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In the late 1500's the vast plains of the territory that is now Texas was being explored by Spain. The first white settlement was established in Ysleta in 1681. American interest in the area increased after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. In 1819 after Spain relinquished Florida to the United States, taking advantage of Spain's desire to keep its title to Texas, Secretary John Adams induced the Spanish minister Luis de Onis to agree to a dividing boundary that ran north of Texas all the way to the Pacific Ocean. By 1821 Moses Austin had secured a grant from the Spanish to bring American settlers into Texas. The grant was confirmed in 1823 to his son, Stephen F. Austin by Mexico. Continuous conflicts between the Mexican settlers and Americans led to the Fredonian Rebellion from 1826 to 1827. Attempting to gain independence from Mexico, revolutions led to a heroic but hopeless defense of a well fortified fort known as the Alamo against Santa Anna in February of 1836. Santa Anna demanded surrender which aroused fighting anger among Texans. Six weeks after this battle, Texans under the command of Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto all the while crying, "Remember the Alamo."

Texas remained an independent republic until its annexation to the United States in 1845, making it the 28th state to join the Union. The Capitol was established in Austin. This led to the Mexican War which was fought and won by the United States with Mexico over the annexation of Texas. By the 1850's the east Texas territory was one of the most prosperous and rapidly growing plantation regions of the south. President Taylor, seeking to resolve a major boundary dispute between New Mexico and Texas, granted the disputed region to New Mexico while compensating Texas through federal assumption of its state debts. By 1860 the Presidential election was won by Abraham Lincoln and the southern slave states were in a quandary. Lincolns election provoked the secession of seven states from the deep south, including Texas. On February 4, 1861 delegates met in Montgomery, Alabama to establish the Confederate States of America. The Confederacy seized most federal forts and other installations without firing a shot. When a compromise could not be reached between the free states and the slave states, the choice of peaceful separation or war between the states was narrowed. Although the slave states of the upper south had refused to secede just because Lincoln was elected, when they were called upon to provide troops to coerce the other southern states they quickly cut ties with the government and the Civil War began.
In 1865 when the Civil War ended in defeat for the deep south, Texas like all southern states went through the trials of reconstruction. In March of 1870 the states that had seceded were readmitted to the Union. Texas today covers 267,339 square miles and has a population of over 22,000,000. The State Flower is the Bluebonnet and the State Bird is the Mockingbird.