The state of Texas is a well-known part of the United States that encompasses a large portion of the southwest. Famous for all sorts of historical and cultural tidbits, Texas proudly boasts of its legendary cowboy culture, riveting rodeos, delicious Tex-Mex food, barbecue, chili, and so much more. Not only that, but it’s the place where Dr. Pepper was invented, all the way back in 1885 – one year prior to the invention of Coca-Cola.
National Texas Day offers a delightful opportunity to set aside a bit of time to learn more about, show appreciation for, engage with and celebrate everything that has to do with the grand state of Texas!
History of National Texas Day
This history of Texas goes far back to the Native American settlers who were likely on this land for thousands of years prior to the arrival of European settlers. After the French and then Spanish settlers came in the 17th and 18th centuries, the state of Texas was often caught in the fray.
Originally aligning with Mexico when it broke off from Spain in 1821, that alliance didn’t last long until Texas declared itself independent in 1836. Then, in 1845, Texas made its entrance as the 29th of the United States of America. But just a few years later, in 1861, Texas seceded again in support of the Confederacy in the Civil War. The Civil War ended in 1865 and Texas was eventually allowed to re-enter the US in 1870.
In the history of Texas, there have been six different entities that have ruled over the land, including France, Spain, Mexico, Republic of Texas, the Confederacy and the United States. This is sometimes referred to as the “Six Flags of Texas”.
National Texas Day was started in 2017 as part of a larger effort to pay tribute to each of the states throughout the year. Starting with the week of Independence Day, each state is assigned its day based on the time in which it entered the Union. As the 29th state, this places the celebration of Texas in the month of February. And as the second largest of the states behind Alaska, Texas certainly has a lot that is worth celebrating!
National Texas Day Timeline
Europeans settle in Texas
The French came first and then the Spanish came by establishing their Catholic missions.
Texas becomes part of Mexico
Called “Mexican Texas”, this begins when Mexico gained independence from Spain but only lasts for 15 years.
The Republic of Texas is formed
Despite the loss at the Alamo, Texans declare their independence and beat the Mexicans at San Jacinto.
Texas enters the Union
On December 29th of this year, Texas becomes the 29th state in the USA.
Texas secedes from the Union
For a short period during the Civil War, Texas joins the Confederacy and is then readmitted in 1870.
How to Celebrate National Texas Day
Texas is huge! And so are the ways that this place can be celebrated on National Texas Day. Consider plans, events and activities for the day with some of these ideas for getting involved:
Learn and Share Weird Facts About Texas
Get everyone involved with celebrating National Texas Day by taking a look at some interesting facts and then sharing them with friends, family members or coworkers whether in person or on social media. Check out some of these weird and wacky facts about Texas to get started:
Texas has more species of bats than any other US state. With 33 bat species in the state, just 11 will live near humans and can transmit rabies.
One ranch in Texas is actually larger than the US state of Rhode Island. That’s right, the King Ranch is located in south Texas and is situated on more than 1280 square miles – and Rhode Island is only 1212 square miles!
Texas has some strange and outdated laws on its books. For instance, it is illegal to sell your eyeball; to shoot a buffalo from the second story of a hotel; to let a camel run loose on the beaches of Galveston; and to milk someone else’s cow.
“Texas German” is its own dialect of the language that is only spoken in this state. An influx of German immigrants came to the state in the 19th century and carried on their own version of the language in areas like New Braunfels, Schulenburg, Fredericksburg and Weimar.
Throw a National Texas Day Party
This day is certainly worth hosting a party for, so gather some friends and family members together. Heck, it might be fun to invite the whole neighborhood over and turn it into an outdoor block party in celebration of National Texas Day. Invite guests to dress in their favorite Texas garb (think cowboy hats and boots) and encourage everyone to bring a dish to share that is their favorite from the Tex-Mex line of cuisine. And music makes a party, so don’t forget to create a favorite playlist of songs about Texas that can be played on repeat all during the festivities.
Plan a Trip to Texas
Larger than a number of European countries, such as France, Spain and Germany, the state of Texas has a range of cool cities for those who prefer urban landscapes, or valleys and deserts that bring their own special vibe. For those who don’t live in Texas, planning a little adventure there would be the perfect way to celebrate this day!
Of course, there are so many things to do in Texas that one visit probably won’t be enough, but it might be fun to check out some of the highlights in these major cities in honor of National Texas Day:
- Dallas. Pop into the World Aquarium to view ten main tanks filled with all sorts of sea creatures. Then plan a visit to Reunion Tower, the Arboretum and Botanical Garden, the high-tech Discovery District and so much more.
- San Antonio. This city has a variety of sites that offer entertainment and experience. Don’t miss the famous river walk that incorporates a range of sites with shopping, dining and cultural experiences for visitors, and head on over to the Alamo and its museum to get a bit of history as well.
- Houston. The NASA Space Center in Houston acts as an immersive learning center for children and adults alike. The Natural Science Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Chinatown, Herman Park and the Houston Zoo all provide tons of things to do!
- Austin. This capital city is home to the University of Texas and is well-known for its cool music scene, It also boasts parks, lakes, hiking, swimming, boating and many more outdoor activities.
National Texas Day FAQs
Did Texas join the Confederacy?
Yes. Though there was little fighting here during the Civil War, Texas seceded from the US and joined the Confederacy.
Has Texas had a female governor?
Texas has had two female governors, Ann Richards (1990s) and Miriam Ferguson (1920s and 1930s).
How did Texas get its name?
The name “texas” means “friends” in Caddo, a Native American language.
Was Texas a slave state?
Yes. Texas sided with the Confederacy in support of slavery until the end of the Civil War.
Did Texas win the battle of the Alamo?
No, the battle of the Alamo was lost, but Texas still declared itself an independent republic in 1836.