Texas

The Texas State Capitol at night.

Texas (/ˈtɛksəs/also locally /ˈtɛksɪz/SpanishTexas or Tejaspronounced [ˈtexas] (listen)) is a state in the South Central region of the United States. It is the second largest U.S. state by both area (after Alaska) and population (after California). Texas shares borders with the states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of ChihuahuaCoahuilaNuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the south and southwest, and has a coastline with the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.

Houston is the most populous city in Texas and the fourth largest in the U.S., while San Antonio is the second-most populous in the state and seventh largest in the U.S. Dallas–Fort Worth and Greater Houston are the fourth and fifth largest metropolitan statistical areas in the country, respectively. Other major cities include Austin, the second-most populous state capital in the U.S., and El Paso. Texas is nicknamed the “Lone Star State” for its former status as an independent republic, and as a reminder of the state’s struggle for independence from Mexico. The “Lone Star” can be found on the Texas state flag and on the Texas state seal. The origin of Texas’s name is from the word táyshaʼ, which means “friends” in the Caddo language.

Due to its size and geologic features such as the Balcones Fault, Texas contains diverse landscapes common to both the U.S. Southern and the Southwestern regions. Although Texas is popularly associated with the U.S. southwestern deserts, less than ten percent of Texas’s land area is desert. Most of the population centers are in areas of former prairiesgrasslandsforests, and the coastline. Traveling from east to west, one can observe terrain that ranges from coastal swamps and piney woods, to rolling plains and rugged hills, and finally the desert and mountains of the Big Bend.

The term “six flags over Texas” refers to several nations that have ruled over the territory. Spain was the first European country to claim and control the area of Texas. France held a short-lived colony. Mexico controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming the Republic of Texas. In 1845, Texas joined the union as the 28th state. The state’s annexation set off a chain of events that led to the Mexican–American War in 1846. A slave state before the American Civil War, Texas declared its secession from the U.S. in early 1861, and officially joined the Confederate States of America on March 2 of the same year. After the Civil War and the restoration of its representation in the federal government, Texas entered a long period of economic stagnation.

Historically four major industries shaped the Texas economy prior to World War II: cattle and bison, cotton, timber, and oil. Before and after the U.S. Civil War the cattle industry, which Texas came to dominate, was a major economic driver for the state, thus creating the traditional image of the Texas cowboy. In the later 19th century cotton and lumber grew to be major industries as the cattle industry became less lucrative. It was ultimately, though, the discovery of major petroleum deposits (Spindletop in particular) that initiated an economic boom which became the driving force behind the economy for much of the 20th century. Texas developed a diversified economy and high tech industry in the mid-20th century. As of 2015, it is second on the list of the most Fortune 500 companies with 54. With a growing base of industry, the state leads in many industries, including tourism, agriculture, petrochemicalsenergycomputers and electronicsaerospace, and biomedical sciences. Texas has led the U.S. in state export revenue since 2002 and has the second-highest gross state product. If Texas were a sovereign state, it would have the 10th largest economy in the world.

Seal of Texas.svg

A wide range of animals and insects live in Texas. It is the home to 65 species of mammals, 213 species of reptiles and amphibians, and the greatest diversity of bird life in the United States—590 native species in all. At least 12 species have been introduced and now reproduce freely in Texas.

Texas plays host to several species of wasps, including an abundance of Polistes exclamans, and is an important ground for the study of Polistes annularis.

During the spring Texas wildflowers such as the state flower, the bluebonnet, line highways throughout Texas. During the Johnson Administration the first lady, Lady Bird Johnson, worked to draw attention to Texas wildflowers.

Texas Hill Country

Steinhagen Reservoir

Palo Duro Canyon

Big Bend National Park

Houston

Houston

Dallas

Dallas

Austin

Austin

Texas population density map

The Burnet Flag used from December 1836 to January 1839 as the national flag until it was replaced by the Lone Star Flag, and as the war flag from January 25, 1839 to December 29, 1845

Naval ensign of the Texas Navy from 1836–1839 until it was replaced by the Lone Star Flag

The Lone Star Flag became the national flag on January 25, 1839 (identical to modern state flag)

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Know Your History: What Texas Can and Cannot Do | The Tactical Hermit

Economy

Main article: Economy of Texas

As of 2019, Texas had a gross state product (GSP) of $1.9 trillion, the second highest in the U.S. Its GSP is greater than the GDPs of BrazilCanadaRussiaSouth Korea and Spain, which are the world’s 9th-, 10th-, 11th-, 12th- and 13th-largest economies, respectively. Texas’s economy is the second-largest of any country subdivision globally, behind California.

Texas’s large population, an abundance of natural resources, thriving cities and leading centers of higher education have contributed to a large and diverse economy. Since oil was discovered, the state’s economy has reflected the state of the petroleum industry. In recent times, urban centers of the state have increased in size, containing two-thirds of the population in 2005. The state’s economic growth has led to urban sprawl and its associated symptoms.

As of May 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s unemployment rate was 13 percent.

In 2010, Site Selection Magazine ranked Texas as the most business-friendly state in the nation, in part because of the state’s three-billion-dollar Texas Enterprise Fund. Texas has the joint-highest number of Fortune 500 company headquarters in the United States, along with California. In 2010, there were 346,000 millionaires in Texas, constituting the second-largest population of millionaires in the nation.

Taxation

Texas has a “low taxes, low services” reputation. According to the Tax Foundation, Texans’ state and local tax burdens rank among the lowest in the nation, 7th lowest nationally; state and local taxes cost $3,580 per capita, or 8.4 percent of resident incomes. Texas is one of seven states that lack a state income tax.

Instead, the state collects revenue from property taxes (though these are collected at the county, city, and school district level; Texas has a state constitutional prohibition against a state property tax) and sales taxes. The state sales tax rate is 6.25 percent, but local taxing jurisdictions (cities, counties, special purpose districts, and transit authorities) may also impose sales and use tax up to 2 percent for a total maximum combined rate of 8.25 percent.

Texas is a “tax donor state”; in 2005, for every dollar Texans paid to the federal government in federal income taxes, the state got back about $0.94 in benefits. To attract business, Texas has incentive programs worth $19 billion per year (2012); more than any other U.S. state.

Agriculture and mining

Texas has the most farms and the highest acreage in the United States. The state is ranked No. 1 for revenue generated from total livestock and livestock products. It is ranked No. 2 for total agricultural revenue, behind California. At $7.4 billion or 56.7 percent of Texas’s annual agricultural cash receipts, beef cattle production represents the largest single segment of Texas agriculture. This is followed by cotton at $1.9 billion (14.6 percent), greenhouse/nursery at $1.5 billion (11.4 percent), broilers at $1.3 billion (10 percent), and dairy products at $947 million (7.3 percent).

Texas leads the nation in the production of cattle, horses, sheep, goats, wool, mohair and hay. The state also leads the nation in production of cotton which is the number one crop grown in the state in terms of value. The state grows significant amounts of cereal crops and produce. Texas has a large commercial fishing industry. With mineral resources, Texas leads in creating cement, crushed stone, lime, salt, sand and gravel.

Texas throughout the 21st century has been hammered by drought. This has cost the state billions of dollars in livestock and crops.

Energy

See also: Deregulation of the Texas electricity market and Economy of Texas § Energy

Ever since the discovery of oil at Spindletop, energy has been a dominant force politically and economically within the state. If Texas were its own country it would be the sixth largest oil producer in the world according to a 2014 study.

The Railroad Commission of Texas, contrary to its name, regulates the state’s oil and gas industry, gas utilities, pipeline safety, safety in the liquefied petroleum gas industry, and surface coal and uranium mining. Until the 1970s, the commission controlled the price of petroleum because of its ability to regulate Texas’s oil reserves. The founders of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) used the Texas agency as one of their models for petroleum price control.

Texas has known petroleum deposits of about 5 billion barrels (790,000,000 m3), which makes up about one-fourth of the known U.S. reserves. The state’s refineries can process 4.6 million barrels (730,000 m3) of oil a day. The Port Arthur Refinery in Southeast Texas is the largest refinery in the U.S. Texas also leads in natural gas production, producing one-fourth of the nation’s supply. Several petroleum companies are based in Texas such as: Occidental PetroleumConocoPhillipsExxonMobilHalliburtonMarathon OilTesoroValero Energy, and Western Refining.

According to the Energy Information Administration, Texans consume, on average, the fifth most energy (of all types) in the nation per capita and as a whole, following behind Wyoming, Alaska, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Iowa.

Unlike the rest of the nation, most of Texas is on its own alternating current power grid, the Texas Interconnection. Texas has a deregulated electric service. Texas leads the nation in total net electricity production, generating 437,236 MWh in 2014, 89% more MWh than Florida, which ranked second. As an independent nation, Texas would rank as the world’s eleventh-largest producer of electricity, after South Korea, and ahead of the United Kingdom.

The state is a leader in renewable energy commercialization; it produces the most wind power in the nation. In 2014, 10.6% of the electricity consumed in Texas came from wind turbines. The Roscoe Wind Farm in Roscoe, Texas, is one of the world’s largest wind farms with a 781.5 megawatt (MW) capacity. The Energy Information Administration states the state’s large agriculture and forestry industries could give Texas an enormous amount biomass for use in biofuels. The state also has the highest solar power potential for development in the U.S.

Technology

With large universities systems coupled with initiatives like the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, a wide array of different high tech industries have developed in Texas. The Austin area is nicknamed the “Silicon Hills” and the north Dallas area the “Silicon Prairie“. Many high-tech companies are located in or have their headquarters in Texas (and Austin in particular), including Dell, Inc., BorlandForcepointIndeed.comTexas InstrumentsPerot SystemsRackspace and AT&T.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration‘s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (NASA JSC) in Southeast Houston, sits as the crown jewel of Texas’s aeronautics industry. Both SpaceX and Blue Origin have their test facilities in Texas. Fort Worth hosts both Lockheed Martin‘s Aeronautics division and Bell Helicopter Textron. Lockheed builds the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the largest Western fighter program, and its successor, the F-35 Lightning II in Fort Worth.

Commerce

Texas’s affluence stimulates a strong commercial sector consisting of retail, wholesale, banking and insurance, and construction industries. Examples of Fortune 500 companies not based on Texas traditional industries are AT&TKimberly-ClarkBlockbusterJ. C. PenneyWhole Foods Market, and Tenet Healthcare.

Nationally, the Dallas–Fort Worth area, home to the second shopping mall in the United States, has the most shopping malls per capita of any American metropolitan statistical area.

Mexico, the state’s largest trading partner, imports a third of the state’s exports because of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA has encouraged the formation of controversial maquiladoras on the Texas–Mexico border.

Astronaut training at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Education in Texas

List of colleges and universities in Texas

Healthcare in Texas 

List of hospitals in Texas

Texas has many elite research medical centers. The state has nine medical schools, three dental schools, and two optometry schools. Texas has two Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) laboratories: one at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, and the other at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio—the first privately owned BSL-4 lab in the United States.

The Texas Medical Center in Houston, holds the world’s largest concentration of research and healthcare institutions, with 47 member institutions. Texas Medical Center performs the most heart transplants in the world. The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is a highly regarded academic institution that centers around cancer patient care, research, education and prevention.

San Antonio’s South Texas Medical Center facilities rank sixth in clinical medicine research impact in the United States. The University of Texas Health Science Center is another highly ranked research and educational institution in San Antonio.

Both the American Heart Association and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center call Dallas home. The institution’s medical school employs the most medical school Nobel laureates in the world.

USS Texas and USCGC Manowar, in the Houston Ship Channel - 160803-G-CZ043-133.jpg

Around 1,150 seaports dot Texas’s coast with over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of channels. Ports employ nearly one-million people and handle an average of 317 million metric tons. Texas ports connect with the rest of the U.S. Atlantic seaboard with the Gulf section of the Intracoastal Waterway. The Port of Houston today is the busiest port in the United States in foreign tonnage, second in overall tonnage, and tenth worldwide in tonnage. The Houston Ship Channel spans 530 feet (160 m) wide by 45 feet (14 m) deep by 50 miles (80 km) long.

USS TexasSan Jacinto Park in Fog.jpg

The world’s largest on-shore lifter resides at our facility on the Gulf of Mexico in Ingleside, Texas.  At 550 feet [167,64 meters] tall, the HLD can lift 13,000 tons.

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Politics of Texas

Political party strength in Texas

As of the general elections of 2020, a large majority of the members of Texas’s U.S. House delegation are Republican, along with both U.S. Senators. In the 114th United States Congress, of the 36 Congressional districts in Texas, 22 are held by Republicans and 13 by Democrats. One seat is vacant. Texas’s Senators are John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. Since 1994, Texans have not elected a Democrat to a statewide office. The state’s Democratic voters are made up primarily by liberal and minority groups in Austin, Beaumont, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio as well as minority voters in East and South Texas.

Criminal law

Texas has a reputation of very harsh criminal punishment for criminal offenses. It is one of the 32 states that practice capital punishment, and since the US Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976, 40% of all U.S. executions have taken place in Texas. As of 2008, Texas had the 4th highest incarceration rate in the U.S. Texas also has strong self defense laws, allowing citizens to use lethal force to defend themselves, their families, or their property.

Read more here: Texas – Wikipedia

Texas is classed as a “shall Issue” state with the law regulating ownership of firearms to any person at least 18 years old. Texas gun laws do not regulate the possession of firearms so any person, no matter what age, can possess a firearm as long as they are not a felon. To purchase a handgun a person must be at least 21 years old if buying from a federally licensed dealer. Licences to carry are issued to both residents and non-residents with a 4-6 hour training course required. Open carry is legal provided the handgun is in a shoulder or belt holster.

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