From Metapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
With an area of 268,820 square miles (696,200 km²) and a rapidly growing population of 23.9 million, as estimated in 2007, spread among 254 counties, Texas is the second largest U.S. state in both area and population. Houston is the largest city. Dallas is the third largest city in Texas, but has the largest metropolitan statistical area, which includes Fort Worth. Other major cities include the state capital of Austin, the state's oldest major city of San Antonio, and the western city of El Paso. Due to its long history as a center of the American cattle industry, Texas is associated throughout much of the world with the image of the cowboy.

Texas is a state geographically located north-northeast of Mexico in the south-central part of the United States, which the Census Bureau places in a sub-region of the U.S. South designated West South Central. It is also known as the Lone Star State.


The Texas economy heavily relies on the oil and gas industry.

Because of its large size and unique history, the regional affiliation of Texas is often debated. Historically and culturally, it has very close ties to the South. However, due to Texas's history as a Spanish colony, its border with Mexico, and its large Latino population, Texas can also be considered a Southwestern state. Nevertheless, while most residents acknowledge these categories, many claim an independent "Texan" identity superseding regional labels.

Spain was the first European country to claim Texas. Starting in the 1820s, American and European immigrants began arriving in the area. Although Mexico implemented several measures to appease the colonists, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna's measures to transform Mexico from a federalist to a centralist state appeared to be the catalyst for the Anglo-Texan colonists to revolt. Anglo-Saxons often viewed the Mexicans as foreigners and intruders. The feeling was often returned; Rafael Antonio Manchola, son-in-law of empresario Martín De León, served as the commander of the presidio at La Bahia from 1828 to 1830 and then as the alcalde of Goliad. He warned the military commander for Texas that

"'No faith can be placed in the Anglo-American colonists because they are continually demonstrating that they absolutely refuse to be subordinate, unless they find it convenient to what they want anyway, all of which I believe will be very detrimental to us for them to be our neighbors if we do not in time, clip the wings of their audacity by stationing a strong detachment in each new settlement which will enforce the laws and jurisdiction of a Mexican magistrate which should be placed in each of them, since under their own colonists as judges, they do nothing more than practice their own laws which they have practiced since they were born, forgetting the ones they have sworn to obey, these being the laws of our Supreme Government.'"

The first violent incident occurred on June 26, 1832, at the Battle of Velasco. At a convention in 1833, colonists proposed that Texas become a separate Mexican state. On 2 March 1836, Texians declared their independence from Mexico. The Texas Revolution ended on 21 April 1836, when Santa Anna was taken prisoner by Texians following the Battle of San Jacinto. Although Texas declared its independence as the Republic of Texas, Mexico refused to recognize Texas as a new country. It continued as the independent Republic of Texas for nearly a decade.

United States

Friedrich Hermann Lehmann, German American landowner and folk figure from Texas

In 1845, it joined the United States as the 28th state. Texas is one of only four independent states to enter the US federation. Annexation of Texas led the United States to war with Mexico, leading to the Mexican Cession and helping to plant seeds for the U.S. Civil War. Texas was the 7th state to join the Confederate States of America. Shortly after the start of the 20th century, discovery of oil led to an economic boom in the state and greatly increased funding for higher education. Texas grew rapidly, becoming the second largest state in population by 1994. It has become economically diversified, with a growing base in high technology.

The easternmost section of the state is covered by the same piney woods that cover much of the Deep South. Moving westward, this vegetation evolves into semi-forests of oak and cross timbers, then, as the climate gradually becomes more arid, turns into rolling plains and prairie and, eventually, desert in the Big Bend region surrounding El Paso. It is these wide open spaces of the Texas prairie that have lent currency to the phrase that "everything is bigger in Texas."

German Texans (Deutschtexaner)

The logo for the Verein zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas (Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas), otherwise known as "(Mainzer) Adelsverein"
German Texans.jpg
The largest ethnic group in Texas derived directly from Europe was persons of German birth or descent. As early as 1850, they constituted more than 5 percent of the total Texas population, a proportion that remained constant through the remainder of the nineteenth century. Intermarriage has blurred ethnic lines, but the 1990 United States census revealed that 1,175,888 Texans claimed pure and 1,775,838 partial German ancestry, for a total of 2,951,726, or 17½ percent of the total population. By this count, Germans rank behind Hispanics and form the third-largest national-origin group in the state. Most persons of German descent do not regard themselves as ethnic Germans, however. From their first immigration to Texas in the 1830s, the Germans tended to cluster in ethnic enclaves. A majority settled in a broad, fragmented belt across the south central part of the state. This belt stretched from Galveston and Houston on the east to Kerrville, Mason, and Hondo in the west; from the fertile, humid Coastal Plain to the semiarid Hill Country. This German Belt included most of the Teutonic settlements in the state, both rural and urban.
The German Belt is the product of concepts and processes well known to students of migration, particularly the concept of "dominant personality," the process called "chain migration," and the device of "America letters." Voluntary migrations generally were begun by a dominant personality, or "true pioneer." This individual was forceful and ambitious, a natural leader, who perceived emigration as a solution to economic, social, political, or religious problems in his homeland. He used his personality to convince others to follow him in migration. In the case of the Texas Germans, Friedrich Diercks, known in Texas under his alias, Johann Friedrich Ernst, was the dominant personality. Ernst had been a professional gardener in the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg in northwestern Germany. He immigrated to America intending to settle in Missouri, but in New Orleans he learned that large land grants were available to Europeans in Stephen F. Austin's colony in Texas. Ernst applied for and in 1831 received a grant of more than 4,000 acres that lay in the northwest corner of what is now Austin County. It formed the nucleus of the German Belt. [...]
Most of the German immigrant clusters came from west central Germany, particularly Nassau, southern Hanover, Brunswick, Hesse, and western Thuringia. The nobles focused their advertising and recruitment on these provinces, their home districts. John O. Meusebach, for example, entered Texas as one of the leaders of the Adelsverein, and some thirty-four villages in his home county, the Dillkreis in Nassau, contributed to the migration. The chain-migration process in the Adelsverein movement drew on both the local and provincial levels. Some farm villages lost a large part of their population to the Texas project. The Hanoverian village of Gadenstedt, for instance, sent at least seventy-three people during the years 1844 to 1847. Twenty other places near Gadenstedt also contributed settlers to the Adelsverein undertaking. At about the same time, another colonization project was launched. The Frenchman Henri Castro directed a project that moved more than 2,000 German-speaking settlers, mainly from clusters in the Upper Rhine Plain of Alsace, to Medina County, west of San Antonio. Castroville, founded in 1844, became the nucleus of the Alsatian colony, though many of the immigrants settled in San Antonio because of better economic opportunities there. The German settlers who immigrated to Texas because of Friedrich Ernst, the Adelsverein, and Castro generally were solid middle-class peasants. They were land-owning families, artisans, and, in a few cases, university-educated professional people and intellectuals. The majority were farmers with a modest experience in trade. The Germans were ambitious farmers and artisans who believed their futures were cramped by the social and economic system at home. They were not poverty-stricken and oppressed. Indeed, they were able to afford the substantial cash investment required in overseas migration. [...]
Germans also settled elsewhere in Texas. By the 1880s German ethnic-islands dotted north central, northern, and western Texas. Ethnic islands failed to develop in East Texas, the Trans-Pecos, and the Rio Grande valley, however. As early as 1881, Germans founded the colony of Marienfeld (later Stanton) on the High Plains of West Texas. It was one of the first agricultural settlements in that part of the state. There the German settlers planted splendid vineyards, only to see them destroyed by drought. Most of the postbellum German colonies thrived, however. The families generally came from areas of the Fatherland that had supplied the prewar colonists. Chain migration, aided by America letters, clearly played a role. However, during these years, larger numbers of colonists from the eastern provinces of Germany began arriving in Texas. Also by the 1890s German immigrants who had earlier come to the midwestern states of Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, and neighboring states moved to Texas. For example, Germans from Iowa and nearby states, sponsored by the Catholic Church and the Flusche brothers, founded a German colony at Muenster in North Texas. By the 1890s sizable German elements had appeared in Texas cities, particularly in San Antonio, Galveston, and Houston. As late as 1880 the population of San Antonio was one-third German. By then a greater percentage of Germans lived in towns and cities than was true of the Texas population at large. German immigration to Texas tapered off during the 1890s. Germans created new ethnic islands as late as the 1920s, but they were peopled from other areas in Texas, particularly the German Belt. Second and third generation German-Texans looking for cheap land flocked westward until the Great Depression halted the movement. Since 1930 the extent of the German-settled area has changed very little, though a considerable post-World War II German immigration was directed to Texas cities.
The Germans who settled Texas were diverse in many ways. They included peasant farmers and intellectuals; Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and atheists; Prussians, Saxons, Hessians, and Alsatians; abolitionists and slaveowners; farmers and townsfolk; frugal, honest folk [...]. They differed in dialect, customs, and physical features. A majority had been farmers in Germany, and most came seeking economic opportunities. A few dissident intellectuals fleeing the 1848 revolutions sought political freedom, but few, save perhaps the Wends, came for religious freedom. The German settlements in Texas reflected their diversity. Even in the confined area of the Hill Country, each valley offered a different kind of German. The Llano valley had stern, teetotaling German Methodists, who renounced dancing and fraternal organizations; the Pedernales valley had fun-loving, hardworking Lutherans and Catholics who enjoyed drinking and dancing; and the Guadalupe valley had atheist Germans descended from intellectual political refugees. The scattered German ethnic islands were also diverse. These small enclaves included Lindsay in Cooke County, largely Westphalian Catholic; Waka in Ochiltree County, Midwestern Mennonite; Hurnville in Clay County, Russian German Baptist; and Lockett in Wilbarger County, Wendish Lutheran. Because of their diversity, Texas Germans had a varied impact in achievements and influence in the state. They distinguished themselves in many professions and activities-Chester W. Nimitz (de) in the military, Robert J. Kleberg in ranching, Gustav Schleicher in politics, and Charles A. Schreiner in retail business. Many German settlements had distinctive architecture, foods, customs, religion, language, politics, and economy. In the Hill Country the settlers built half-timbered and stone houses, miles of rock fences, and grand Gothic churches with jagged towers reaching skyward. They spoke a distinctive German patois in the streets and stores, ate spiced sausage and sauerkraut in cafes, and drank such Texas German beers as Pearl and Shiner (see PEARL BREWING COMPANY, and SPOETZL BREWERY). They polkaed in countless dance halls, watched rifle competition at rural Schützenfeste, and witnessed the ancient Germanic custom of Easter Fires at Fredericksburg. Neat, prosperous farms and ranches occupied the countryside.
German cultural influence in Texas reached a peak in the 1890s. The settlers had survived the difficult years of pioneering, and their relative isolation had preserved much that was German. In the years that followed, acculturation took a heavy toll. Two world wars and the associated anti-German prejudice damaged the interest in German folkways and curtailed the use of the German language. After the early 1900s the rural German communities received no additional immigrants from German Europe, and Anglo-Texan culture increasingly penetrated the Teutonic rural world. Rural depopulation, intermarriage, and modern communications increasingly obliterated rural German Texas. In the twentieth century, German immigration was directed almost exclusively to the cities of Texas. In these urban areas, German culture declined rapidly. The older German ethnic sections in such cities as San Antonio broke up as prosperous third and fourth generation Texas Germans flocked to the suburbs. King William Street (see KING WILLIAM HISTORIC DISTRICT), once the most affluent German neighborhood of San Antonio, lost most of its German-American residents. German-language schools also went into decline. In the early 1950s the thriving German-language press, vital to cultural survival in a literate society, fell silent, signaling the end of an era.[1]

External links



  1. Germans, Texas State Historical Association (Archive)