of Cretaceous and Paleogene sediments with contain important deposits of Eocenelignite. Oil is found in the Mississippian ad Pennsylvanian sediments in the north, Permian sediments in the west, Cretaceous sediments in the east, and along the Gulf coast and out on the Texas continental shelf. Oligocene volcanic rocks are found in far west Texas, in the Big Bend area. A blanket of Miocene sediments known as the Ogallala formation in the western high plains region is an important aquifer. Texas has no active or dormant volcanoes and few earthquakes, being situated far from an active plate tectonic boundary.

[edit] Climate

Main article: Climate of Texas
See also: Catastrophic Texas Hurricanes since 1900
2004 Christmas Eve snowstorm in South Texas
2004 Christmas Eve snowstorm in South Texas

The large size of Texas and its location at the intersection of several climate zones gives the state highly variable weather. In general, though, there are three main climate zones: the humid subtropical climate (Koppen Cfa) of the eastern half of Texas, the temperate semi-arid (Koppen BSk) steppe climate of the northwestern part, including the Panhandle, and the subtropical steppe climate (nearly an arid desert climate, Koppen BSh) of the southern parts of West Texas, particularly around El Paso.

The Panhandle of the state is colder in winter than North Texas, while the Gulf Coast has mild winters. Texas has wide variations in precipitation patterns. El Paso, on the western end of the state, averages as little as 8 inches (200 mm) of annual rainfall while Houston, on the southeast Texas averages as much as 54 inches (1,400 mm) per year.[61] Dallas in the North Central region averages a more moderate 37 inches (940 mm) per year. Snowfall often falls in the winter months in the north. Maximum temperatures in the summer months average from the 80s °F (26 °C) in the mountains of West Texas and on Galveston Island to around 100 °F (38 °C) in the Rio Grande Valley. Nighttime summer temperatures range from the upper 50s °F (14 °C) in the West Texas mountains[62] to 80 °F (27 °C) in Galveston.[63]

Thunderstorms are very common in Texas, especially the eastern and northern portion of the state. Texas also experiences the highest number of tornadoes out of every state in the Union, with an average of around 139 a year. Although these tend to strike most frequently in North Texas and the Panhandle, every part of the state is subject to these violent storms.[64] Tornadoes occur mostly between the months of April-July but may strike at any time of the year.

Texas emits the most greenhouse gases of any state.[65] The state's annual carbon dioxide emissions are nearly 1.5 trillion pounds (680 billion kg). Texas would be the world's seventh-largest producer of greenhouse gases if it were an independent nation.[66][67] Much of the greenhouse gas emissions come from the state's refining and manufacturing industries which provide the bulk of the United States's petroleum products.

[edit] Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Texas
The annual Houston International Festival spotlights a different culture each year
The annual Houston International Festival spotlights a different culture each year

As of 2006, the state has an estimated population of 23,507,783, an increase of 579,275 (2.5%) from the prior year and an increase of 2,655,993 (12.7%) since the year 2000. Texas has seen an increase in population in all three subcategories—natural (births less deaths), net immigration, and net migration. The natural increase since the last census was 1,389,275 people (2,351,909 births minus 962,634 deaths), immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 801,576 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 451,910 people. The state passed New York in the 1990s to become the second-largest U.S. state in population.

As of 2004, the state has 3.5 million foreign-born residents (15.6 percent of the state population), of which an estimated 1.2 million are illegal aliens. More than one-third of the foreign-born population in Texas and 5.4 percent of the total state population comes from illegal immigration.[citation needed] Texas from 2000-2006 had the fastest growing illegal immigration rate in the nation.[68]

[edit] Race and ethnic origins

Texas Population Density Map
Texas Population Density Map

As of the 2006 US Census estimates, the racial distribution in Texas are as follows:

The largest reported ancestry groups in Texas include: Mexican (25.3%), German (10.9%), African American (10.5%), English (7.2%), and Scots-Irish (7.2%). Descendants from some of these ancestry groups are underreported. Much of the population of east, central, and north Texas have a white Protestant heritage, primarily descended from ancestors from Great Britain and Ireland. Much of central and southeast-central Texas is inhabited by whites of German descent. African Americans, who historically made up one-third of the state population during the 19th century, are concentrated in those parts of East Texas where the cotton plantation culture was most prominent prior to the American Civil War, as well as in Dallas and Houston. Because of its good jobs, from 1995-2000, Texas is one of three states in the South (others are Georgia and Maryland) that are receiving the highest numbers of black college graduates in a New Great Migration. Together with other new migrants, they settle in the major metropolitan areas.[70] Recently, the Asian population in Texas has grown—primarily in Houston and Dallas.

Several of the smaller European settlements have left their marks on the state. Many German settlements formed in frontier Texas, particularly in Fredericksburg and New Braunfels. After the European revolutions of 1848, German, Polish, Swedish, Norwegian, Czech and French immigration grew, and continued until World War I. The influence of the diverse immigrants from Europe survives in the names of towns, styles of architecture, genres of music, and varieties of cuisine. Lavaca County is predominantly Czech.

More than one-third of Texas residents are of Hispanic origin and may be of any racial group. Many have recently arrived, while Tejanos have ancestors with multigenerational ties in Texas. Hispanics dominate south, south-central, and west Texas. They are a significant proportion of residents in the San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas metropolitan areas. Immigrants (including illegal aliens)—primarily from far southern Mexico and Central America, contribute heavily to the state's growth. The influx of immigration is partially responsible for the state's having a population younger than the U.S. average.

American Indian tribes who once lived inside the boundaries of present-day Texas include Apache, Atakapan, Bidai, Caddo, Comanche, Cherokee, Kiowa, Tonkawa, Wichita, Hueco and the Karankawa of Galveston. Currently, there are three federally recognized Native American tribes that reside in Texas: the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, and the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo of Texas.[71]

[edit] Religion

Lakewood Church interior
Lakewood Church interior

Texas is a part of the strong socially conservative Evangelical Protestant, Bible Belt, and has a higher percentage of people with religious affiliation than any other state[72]. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas is home to three major evangelical seminaries, Dallas Theological Seminary, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Criswell College. The city has several of America's largest megachurches, including the Potter's House pastored by T.D Jakes and Prestonwood Baptist pastored by Jack Graham. Houston is home to the largest "church" in the nation, Lakewood Church, pastored by Joel Osteen. Lubbock, Texas has the most churches per capita in the nation.[72]

In 2000, The religious demographics of Texas were:[73]

The largest single denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Catholic Church 4,368,969, the Southern Baptist Convention 3,519,459 and the United Methodist Church 1,022,342[73]. Figures further note that there are approximately 400,000 Muslims in Texas.[74]

[edit] Cities and Towns

See also: List of cities in Texas, Population of Texas cities in 2000, and List of Texas metropolitan areas

As of 2000, six incorporated places in Texas had populations greater than 500,000, of which two are global cities: Houston and Dallas.[75] Texas has a total of 25 metropolitan areas, with four having populations over 1 million and two over 5 million. Texas has three cities with populations exceeding 1 million: Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas. This is the most cities of this size of any US state. These three are also among the 10 largest cities of the United States. Austin and Fort Worth are among the top 20 largest U.S. cities.[76] The Texas Urban Triangle is a triangular region defined by three interstate highwaysI-35 to the west (Dallas-Fort Worth to San Antonio), I-45 to the east (Dallas to Houston), and I-10 to the south (San Antonio to Houston). The region contains most of the state's largest cities and metropolitan areas, as well as nearly 75 percent of Texas' total population.[77]

San Antonio
San Antonio
City Population
city limits
Land Area
square miles (km²)
1 4 Houston 2,144,491 5,539,949 601.7 sq mi
(1,558 km²)
East Texas
2 7 San Antonio 1,296,682 1,942,217 412.1 sq mi
(1,067 km²)
South Texas
3 9 Dallas 1,232,940 6,003,967 385.0 sq mi
(997 km²)
North Texas
4 16 Austin 709,893 1,513,565 258.4 sq mi
(669 km²)
Central Texas
5 18 Fort Worth 653,320 6,003,967 298.9 sq mi
(774 km²)
North Texas
6 21 El Paso 609,415 736,310 250.5 sq mi
(649 km²)
West Texas
7 49 Arlington 362,805 6,003,967 99.0 sq mi
(257 km²)
North Texas
8 63 Corpus Christi 283,474 431,741 460.2 sq mi
(1,192 km²)
South Texas
9 69 Plano 250,096 6,003,967 71.6 sq mi
(186 km²)
North Texas
10 86 Garland 216,346 6,003,967 57.1 sq mi
(148 km²)
North Texas

[edit] Colonias

Colonias along the U.S.-Mexican border, refer to rural, unincorporated settlements which often lack basic infrastructure and which are marked by poverty. As of 2007, Texas has the largest concentration of people (approximately 400,000) living in colonias on the U.S. side of the border.[78]

[edit] Government and politics

The Texas Constitution—adopted in 1876—is the second-oldest state constitution still in effect. As with many state constitutions, it explicitly provides for the separation of powers and incorporates its bill of rights directly into the text of the constitution (as Article I). The bill of rights is considerably lengthier and more detailed than the federal Bill of Rights, and includes provisions unique to Texas.

[edit] Political system

See also: List of Texas state agencies

The executive branch consists of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Land Commissioner, Attorney General, Agriculture Commissioner, the three-member Texas Railroad Commission, the State Board of Education, and the Secretary of State. All of these positions are elected by the populace, with the exception of the Secretary of State, who is appointed by the Governor. The governor commands the state militia. The governor can veto bills passed by the Legislature and call special sessions of the Legislature (an exclusive power for the Governor). The Governor also appoints members of various executive boards and fills judicial vacancies between elections. The Comptroller decides if expected state income is sufficient to cover proposed state budgets. The executive branch also consists of state agencies, boards and commissions, whose top-level managers may be political appointees, but most of whose employees are civil service employees.

The bicameral Texas Legislature consists of the House of Representatives, with 150 members, and a Senate, with 31 members. The Speaker of the House leads the House, and the Lieutenant Governor leads the Senate. The Legislature meets in regular session biennially, but the Governor can call for special sessions as often as desired.

[edit] Justice system

Main article: Texas judicial system
See also: Capital punishment in Texas
Map outlining 254 counties of Texas
Map outlining 254 counties of Texas

The judicial system of Texas is one of the most complex in the United States, with many layers and many overlapping jurisdictions. Texas has two courts of last resort: the Texas Supreme Court, for civil cases, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Except for some municipal benches, partisan elections select judges at all levels of the judiciary; the Governor fills vacancies by appointment.Judiciary from the Handbook of Texas Online

The justice system in Texas has strict sentencing for criminals. Texas leads the nation in the curious distinction of having carried out the most executions, with 400 executions from 1982 to 2007.[79] Only capital murder is eligible for the death penalty. In 2008 the state considered a bill making rape of a child a capital crime in some instances. [80] Before 2005, the alternate sentence was life with the possibility of parole after 40 calendar years; in 2005, the law was modified to make the alternate sentence life without parole.

Known for their role in Texas law enforcement history, the Texas Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety continue to provide special law enforcement services to the state. Texas Game Wardens—law enforcement officers working for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department—are given the same amount of authority as any other law enforcement officer.

[edit] Administrative divisions

See also: List of Texas counties, List of Texas county name etymologies, and List of Texas county seat name etymologies

Texas has 32 congressional districts, the second-most after California. See map. There are 254 counties—the most of any state. Each county is run by a commissioners’ court consisting of four elected commissioners and a county judge elected from all the voters of the county. County government is similar to the "weak" mayor-council system; the county judge has no veto authority, but votes along with the other commissioners. All county elections are partisan.

Texas does not allow for consolidated city-county governments, nor does it have a form of metropolitan government. Cities and counties are permitted to enter "interlocal agreements" to share services. Further, counties are not granted home rule status; their powers are strictly defined by state law. The state does not have townships— areas within a county are either incorporated or unincorporated. Incorporated areas are part of a municipality. The county provides services to unincorporated areas. Municipalities are classified as either "general law" or "home rule". A municipality may elect home rule status once it exceeds 5,000 population with voter approval and may keep it even if it drops below the population requirements. All municipal elections in Texas are nonpartisan.

[edit] Political parties

Governor Rick Perry
Governor Rick Perry
See also: Disfranchisement after the Civil War

After regaining power near the end of Reconstruction, the Democratic Party held a monolithic political presence in Texas until the late 20th century, secured chiefly by creating barriers to voting. As in other "Solid South" states, whites harbored a deep resentment towards freedmen and the Republican Party after the American Civil War. Texas became a one-party state, with a political system that barred most minorities and poor whites from participating. White Democrats in the state legislature passed Jim Crow laws such as poll tax laws and white primaries that effectively disfranchised most blacks and Mexican Americans, and many poor whites from voting for more than 60 years. The United States Supreme Court case Smith v. Allwright (1944) and passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 helped end these discriminatory laws and practices.

After the 1960s, Conservative Democrats in Texas began to endorse Republican presidential candidates. Some scholars attribute the change to the success of Nixon's Southern Strategy in his campaign and the Republican Party's attempt to build strength in the South. When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he reportedly said "We have lost the South."[citation needed] Analysts have also attributed the shift of white conservatives in the South to the Republican Party as being due to shared values on gun rights, abortion, crime and welfare.[citation needed]

In 1978, the state elected its first post-reconstruction Republican governor. In 2003 Republicans for the first time gained control of the state legislature. Today, Republicans control most of Texas's House delegation, and both U.S. Senators. Of the 32 congressional districts in Texas, 19 seats are held by Republicans and 13 by Democrats. The Republicans that represent Texas in the U.S. Senate are Kay Bailey Hutchison (since 1993) and John Cornyn (since 2003). Since 1994, Texans have not elected a Democrat to a statewide office. The remains of the state's Democratic presence is primarily comprised of minority groups and urban voters, particularly in Austin. Democrats and independents still hold many positions in city governments.

The Texas political atmosphere leans towards fiscal and social conservatism. Since 1980, the majority of Texas voters have supported Republican Presidential candidates. In 2000 and 2004, Republican George W. Bush won Texas with 60.1% of the vote. He was a "favorite son" as a recent Governor of the state. Austin is considered the state's most liberal city or "populist" bastion. Houston is among the few urban areas that consistently vote Republican, but their metropolitan areas are very divided politically. Dallas remains approximately split. In the southwest part of the state, particularly in El Paso, Democrats are strong.[citation needed]

[edit] Economy

Main article: Economy of Texas
See also: List of military installations in Texas and Wind power in Texas

In the fourth quarter of 2006, Texas had a gross state product of $1.09 trillion, the second highest in the U.S.[81] [82] Gross state product per capita as of 2005 was $42,975. The state is home to the most Fortune 500 companies in the United States. [83][84] Texas's diverse economy includes industries such as energy and aeronautics industries, defense, information technology, tourism, entertainment, and agriculture. Texas's growth can be attributed to the availability of jobs, the low cost of housing, the lack of a personal state income tax, high quality of education, low taxation and limited regulation of business, a central geographic location, a limited government, favorable weather, and abundant natural resources. Since 2003, Texas state officials have created various initiatives like the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund to develop the state's economy.

Much economic activity in Texas is regional– for example, the timber industry is important in East Texas's economy but a non-factor elsewhere, while Houston, the state's largest urban economic enclave, stands at the center of the petrochemical, biomedical research trades, and aerospace (particularly NASA). Meanwhile, Dallas houses the state's predominant defense manufacturing interests and the expansive information technology labor market.

In 2006, for the fifth year in a row, Texas led the nation in export revenues. Texas exports for 2006 totaled $150.8 billion, which is $22.1 billion more than 2005 and represents a 17.2 percent increase. In 2002, the Port of Houston was 6th among the top sea ports in the world in terms of total cargo volume;[85] Air Cargo World rated Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport as "the best air cargo airport in the world".[86]

Texans pride their state's history, but they also seek new social and technological developments. Two hotbeds for the high tech industries are "Silicon Hills" (the Austin area) and the "Silicon Prairie", (north Dallas area). The companies Dell, Inc. and Texas Instruments, and the former company Compaq are headquartered in Texas.

Since the discovery of oil in Texas, energy has been an important industry in Texas. The known petroleum deposits of Texas are about 8 billion barrels, which makes up approximately one-third of the known U. S. supply. Texas has 4.6 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves.[87] The petroleum companies Conoco-Phillips, Exxon-Mobil, Halliburton, Valero, Plains All American Pipeline and Marathon Oil are based in Texas. The state is also a leader in alternative energy sources producing the most wind power of any state,[88]

Texas leads the nation in number of cattle. Cotton is the leading crop and the state's second-most-valuable farm product. Texas also leads nationally in production of grain sorghum, watermelons, cabbages, and spinach. Wheat, corn, and other grains are also important crops.

[edit] Culture

Main article: Culture of Texas
See also: List of people from Texas, List of Texas symbols, Don't Mess with Texas, Gone to Texas, and Architecture of Texas
Big Tex has presided over every Texas State Fair since 1952
Big Tex has presided over every Texas State Fair since 1952

Texas historically has had a culture that has been a blend of Southern (Dixie), Western (frontier), and Mexican influences. In addition to Texas's traditional culture, immigration has caused Texas to become a melting pot of different cultures around the world. Texas's strong academic institutions and strong biomedical, energy, manufacturing and aerospace industries are the state's primary attractions for immigrants.

[edit] Arts

Further information: Music of Texas

Houston is one of only five American cities with permanent professional resident companies in all of the major performing arts disciplines (the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Ballet, and The Alley Theatre).[89] Known for the vibrancy of its visual and performing arts, the Houston Theatre District—a 17-block area in the heart of Downtown Houston—is ranked second in the country in the number of theatre seats in a concentrated downtown area with 12,948 seats for live performances and 1,480 movie seats.[90]

Fort Worth is an epicenter of the North Texas region's art scene. Founded in 1892,The Modern, formerly the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, is the oldest art museum in Texas. The city is also home to the Kimbell Art Museum, the Amon Carter Museum, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, the Will Rogers Memorial Center, and the Bass Performance Hall downtown. The Arts District of Downtown Dallas is home to several arts venues. Notable venues in the district include the Dallas Museum of Art, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, The Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, and the Nasher Sculpture Center.

The Deep Ellum district within Dallas became popular during the 1920s and 1930s as the prime jazz and blues hotspot in the Southern United States. The name Deep Ellum is thought to have originally derived from local tongues saying "Deep Elm", but that came out as "Deep Ellum". Artists like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, and Bessie Smith played in original Deep Ellum clubs like The Harlem and The Palace. Today, the district is home to hundreds of artists who live in lofts and operate in studios throughout the district alongside bars, pubs, and concert venues. One major art infusion in the area is the city's lax stance on graffiti, thusly several public ways including tunnels, sides of buildings, sidewalks, and streets are covered in murals.

Austin, Texas, the The Live Music Capital of the World, boasts the most venues per capita of any U.S. city.[91] The city's music revolves around the nightclubs on 6th Street and an annual film, music, and multimedia festival known as South by Southwest. The longest-running concert music program on American television, Austin City Limits, is filmed on The University of Texas at Austin campus or in Zilker Park. Austin City Limits and Waterloo Records run the Austin City Limits Music Festival, an annual music and art festival held at Zilker Park. Over the past couple of decades, San Antonio evolved into the "Nashville of Tejano music." The Tejano Music Awards have provided a forum to create greater awareness and appreciation for Tejano music and culture.

[edit] Sports

Main article: Sports in Texas
Further information: List of Texas sports teams and List of University Interscholastic League events
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers

While American football has long been considered “king” in the state, Texans today enjoy a wide variety of sports.[92] Texans have a plethora of professional sports teams to cheer for. Texas is home to two NFL teams, the Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys; two Major League Baseball teams, the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros; three NBA teams: the Houston Rockets, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Dallas Mavericks; and one National Hockey League team, the Dallas Stars. Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area is one of only 13 American cities that have sports teams from the "Big Four" professional leagues. Several other professional teams include the WNBA, Arena Football League, and Major League Soccer.

Collegiate athletics have deep significance in Texas culture. The state has the most Division I-FBS schools in America, ten. The four largest programs are part of the Big 12 Conference: the Baylor Bears, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, and Texas Tech Red Raiders. According to a survey of Division I-A coaches, the rivalry between the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas, the Red River Shootout, is considered the third best collegiate rivalry in the nation.[93] The largest interstate rivalry, the Lone Star Showdown, is between Texas A&M University and the University of Texas.

As described the book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, high school football is a major part of Texas culture. Texas is considered an American Football recruiting hotbed for college teams nationwide. In 2006, 170 players in the NFL were from Texas high schools.[94] The University Interscholastic League (UIL) organizes most primary and secondary school competitions. Events organized by UIL include athletic events as well as academic subjects such as mathematics.

From 1905-1915, people in Dallas and Fort Worth turned out by the thousands for horse racing, which was usually tied to the state fair schedule. Dallas established a Jockey Club early on, and the Fort Worth Driving Club (for owners of Standardbred trotters and pacers) had 101 members when it opened in 1905. Trotters raced at a park in Fort Worth, but both cities had crowds for each style of racing.

Texans also enjoy going to the rodeo. The annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the largest rodeo in the world. The event begins with trail rides that originate from several points throughout the state, all of which convene at Reliant Park. The World’s first rodeo was held in Pecos, Texas on 4 July 1883.[95] The Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show in Fort Worth, Texas has a cowboy, a Mexican and many traditional rodeos. The State Fair of Texas is held in Dallas, Texas each year at Fair Park.

Other popular sports in Texas include golf, fishing, auto racing, lacrosse, and soccer.

[edit] Transportation

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT, pronounced "tex-dot") is a governmental agency that "provide[s] safe, effective, and efficient movement of people and goods" throughout the state. Though the public face of the agency is generally associated with maintenance of the state's immense highway system, the agency is also responsible for aviation in the state and overseeing public transportation systems.

[edit] Highways

I-10 and I-45 interchange in Houston
I-10 and I-45 interchange in Houston

Texas freeways have been heavily traveled since the 1948 opening of the Gulf Freeway in Houston.[96] As of 2005, there were 79,535 miles (127,999 km) of public highway in Texas (up from 71,000 miles (114,263 km) in 1984).[97] Tollways are common in Texas primarily due to lack of funds from traditional revenue sources. There are approximately 17 current toll roads in the state with several additional roads proposed.[97] In the western part of the state, both I-10 and I-20 have a speed limit of 80 miles per hour (130 km/h), the highest in the nation.[98][99]

TxDOT planners have sought ways to reduce rush hour congestion, primarily through high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes for vans and carpools. The ramp design "Texas T" allows vehicles to directly enter or exit an HOV lane without crossing multiple lanes. Timed freeway entrances, which regulate the addition of cars to the freeway, are also common. Frontage or service roads are common on Texas's freeways even in remote areas. Texas U-turns are standard components of the state's frontage road systems. New landscaping projects and a longstanding ban on new billboards are ways Houston has tried to control the potential side effects of this convenience road.

[edit] Airports

See also: List of airports in Texas

The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, located nearly equidistant from downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth, is the largest airport in the state, the second largest in the United States, and fourth largest in the world.[100] In terms of traffic, DFW is the busiest in the state, fourth busiest in the United States,[101] and sixth busiest in the world.[102] The airport serves 135 domestic destinations and 40 international. DFW is the largest and main hub for American Airlines, the world's largest in terms of total passengers-miles transported[103] and passenger fleet size.[104]

Texas's second-largest air facility is Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). Houston is the headquarters of Continental Airlines, and is the airline's largest hub. IAH offers service to the most Mexican destinations of any U.S. airport. IAH ranks second among U.S. airports with scheduled non-stop domestic and international service.

Southwest Airlines, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, began its operations at Dallas Love Field.[105] It is the largest airline in the United States by number of passengers carried domestically per year and the largest airline in the world by number of passengers carried.[106] The airline's growth from its original hub is limited by the Wright Amendment of 1979. The amendment originally limited most nonstop flights to destinations within Texas and neighboring states. The limits were expanded in 1997 and 2005, and a law repealing the amendment was enacted in October 2006. That law eliminates some of the restrictions and leaves others intact until 2014.[107]

[edit] Passenger rail transportation

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), the Dallas area public transportation authority, began operating the first light rail system in the Southwest United States in 1996. The DART light rail currently covers 48 miles (77 km) of track. DART currently has three lines with 35 stations in multiple cities. Current construction will add an additional 46.2 miles (74 km) of rail with 28 new stations. The Trinity Railway Express (TRE) is a commuter rail service between Fort Worth & Dallas provided by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (the T) and Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). The TRE links downtown Fort Worth, downtown Dallas, and DFW Airport and as such is the only commuter line in the United States to link two major metropolitan downtown areas and an international airport.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (METRO) operates light rail service in Harris County, which includes Houston. METRO's light rail, METRORail, opened on 1 January 2004. Currently the track runs about 8 miles (13 km) from Downtown Houston to the Texas Medical Center and Reliant Park. METRO also operates bus service in Harris County and to two cities in Fort Bend County. METRORail is in the process of adding over 30 miles (48 km) of light rail, as well as 28 miles (45 km) of commuter rail by the year 2015.

Currently, intercity passenger rail service in Texas is limited from both network and frequency viewpoint, with just three Amtrak trains serving the state: the daily Texas Eagle (Chicago–San Antonio), the tri-weekly Sunset Limited (New Orleans–Los Angeles), and the daily Heartland Flyer (Fort Worth–Oklahoma City).

[edit] Trans-Texas Corridor

Main article: Trans-Texas Corridor

The Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) also known has the NAFTA freeway is a transportation network in the planning and early construction stages. The network, as planned, would be composed of a 4,000-mile (6,000 km) network of supercorridors up to 1,200 feet (370 m) wide to carry parallel links of tollways, rails, and utility lines.[108]

[edit] Healthcare

The Commonwealth Fund ranks the Texas healthcare system the third worst in the nation.[109] It also ranks Texas close to last in access to healthcare, quality of care, avoidable hospital spending, and equity among various groups.[109] Several factors are causes of the state's poor rankings: politics, a high poverty rate, and illegal immigration, Texas having the highest rate in the nation.[68] In May 2006, Texas initiated the program "code red" in response to the report that Texas—at 25.1 percent—has the largest un-insured population of the nation.[110]

The Trust for America's Health ranked Texas 12th in the nation for adult obesity of 24.6 percent, and 4th highest overweight high school student population, 13.9 percent.[111] The 2008 Men's Health obesity survey ranked four Texas cities in the top 25 fattest cities in America; Houston ranked 6th, Dallas 7th, El Paso 8th, and Arlington 14th.[112] The only Texan city in the top 25 among the "fittest cities" in America, Austin, ranked 21st.[112] The same survey has however graded the state's obesity initiatives favorably with a "B+".[112]

In 2003, voters voted for Proposition 12 for medical malpractice tort reform. Non-economic damages caps on malpractice lawsuits are set at $250,000, in an attempt to "curb rising malpractice premiums, and control escalating healthcare costs".[113]

[edit] Medical Research

Aerial of Texas Medical Center in Houston
Aerial of Texas Medical Center in Houston
See also: List of hospitals in Texas

Texas is home some of the world's elite research medical centers. The state has eight medical schools,[114] three dental schools, and one optometry school.

The Texas Medical Center, in Houston, is the world's largest concentration of research and healthcare institutions, with 45 member institutions in the Texas Medical Center[115] San Antonio's South Texas Medical Center facilities rank sixth in clinical medicine research impact in the United States[116] with the University of Texas Health Science Center recognized as a "world leading research and educational institution".[117]

Dallas is home to the American Heart Association and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, "among the top academic medical centers in the world".[118] The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at the center employs the most medical school Nobel laureates in the world.[119][120] The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center is one of the world’s highly regarded academic institutions devoted to cancer patient care, research, education and prevention.[121]

Texas has two Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) laboratories: one at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston,[122] and the other at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio—the first privately owned BSL-4 lab in the United States.[123]

[edit] Education

Main article: Education in Texas

The American Legislative Exchange Council ranked Texas 26 among the 50 states for education in 2007. Texas students ranked higher than average in on mathematics, but lower in reading. Between 2005-2006, Texas spent $7,584 per pupil ranking it below the national average of $9,295. The pupil/teacher ratio was 15.0 slightly below average. Instructors were paid $38,130, below the national average. 10.8% of the educational funding in Texas came from the federal government, 89.22% from state funding.[97]

[edit] Primary and Secondary Education

Plano East Senior High School, in 2005, had the largest graduating class in the nation.
Plano East Senior High School, in 2005, had the largest graduating class in the nation.[124]

The state's public school systems are administered by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Texas has over 1,000 school districts—all but one of the school districts in Texas are separate from any form of municipal government. School districts may (and often do) cross city and county boundaries—an exception to this rule is Stafford Municipal School District. School districts have the power to tax their residents and to assert eminent domain over privately owned property.

The Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) is a standardized test used in Texas primary and secondary schools to assess students' attainment of reading, writing, math, science, and social studies skills required under Texas education standards. Though created before the No Child Left Behind Act was passed, it complies with the law. With Senate Bill 1031 in spring 2007, Texas legislators repealed TAKS in favor of End of Course exams in high school. Students who enter ninth grade in the 2011-2012 school year will have to take end-of-course exams in core subjects. Students who entered ninth grade before 2011 will still have to pass the exit-level TAKS to graduate.[125]

The "Robin Hood plan" is an controversial tax redistribution system that provides court-mandated equitable school financing for all school districts in the state. Property tax revenue from property-wealthy school districts is distributed to those in property-poor districts, in an effort to equalize the financing and provide opportunity for children of all districts throughout Texas.

Texas also has numerous private schools of all types. The TEA has no authority over private school operations; private schools may or may not be accredited, and achievement tests are not required for private school graduating seniors. The state has few restrictions on homeschooling. Neither TEA nor the local school district has authority to regulate home school activities.

[edit] Post Secondary Education

Further information: List of colleges and universities in Texas
The University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin

There are 181 colleges, universities and dozens of other institutions engaged in the research and development of Texas.[citation needed] Most public universities are members of five different systems: University of Houston, University of North Texas, University of Texas, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, and Texas State University. University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, University of Houston and the University of North Texas are Texas's four largest comprehensive doctoral degree-granting institutions with a combined enrollment of over 145,000.

The state also has many private universities. Rice University—one of the country’s leading teaching and research universities—ranked the 17th-best university overall in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.[126] Additionally, Baylor University—the oldest university in the state—was chartered by the Republic of Texas.

Texas's controversial alternative affirmative action plan, Texas House Bill 588, guarantees Texas students who graduated in the top ten percent of their high school class automatic admission to all state-funded universities. The bill was created to encourage diversity while avoiding problems identified with policy in the Hopwood v. Texas (1996) case.

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes

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  18. ^ Chipman (1992), p. 89.
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[edit] References

[edit] Further reading

History of Texas
French Texas
Spanish Texas
Mexican Texas
Republic of Texas
Texas in the Civil War
State of Texas

[edit] External links

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Coordinates: 31° N 100° W

Texas 210
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Texas 254
Texas 281
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Texas 361
Texas 409
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Texas 469
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Texas 806
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Texas 830
Texas 832
Texas 903
Texas 915
Texas 936
Texas 940
Texas 956
Texas 972
Texas 979