The Lone Star State has a rich history filled with conflict, victory and fascinating people and events. There’s so much we could say about Texas, but let’s start with these 20 interesting facts.
1 The Texas state flag displays a lone star symbolizing solidarity, against a background of blue, symbolizing loyalty. The white stripe stands for purity and the red stripe signifies bravery.
2 Texas' capital, Austin, is the 2nd largest state capital in the country.
3 The nickname "Lone Star State" is a reference to the state's history as an independent republic and battle for independence from Mexico
4 While the Texas state flower is the Bluebonnet, it was nearly the cactus. John Nance Garner, who would later become Vice President of the United States, argued vehemently for the cactus in 1901, earning him the nickname "Cactus Jack".
5 The Pecan tree - the official state tree of Texas - can live over 1,000 years and grow up to 100 feet tall.
6 Texas shares its state bird, the mockingbird, with 4 other states: Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Florida.
7 The name Texas originated from the Caddo Indian word Tejas, which means friend or ally. The Texas state motto, "Friendship", is derived from this term.
8 Texas's entry into the union on December 29, 1845 made it the 28th state.
9 Many states only contain one or two climate typs, but in Texas you can find 6 distinct zones, including both hot and cold desert climates.
10 More flags have flown over Texas than any other state. Six different nation's flags have flown over Texas soil throughout its history - Spain (1519-1821), France (1685-1690), Mexico (1821-1836), Republic of Texas (1836-1845), Confederate States of America (1861-1865), and the United States of America (1845-1861 and 1865-present).
11 Texas is the largest state in the contiguous United States, and the 2nd largest in the U.S. after Alaska. If Texas were a country, it would be the 40th largest nation in the world.
12 Among U.S. states, only California can claim more citizens than Texas. The 2010 U.S. Census reported that there were 25,145,561 registered Texans.
13 Only three other cities nationwide have larger populations than Houston, Texas, which is considered the largest city in the Sothern United States.
14 The Texas state capitol building has the largest square footage of any state capital in the country. It is 2nd in size only to the National Capital in Washington, D.C.
15 The $60 million gold treasure hoard of Spanish conquistador Francisco Coronado is believed to be buried on an 80-acre pasture at the Sems Ranch near Clyde, Texas.
16 Texas is the only state to enter the Union by treaty, not annexation.
17 You can still technically be hanged in Texas for stealing cattle or putting graffiti on someone else's cow. It's also illegal to swear in front of a corpse in Texas. In Galveston, Texas, it is against the law to let a camel run loose on the beach.
18 Texas is the largest petroleum-producing state in the United States. In fact, if it were an independent nation, Texas would rank as the world's 5th largest petroleum producer.
19 Texas has produced notable entertainers, politicians, and business leaders, including Gene Autry (musician/actor), George W. Bush (President and Governor), Dwight David Eisenhower (President and general), General Sam Houston (president of Texas), Howard Hughes (industrialist), Lyndon B. Johnson (President), George Jones, Janis Joplin, Buck Owens, Tex Ritter, Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jack Johnson (musicians), Tommy Lee Jones, Matthew McConaughey, Patrick Swayze, Woody Harrelson (actors), Scott Joplin (composer), Sandra Day O'Connor (U.S. Supreme Court Justice), Dan Rather, and Walter Cronkite (broadcast journalists).
20 Texas is one of the top 10 states visited each year by tourists, landing at nubmer eight on the list. Popular destinations include The Alamo, Houston Space Center, rodeos, Hill Country, Padre Island National Seashore, Inner Space Cavern, Friday night football, Dallas Cowboys stadium, San Antonio Riverwalk, Palo Duro Canyon, Big Bend National Park, Schlitterbahn Waterpark, and The State Fair of Texas.