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Climate & Weather: High temperatures vary around the state but most top out in the mid 90's during the summer. The winter lows are usually around the low 40's.  Texas has all variations of climate and weather in its huge area.  The Rio Grande Valley is a hot, sub-humid clime while the northern Panhandle area is cold and semi-arid.  Rainfall may range from 55 inches a year in the east to on 10 inches a year in the dry western portion of the state.  For instance, El Paso may have 44 days of precipitation per year, while Houston might have 110 days in the same year.  Drought is a common thing, especially in the high plains area of the state.  Tornados are frequent in parts of Texas, mostly in the Red River valley.

Texas state population
1850 - 212,592
1860 - 604,215
1870 - 818,579
1880 - 1,591,749
1890 - 2,235,527
1900 - 3,048,710
1910 - 3,896,542
1920 - 4,663,228
1930 - 5,824,715
1940 - 6,414,824
1950 - 7,711,194
1960 - 9,579,677
1970 - 11,196,730
1980 - 14,229,191
1990 - 16,986,510
1997 – 19,439,337
1998 - 19,760,000
2000 - 20,851,820
2005 - 22,859,968 (estimate)

Population Density:
1990 - 64.9 persons per square mile
2000 - 79.6 persons per square mile

State Median Family Income:
1989 - $31,553
2003 - $39,967
State Per Capita:
1997 - $23,656
1999 - $19,617


Texas has 254 counties.  In 1990, the smallest was Loving County with just 107 residents.  Harris County was the largest at that time with 2,818,199 people.  In contrast, Rockwall County is the smallest in size with 149 square miles.  The largest county, with 6,191 square miles is Brewster County.  This is an area almost as large as Connecticut and Rhode Island put together. 

Texas has had six capital cities
Washington-on-the-Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston, Velasco, West Columbia and Austin

Golf Association of Texas

Phone: 1-800-PLAY-TXS (752-9897)

Travel & Information Division

Texas Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 5000
Austin, Texas 78763
Toll-free: 1-800-452-9292

The first to land on the Texas coast was Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca in 1528 and that was probably an accident! He wrote of his discovery which may have prompted others to come, including Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and Hernando de Soto by 1550. These explorations were never for permanent settlement, but only to help in the search for gold.

The first town, Ysleta, was formed from a Spanish mission and an indian pueblo in 1680. In 1685, the Frenchman, Robert Cavelier de La Salle founded Fort St. Louis at Lavaca Bay. The Spanish, not to be overrun sent troops to destroy it. When they arrived, they found the fort deserted. They decided to go on and founded the first of the east Texas missions on the Neches River. They named it San Francisco de los Tejas. The word "tejas" came from a local indian tribal group and meant "friendly." By 1693, the area was abandoned due to lack of settlement for the hot, brushy area.  

When the French came again in the early 1700's, more Spanish missions were established. Many of the early towns were built around them - Goliad, Nacogdoches and San Antonio. These remained the only real settlements of any substance in Texas during the beginning of the 1800's. In 1821, Mexico became free from Spain and wanted to develop the territory. Free land grants were offered to anyone who would come to colonize. Stephen F. Austin was among the first and led 300 American families to their new homes there. Soon the Americans outnumbered the Mexican people there by large amounts. Unrest resulted with conflict erupting on many occasions, starting as early as 1828. The Texas Revolution began in earnest in 1835. The Battle at the Alamo was one of the conflicts of this war. The Republic of Texas was finally won and remained as such until 1845.

Sam Houston was one of the most influential men of this time period. He played a large role in the war for independence. He was the president of the Republic and continued to serve as a US Senator and governor after statehood. With the Civil War, Texas seceded in 1861. Sam Houston refused to go along with pledging allegiance to the Confederacy and was removed from office. He died in 1863. Texas rejoined the Union in 1870.


Texas is about 850 miles north to south and the same east and west. Its coastline runs over 600 miles. It was the largest state until Alaska was admitted as a state. The lower section of the state is mainly desert with desert vegetation. The upper part of the state has firs and pines on the slopes. The highest areas are in the Guadalupe Mountains near the New Mexico border and in the Big Bend area of the Rio Grande in southwestern Texas. The Panhandle area is part of the Great Plains. The top portion of the Panhandle is extremely flat except for some canyons. The plains end at the Balcones Escarpment, which many believe to be the most significant topographical feature of the state. It is at this point that climate and vegetation change abruptly. Warm, gulf air releases its moisture when it reaches the escarpment, leaving the western portion of the state with little rainfall.

Rivers in Texas include: the Pecos, the Colorado, the Brazos and the Sabine, which forms much of the eastern boundary of Texas. These all run southeast from the plateau. The Red River runs eastward and forms part of the Oklahoma-Texas border. The Rio Grande runs along the southern border. All in all, the inland rivers and their tributaries have more than 6,000 square miles of water. Only Alaska has more inland water.

Highest Point: Guadalupe Peak at 8,749 feet above sea level in Culberson County in far West Texas.
Low Point: Gulf of Mexico at sea level.
Mean Elevation: 1,700 feet above sea level

Geographic center: About 15 miles northeast of Brady in northern McCulloch County.

Time Zone: Central/Mountain zones (The El Paso area is in the Mountain Time Zone)

Size and Area:
Total area: 268,601 square miles – It is second in size next to Alaska
Land area: 261,914 square miles (167,624,960 acres)
Water area: 5,363 square miles (3,432,320 acres)
Forested area: 22,032 million acres
State Forests: 5 - 7,519 acres
National Forests: 7 - 637,386 acres
Towns & Cities: 3,100
773 miles east to west
801 miles north to south

Texas has almost 7.5% of the country’s total land area!  This is an area as large as Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and all of New England combined. 

Did you know?

El Paso, Texas is closer to the Atlantic Ocean than it is to Texarkana, Texas! The eastern-most edge of the Sabine River, the east boundary of Texas, is closer to the Pacific Ocean than it is to El Paso.

Texas is one of only 4 states that is allowed by law to fly its flag at the same height as the U.S. Flag. Virginia and Hawaii are two of the others.

Texas is called the Lone Star State because of the design of the state flag: a broad vertical blue stripe at left centered by a single white star, with horizontal bars of white (uppermost) and red on the right.

The World’s first rodeo was held in Pecos, Texas on 4 July 1883

It is almost as far from Beaumont, Texas to El Paso, Texas - 742 miles - as it is from Beaumont, Texas to Chicago, Illinois - 770 miles.

The Flagship Hotel in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built over water.

The Heisman Trophy was named after John William Heisman, who was the first full time coach for Rice University, Houston.

Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other area in North America.

Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America's only remaining flock of Whooping Cranes.

Jalapeno jelly originated in Lake Jackson in 1978.

The worst natural disaster in U.S. history was in 1900 caused by a hurricane in which over 8000 lives were lost on Galveston Island.

The first word spoken from the moon, July 20, 1969, was "Houston."

El Paso is closer to California than to Dallas.

Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is the world's largest rose garden with over 38,000 bushes with 500 varieties on 22 acres.

King Ranch, in southeast Texas, is larger than the state of Rhode Island.

Tropical Storm Claudette brought a U.S. rainfall record of 43" in 24 hours in and around Alvin in July 1979.

Texas is the only state to enter the U.S. by TREATY, instead of by annexation. (This allows the Texas flag to fly at the same height as the U.S. flag.)

A Live Oak tree near Fulton is estimated to be 1500 years old.

The San Jacinto Monument is taller than the Washington Monument.

Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.

Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. (There is no period after Dr in Dr Pepper) 

The Capitol Dome in Austin is the only dome in the U.S. that is taller than the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. (by 7 feet).

The name Texas comes from the Hasini Indian word "tejas", meaning friends.

Tejas is not Mexican for Texas.

The State animal is the Armadillo. An interesting bit of trivia about the armadillo is they always have four babies! They have one egg which splits into four and they either have four males or four females. 

The first domed stadium in the U.S. was the Astrodome in Houston.

The most decorated service man in WW II was Audy Murphy, a Texan.




Secession and Re-admission - how it happened in Texas

A very good Texas history page with lots of pictures and links

Background on the Battle of the Alamo with history and many pertinent links

The Portal to Texas History

Texas Historical Commission

Texas Beyond History

Texas Governors 1846 to the present



Texas Parks and Wildlife

Guide to Texas Outside

Texas State Parks
2400 Smith School Road
Austin, Texas 78744
Phone: 512-389-8950
Toll-free: 1-800-792-1112

National forests of Texas
National parks in Texas
Birds of Texas
The Native Plant Society of Texas
Mountains of Texas



Official Texas State website

Texas Legislature online

About Texas from the Texas State Library
Official Texas State Holidays

The Texas Economy

Government Links page for Texas
Great links page for all levels of government in Texas



Genalogy Resources at the State Library

For Births, Deaths, marriages in the state of Texas
Bureau of Vital Statistics

Texas GenWeb Project page



Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum

Online Exhibits from the Texas State Library

The Alamo

Famous Texans

Texas Travel information

Information about the Texas Panhandle - includes geographic info, government, climate, links and much more.

The Guide to Texas Outside
information on hiking, biking, camping, boating, fishing, sailing, hunting, parks, hotels, golf, retirement, scuba diving, and just about anything else you can do outside in the great state of Texas!

Lots of map links on this page



Texas is divided up into geographic areas, namely: Hill Country, Gulf Coast, The Piney Woods, Prairies & Lakes, South Texas Plains, Big Bend Country, and the Panhandle Plains.



The Native Prairies Association of Texas

ASSE International Student Exchange Programs accepts applications for volunteers throughout the year. 

Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce
Texas Association of Business
Greater Houston Partnership


Find the weather for anyplace in the USA


This page was last updated 22 September 2006 at 2:15 pm

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