One of the United States, so called, according to tradition, from the Comanche's, who, on discovering the country exclaimed "Tehas! Tehas!" which, in their language signified, "The happy hunting ground." According to other authority, it was named Texas, by the Spanish commander De Leon, to commemorate kindness he received from the Asimais Indians of this region, on visiting them in 1689, the appellation, signifying, in their dialect, "friends." It lies between 26° and 36°30' north latitude, and 93°20' and 107° west longitude from Greenwich. It is bounded north by New Mexico, and the Indian Territory, the latter of which is separated in part by the Red river, east by Arkansas and Louisiana, the later being separated in part by the Sabine, southeast by the gulf of Mexico, and southwest by Mexico, from which it is separated by the Rio Grande. Its superficial area is 225,000 square miles.
Physical Aspect-- The general aspect of this state is that of a vast inclined plain, gradually sloping eastward from the mountains on the westerly side to the coast. From the borders of the Mexican gulf, and ranging inland from 30 to 75 miles, the surface is even; but unlike any of the other southern states, it is remarkably free from marshes, or swamps. The country between the Sabine and Galveston bay consists mostly of barren prairies, except along the streams, where it is woody and flat. The remaining portion of the coast, southwestward, is low and sandy, and for some distance inland, the eye is relieved by beautiful prairies, insulated groves, and meandering streams. The soil of this region is mostly, if not wholly, made up of alluvion, which is often remarkably fertile, and of great depth. Next in order comes the "rolling country" which extends inland from 150 to 200 miles further, presenting a delightful country, diversified by fertile prairies, pleasing woodlands, and numerous rivulets, fed from the purest springs. Limestone and sandstone form the common substrata of this region, the surface soil being a rich, friable loam, mixed more or less with sand. The upper, or mountainous region, situated chiefly in the western section of the state, forms a part of the great Sierra Madre, or Mexican Alps, the remotest extremity of which consists of an elevated table land, "where the prairies not infrequently resemble the vast steppes of Asia, except in their superior fertility."
Mountains-- The chief mountains are, the Guadalupe and Oregon ranges, which lie in the western part of the state.
Rivers, Lakes and Bays-- The principle rivers are, the Rio del Norte or Rio Grande, Neches, Trinity, Brazos Dios, Colorado, Guadalupe, La Vaca, San Antonio, Nueces, Salado, Sabine, Red and San Jacinto. Sabine and Caddo lakes lie partly in this state. The chief bays are, the Galveston, Matagorda, Gopano, Espirtu, Santo and Corpus Christi.
Islands-- The principle of these are Galveston, Matagorda, St Joseph, Mustang and Padre.
Climate-- The climate is decidedly more healthy than that of Louisiana, or any of the other gulf states; still, on the low, alluvial coast, intermittents are prevalent in summer and autumn, but the yellow fever is rarely known. From March till October but little rain falls, though gusts of wind with thunder, frequently occur. During the rest of the year wet weather generally prevails. The winters are warm and mild on the coast, and for some distance inland snow is seldom seen, except on the higher mountains, or table lands. From April to September the thermometer near the coast ranges from 63° to 100° F. The greatest heats, however, are tempered by strong and constant breezes, which begin to blow soon after the rising of the sun, and continue until afternoon. The nights throughtout the middle region are refreshing and cool during the year.
Productive Resources-- The chief products of this state are, horses, mules, neat cattle, sheep, swine, wool, cotton, tobacco, oranges, figs, wine, olives, dates, sugarcane, wheat, rye, barley, oats, rice, potatoes, and Indian corn. Cotton and sugarcane are the agricultural staples. The mineral and fossil resources are, silver, iron, coal, bitumen, nitre, granite, limestone, slate and gypsum. Salt may be manufactured from numerous lakes and springs. Buffalo and wild horses are found in vast numbers on the prairies.
Manufactures-- Texas at present is wholly an agricultural state; but it possesses all the prerequisites for becoming eminently a manufacturing one. Its waterpower is abundant; its labor cheap; and in its cotton, wool, iron &c, may be found material to supply the demand of a manufacturing industry to almost an unlimited extent.
Railroads and Canals-- Texas is as yet without these important aids to internal commerce. Several railroads have been projected; among them may be mentioned, one extending from the Red river to the Gulf of Mexico.
Commerce-- The direct foreign commerce of Texas is small amounting in 1850, to but about $50,000. Its coasting trade, however, is of more importance. The shipping owned within the state amounts to about 50,000 tons.
Education-- The principle collegiate intuitions in Texas are, the Baylor university at Independence found in 1844; the University of San Augustine; Wesleyan college at San Augustine; Rutersville college and University of Nacogdoches. Its public school fund is derived principally from the school lands, and common schools are being established throughout the state
Population-- In 1820 about 3,000; in 1850 was 213,492. Number of slaves in 1850 was 50,161.
Government-- The legislative power is vested in a senate and house of representatives. The senators are elected by the people, by districts, for the term of four years, one half being chosen biennially; their number is not to be less than 19, nor more than 31. The representatives are elected for two years, by the people by countries; the number is not to be less than 45, nor more than 90. The executive power is vested in a governor, elected by the people, at the time and place of elections for members of the legislature; he holds his office for the term of two years, but is not eligible for more than four years in any term of six years. At the same time, a lieutenant governor is chosen for the same term, who is president of the senate, and succeeds the governor in case of death, resignation, &c of the latter. The judicial power is vested in a supreme court of three judges, in district courts, and in such inferior courts, as the legislature may, from time to time, establish. The judges of the supreme and district courts are appointed by the governor, and hold their offices for six years. The right of suffrage is granted to every free white male person over the age of 21 years, a citizen of the United States, who shall have resided in the state one year next preceding an election, and in the last six months within the district in which he offers to vote. The creation, extension or renewal of any banking or discounting company is prohibited. There is no imprisonment for debt.
History-- The present state of Texas embraces a part of the extensive country of Louisiana, as claimed by France, prior to the year 1763. It also comprised a province of Mexico, in the Provincias Internas, and remained as such, under Spanish, and subsequently under Mexican rule, until it declared its independence, in 1836. The first post in this country was established at Bexar, by the Spaniards, in 1681. In the year 1685, La Salle, in attempting to establish a colony at the mouth of the Mississippi was deceived by his reckoning and landed at the head of Matagorda bay, within the present limits of Texas, where the settlement of St Louis was formed. Although this little colony was soon after broken up by the Indians, yet, as the standard of France had first been planted there, this region was thenceforth claimed as an appendage of Louisiana. With the Exception of one or two unimportant missions, no other settlements were made in Texas until 1692, when a Spanish colony was planted at San Antonio de Bexar. Owing to various circumstances, it remained almost entirely unknown to the rest of the world, until the breaking out of the first Mexican revolution, in 1810. The only settlements of importance at that time were those of San Antonio de Bexar, Nacogdoches and La Bahia or Goliad. From the unsettled state of the country immigration was prevented, and it was not until after the second Mexican revolution, when she achieved her independence, in 1821, that any substantial advances were made toward further colonization. From this period emigrants in large numbers, mostly from the United States, continued to flow into Texas, under the encouragement of Mexico. When the federal constitution was overthrown, in 1834, the people of Texas refused to acknowledge the new government. They sued for admission into the Mexican confederacy, as an independent state in 1832, but were refused, as Mexico was jealous of the growing power of the province. In 1835, a Mexican army was sent to reduce them to submission. In March 1836, Texas declared itself an independent republic, and elected David G Burnett president. A constitution was formed, having for its basis that of the United States. The battle of San Jacinto was fought on the 21 Apr, between the Texan troops, under General Houston, and the Mexican army, under President Santa Ana, in which the letter was signally defeated. General Houston was elected president of the republic in September following. It sought for admission into the Union, which was granted by an act of Congress passed in February 1845. On the 04 Jul following the people of Texas, in convention, adopted a state constitution, and it became an independent state of the Union