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Texas History: 8 Events That Shaped the State

By    |   Monday, 09 March 2015 01:55 PM

Texas has long been known as an oil industry giant and agricultural leader in the nation. A unique and adventurous Texas history ushered the state in from the wild frontier to the modern age.

Here are eight events that helped shape the state of Texas:

1. One of the inspiring stories from Texas was the 1836 battle at the Alamo, a former Franciscan mission near San Antonio, which had been founded by European missionaries in 1718. According to History.com, friction had developed between American settlers and the Mexican government for the area. Texas formed its independent republic in 1835. Some 200 volunteers defended the fort from Mexican troops, but after 13 days, most of the Texans were killed, including Davy Crockett, legendary frontiersman and former Tennessee congressman.

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2. The war for Texas independence proved difficult in the face of continued incursions from Mexican troops. Texans were encouraged to negotiate with the U.S. for statehood. Texas was named the 28th state of the U.S. in legislation signed by President James Polk in 1845.

3. Texas was the site of the last land conflict of the Civil War during the Battle of Palmito Ranch in the far south of the state in May 1865, more than a month after Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia. Texas had seceded from the Union in 1861 and was readmitted in 1870.

4. Most of the South struggled during Reconstruction after the Civil War, but Texas prospered with its flourishing cattle industry, benefiting from the use of barbed wire to fence cattle ranches and breed cattle in the 1880s.

5. The discovery of the state's first gusher at the Spindletop oil field near Beaumont in 1901 made history for Texas, transforming it from an agricultural to an industrial economy. Texas became the leading state in producing crude oil and natural gas, according to History.com.

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6. Galveston was destroyed by one of the deadliest hurricanes in history on September 8, 1900. The category 4 storm had winds of up to 130 miles per hour and took residents by surprise. More than 8,000 people were killed.

7. Tragedy struck Dallas and the nation on November 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while traveling in an open convertible along Dealey Plaza. The warehouse where assassin Lee Harvey Oswald fired his rifle is now a museum for historical information on the event.

8. The Johnson Space Center in Houston, originally called the Manned Spacecraft Center, began operation in 1963. It has overseen all NASA space flights as Mission Control, from the two-man Gemini program through the Apollo moon missions and present-day flights. It also operates spaceflight training and research. It was later named after Lyndon B. Johnson, former president, who helped spearhead the space program as a Texas Senator in the 1950s.

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Texas has long been known as an oil industry giant and agricultural leader in the nation. A unique and adventurous Texas history ushered the state in from the wild frontier to the modern age.
Texas History, Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Galveston, The Johnson Space Center
Monday, 09 March 2015 01:55 PM
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