Out of the 50 states of the USA, the state of Texas has always held significance throughout history. It is the second-largest state of the US by area, population, and economy. It is also the land that has inspired many filmmakers to make movies on the “wild west.” Cowboys and Texas go hand in hand. You can’t imagine Texas without thinking about vast lands and sunny days.
As common with most states, the land of Texas also has a unique nickname. It is known as the “The Lone Star State.” If you have pondered over the flag of America, you must have known that each star represents one state. We can easily conclude that by this logic, Texas must have gone through some historical dilemma to call itself a State of Lone Star. To know more about Texas’ nickname, we must get straight to an elaborate history lesson.
The European Colonization
Texas has been colonized by Europeans for centuries. There were many native clans living in those lands when Spanish settlers made the region their home. The Spanish settlers adapted the Caddo word “Taysha” and started referring to the locals by it. In the Caddo language, Taysha means a friend or an ally. It’s ironic how the settlers considered natives their friends and yet kept on hoarding land!
Spain and France tried their luck with the huge lands of now-Texas. In the 19th century, the US bought Louisiana, but the fate of Texas was still doubtful. The US shared borders with both British and Spanish settlers, and its relationship with either of them wasn’t very good. Everyone could see through the greed with which the US kept expanding. It wanted a stretched land without sharing it with anyone, especially Europeans.
In 1808, Spain was conquered by Napoleon. This caused the Spanish settlers to lose their ground in colonizing Texas. Eventually, Mexico started a the revolution and gained independence in 1810. Mexican-American people claimed the land of Texas as an independent green-flag state, but Spain would not give up Texas at any cost. However, in 1819, Spain ceded Florida to the US and agreed to create borders between the states.
Everything seemed at peace for a while until Spain lost control over its land and many Latin Republics came into being. In 1824 a new constitution was established in Mexico, and Texas was one of the states and now called the Mexican Texas.
A filibuster is an action that hinders progress in a legislative assembly. In the event of the Texas revolution, the filibusters were those armed Americans who would seize land by force even though there was official peace. Why are these people important? We’ll know that in a minute.
The land of Mexico was scarcely inhabited. It was at risk of invasion by European forces who sought out to settle in those empty lands. To fix this problem, the then-president of Mexico, Guadalupe Victoria, organized a system of empresario. An empresario was a man appointed to facilitate people from the US settling into Mexican Texas. Empresarios themselves were paid inland. Stephen Austin successfully attracted 300 people from the US. He is now known as the “father of Texas.” Under this system, the American filibusters would be allowed to settle in the Texan lands at very cheap rates. Of course, there were some conditions for people to settle in Mexican Texas, which are as follows:
- They would have to stay for at least ten years.
- They would consider Catholicism as their religion
- They would have to learn Spanish and be true supporters of the Mexican government.
This system proved to be extremely useful. Within a few years, Mexican Texan’s population had increased ten fold. At one time, the number of Texans or Texians outnumbered the Mexico-born residents. The immigrants mostly included outcasts, including disgraced politicians like Sam Houston and other criminals.
The empresarios did a good job of inviting people from the US and populating the lands. Mexico was starting to take profit from Texas as its newly established frontier. The short-lived peace was disturbed when Hayden Edwards, an empresario, decided that his settlement should be an independent one. The other empresarios quickly hushed the disturbance, but they lost their respect in front of the Mexican authorities.
In 1789, the Mexican government issued a ban on slavery. This came as a shock to the Texans, as many of them had slaves. The people of Texas took to protests and even went as far as threatening revolts. As a result, the government had to show some leniency. Still, the Mexican authorities tagged Texas as a troublesome land. The US offered twice to get Texas from Mexico, but President Guadalupe Victoria rejected both times.
President Victoria ended his term in the same year, which led to many coups and rebellious battles. Some wanted to get a centralized government, while others desired a state similar to that of the US. The land of Texas was in shambles.
In 1830, the laws were changed, and no more American immigrants were welcomed into Texas. This made the people unhappy, but they backed off, considering what came next was worse. Politician and former soldier Antonio Lopéz de Santa Anna was elected as the president in favor of a federal government. After a year, Santa Anna showed his true colors as a dictator and dissolved any and all military authorities.
Santa Anna was ruthless. He did not show mercy to anyone who stood in his way. He ordered his men to loot and pillage any city they attacked. In 1835, he ordered to take back a military cannon that was issued to the militia in Gonzales. When the army arrived at Gonzales, everyone saw banners with one star, a silhouette of a canon, and the words “come and take it” written on it. This is where you will understand the “Lone Star” concept.
Battle of Alamo
The Texians chose Sam Houston as their commander for the army. Although their spirits were high, they had no chance against the might of Santa Anna. Houston tried to build a garrison at Alamo, but it resulted in a massacre. The old generals died at the hands of Mexican, and Santa Anna thought he had finally crushed the Texians.
The commander-in-chief, Sam Houston, used Santa Anna’s brutality and raised the slogans of “remember the Alamo” and “Remember Goliad.” He rounded up as many men as he could and ambushed the Mexican army. This time they showed no mercy. 625 Mexicans died, and only 11 Texians. Santa Anna was captured, and as much as he deserved execution, he was forced to signed freedom for Texas. He was kept for three weeks and was released when the Mexican army conceded from the Rio Grande. A new border was created, and Texas became s a republic. At that time it adopted a flag with a single star on it which ultimately led to its nickname.
The Republic of Texas was independent for nearly ten years. It wished to be a part of the US, but that was easier said than done. Mexico did not recognize it, and the US could not make a decision. Sam Houston served as the president for the Republic of Texas but gave up when it was accepted by the US in 1845. Texas, the Lone Star State, became the 28th state of America.
What’s in a Nickname?
Technically, everything! Nicknames are often given based on good quality, but it was an entirely different case for Texas. It got its nickname after witnessing bloodshed, civil wars, rebellions, and many more. Considering how much it endured, it actually deserves to be called the Lone Star who stood against every adversity. The cannon still stands, and the people still remember the Alamo. No one can forget what happened, but Texans have always made their Lone Star proud.