Texas is the second-largest state in the United States. Famed for many different reasons, the state is home to nearly 30 million people making it the next largest population after California.
From the arid west to the humid east, the expanse of the state encompasses several different climates and types of terrain. Desert areas and coastlines alike attract thousands of visitors each year.
Largely stereotyped as being the home of the cowboy and giant food portions, Texas is much more complex than we think. With influences from a number of cultures, both past and present, there is so much to learn about the vast state.
In this article, we’re going to give you a rundown of all the interesting and cool facts about Texas.
1. Texas Is Known As The ‘Lone Star State’ For A Reason
If you’ve had a good look at the state flag, it has one singular star which is where the ‘lone star’ name came from.
This star represents the independence of Texas becoming its own independent republic and separating from Mexico in 1836.
The independent republic remained that way for ten years before joining the United States. It was the only state to enter by treaty rather than territorial annexation.
For many, the singular star represents the independent spirit and pride of the Texas culture.
2. Texas Is The Birthplace Of Many Of Many Famous People
It’s difficult to determine the most famous person to have been produced by Texas, but there is a range of celebrities from singers, actors, and politicians that were born and raised in the state.
For example, Beyoncé Knowles was born in 1981 in Houston, Texas, she is one of the most celebrated pop stars of all time.
Another pop sensation is Selena Gomez, born in 1992 in Grand Prairie, Texas. Also famed for her acting career, she is an icon amongst the younger generations.
Other celebrities that call Texas home include Matthew McConaughey, Lance Armstrong, Willie Nelson, Woody Harrelson, and Shaquille O’Neil.
3. The Word ‘Texas’ Derives From Caddo Indian
Native Indians were the first people to call the area of land known as Texas home. When the Spanish arrived and claimed the land, they heard the land called “teyshas” which they thought to be a tribal name.
They recorded it as ‘teyas’ or ‘tejas’, eventually becoming Texas. In the Native American Caddo language “teyshas” means friends or allies, which is eventually how the state got its motto of ‘friendship’.
4. Texas Has The Most Farms In The United States
In 2021, Texas had the most farms in the country accounting for around 12% of the total number of farms in the U.S. There are approximately 248,416 farms and ranches that cover 127 million acres of land.
Texas is a top producer of many exports such as hay, cotton, sheep, goats, and horses. Cotton is considered to be the most farmed commodity, as the state has been leading the way in cotton production since 1880.
5. It’s The Birthplace Of Tex-Mex Cuisine
Tex-Mex cuisine refers to dishes derived from Mexican culture that have their own Texas spin on them.
The roots of the food come from the Tejano culture, these are the descendants of the Spanish and Mexican settlers that lived in the state in the colonial period.
The delicious dishes that come from the Tejano people include things like enchiladas, tacos, chili con carne, fajitas, and nachos.
Although some are more traditional than others, they are usually covered in cheese and served with a multitude of tasty sauces!
6. It’s Home To Three Of The Largest Cities In The Country
Out of the ten largest cities in the U.S., three of them are actually found in Texas. Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas are the incredibly large cities that have made the cut as of 2020.
These numbers haven’t changed that much over the years with roughly 2.28 million people living in Houston, 1.28 million people living in Dallas, and 1.45 million people in San Antonio.
7. English Isn’t The Only Language Spoken In Texas
As Texas borders Mexico, there is a lot of Spanish influence in the state. It is thought that more than a third of Texans speak a language other than English at home. There are roughly 7 million Spanish speakers in the state.
Probably the most surprising thing about the different languages spoken is the next most popular which is Vietnamese. Around 200,000 people speak Vietnamese in Texas due to changing immigration patterns.
8. There Are Six Nations That Have Ruled Over Texas
There are six flags that are displayed in Texas to represent the six nations that have claimed the land as their own and ruled over the inhabitants.
These include: Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States of America, and finally the United States of America.
“Six flags over Texas” is a motto used to describe these nations and is also a name used for many shopping malls, enterprises and even a theme park.
Many Americans will be more than familiar with the Six Flags flagship park, well this is where the name came from.
9. It Has The Highest Speed Limit In The Country
An unusual fact about Texas is the tollway which features the highest speed limit in the entire country.
Outside of Austin, one single stretch of tollway, State Highway 130, has a speed limit of 85 mph. This is often referred to as the ‘fastest road in America’.
The stretch of road runs for 41 miles connecting Austin and San Antonio. A private firm built the highway and has been contracted to operate it for the next 50 years.
They designed the stretch to safely handle cars driving at these speeds as it’s wide, straight, and fairly flat.
10. King Ranch Is The Largest Ranch In The Country
The King Ranch is the largest ranch in Texas and the entire country! Located in the south of Texas, the ranch resides in the Wild Horse Desert. Covering over 825,000 acres of land, this is larger than the state of Rhode Island.
The main uses of the farm include cattle ranching, farming, recreational hunting, and luxury retail goods. Their farming produce primarily consists of cane sugar, grain, cotton, and turfgrass.
Attracting visitors from all over, the ranch also has a visitors center, a number of tours on offer, and a museum.
11. Frozen Margaritas Were Invented In Texas
A delicious invention that comes from the state is the much loved frozen margarita. Mariano Martinez was the entrepreneur and inventor behind the idea of the frozen margarita machine.
After growing up in the restaurant industry, it wasn’t surprising that he should have so much success.
In 1971, he adapted a soft-serve ice cream machine to produce a green sherbet that was ice cold with a plenty generous serving of tequila in it.
Today the frozen margarita is one of America’s most popular cocktails and is served across the country.
12. It’s Home To The World’s Largest Cowboy Boots
One of the more unusual landmarks found near San Antonio is The World’s Largest Cowboy Boots. The sculpture has been around for over 40 years, after being commissioned to take up an empty lot near the White House in 1979.
Built by Austin-born artist Bob “Daddy O” Wade, the Texas-themed sculpture was commissioned by the Washington Project of the Arts.
However, the sculpture attracted so much attention that Texas wanted to bring them to Texas. They were eventually won in a bidding war and they moved to San Antonio in 1980.
Texas is also home to a number of the other world’s largest roadside attractions such as the World’s Largest Fire Hydrant, Watermelon, Patio chair, and Roadrunner.
13. The Official Dish Of Texas Is Chili
Chili became the official state dish of Texas in 1977, Texans claim the dish was created in their state although this is widely contested by New Mexicans.
Governor Dolph Briscoe signed House Concurrent Resolution No. 18 which writes chili into the 65th legislature stating that ‘the only real “bowl of red” is that prepared by Texans’. So it;s safe to say that they might know a thing or two about chili.
Compared to the usual chili that you think of, Texan chili doesn’t contain any beans or tomato products. It’s typically made of meat such as beef with a thick, flavorful chili paste consisting of dried peppers.
There are several annual chili making competitions held throughout the state, but the first was thought to be at the Texas State Fair in 1952.
CASI Terlingua International Chili Championship is another famous four-day celebration to win the title of best chili.
14. Dr Pepper Was Invented In Texas
Frozen margaritas aren’t the only beverage invented in the state, the well-known soda drink Dr Pepper was also a Texan invention. In 1885, the drink was created and manufactured in the Central Texas town of Waco.
It is the oldest brand of soft drinks to be found in America, believed to be created by a pharmacist known as Charles Alderton. He tried to mimic the sweet smells of fruit syrup often wafting into the drug store where he worked.
The drink was sold in the drug store where Alderton worked and became so popular that it began being sold all over the town and later the country. This is how Dr Pepper came to be as popular and successful as it is today.
15. Texas Supplies Its Own Power To The Entire State
Did you know that Texas has its own electrical grid and creates enough power to supply the whole state?
It is unsurprising as the state is so large, but it’s not something many were aware of until they had a big freeze which caused a power outage across the state in 2021.
The electricity generated in the state, stays within state lines and isn’t supplied elsewhere.
Texas has been in charge of its own power since the turn of the 20th century to avoid federal and interstate rules such as how much companies could charge for electricity.
As a result, power companies merged together to share power to avoid sending it over state lines.
There are rarely any issues in terms of demand as the state covers two different time zones, meaning there isn’t a huge demand at the same time.
16. Texas Has Some Old Fashioned Laws Still In Place
There are some very old laws that still exist in certain cities of Texas, although they don’t really make sense in modern life they are quite funny to think about.
These laws include:
- In certain cities, it’s illegal to go barefoot in public
- It is illegal to milk another person’s cow
- Those planning to commit a crime must give the victim 24 hours notice
- In certain cities, it is illegal to sell some varieties of cheese on a Sunday
- In Port Arthur, it is illegal to emit obnoxious gas in an elevator
Strange, right? If you are ever in Texas and are worried about committing some of these crimes then we would suggest consulting with a local law enforcement officer.
17. Bracken Cave Is Home To The World’s Largest Bat Colony
Bracken Cave Preserve is the summer home to the largest bat colony in the world. The wildlife park is located on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas.
There are thought to be more than 15 million Mexican free-tailed bats which often use the site to breed and raise their young.
This medium sized bat can fly exceptionally fast at around 99 mph and they can fly as high as 10,000 feet.
These bats are handy to have around your farm land as they forage on a ton of harmful insects and crop pests that help to save farmers millions of dollars.
An annual festival is held in Austin to highlight the 1.5 million bats that are likely to emerge from under the bridge.
The locals have made this into a celebration with two stages of live music, food, beer, and plenty of activities (see also: 15 Best Activities In Turks And Caicos)for the whole family.
18. The Largest Convenience In The World Is In Texas
Buc-ee’s is a chain of convenience stores and fueling stations that were founded in 1982 in Lake Jackson, Texas.
Now known as travel centers, there are hundreds of these all over the state and they have even made their way across the country.
The company has broken a world record, building the largest convenience store in the world.
Their New Braunfels store is 66,335 square feet between San Antonio and Austin. Another of their world records includes the world’s longest car wash, which has 255 feet of conveyor.
19. Texas State Fair Is The Longest Running In The Nation
The Texas State Fair was established in 1886 to promote agriculture, education, and community involvement through entertainment suitable for the whole family. Celebrating all things Texan, the fair has made Fair Park a National Historic Landmark.
Running over the course of 24 days, it is the longest-running fair in the nation as well as being one of the largest spanning around 277 acres of land. Luckily, there are plenty of maps and volunteers to help you find your way around!
From competitions, livestock exhibitions, concession stands, and live music there is something for everyone at the Texas State Fair. No wonder it attracts around 2 million visitors every year.
20. Austin Is Thought Of As The Live Music Capital Of The World
Austin was coined the Live Music Capital of the World in 1991 due to the sheer number of live music venues per capita than anywhere else in the country.
There are roughly 200 live music venues in Austin which welcomes all kinds of music from rock to jazz and country to blues.
There are also a number of large music festivals such as Austin City Limits music festival that attracts around 450,000 people per year. Other notable music festivals include South by Southwest and Levitation.
21. The State Capital Is Austin
The state capital of Texas is Austin, which many people regularly confuse with Houston as it is the most populous city in Texas. Austin actually ranks fourth in terms of the population sizes of cities in Texas, (see also: 23 Nicknames For Texas And Its Cities You Should Know)with roughly around 964,177 people.
Besides its title as the Live Music Capital of the World, the city also has famous museums, stunning lakes and scenic trails that can be enjoyed all year. From shopping to dancing the night away, there is everything you could want in the capital.
Why not take a walking tour of the best food they have to offer? Or perhaps sports fans might be more interested in watching anything from roller derby to football in this notorious sports town.
22. Texas Plays An Important Part In The History Of The Rodeo
People have been using animals for sport for centuries and things like bull-fighting and cock-fighting are nothing new. The Pecos Rodeo began as a competition between two cowboys to take the title of who was best.
In 1883, Pecos, Texas the first rodeo was born. Today this tradition continues with people coming from all over the world to witness real cowboys in action.
There are several competitions and traditions that still happen today where people can take prize-money home for their rodeo performances.
The Bottom Line
Texas is much more than cowboy boots and cattle ranching, there are so many layers to the state that people are still yet to discover. We hope this list of all the most interesting facts has helped to paint a more well-rounded picture of the Lone Star State.
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