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The first European to visit what is now Texas was Alonso Alvarez de Pineda, who mapped the coast in 1519. Cabeza de Vaca, a Spanish noble, was the first to explore the area. Shipwrecked near what is now Galveston in 1528, he was captured by the Karankawa Indians and traveled with them for eight years before escaping. In 1541 Francisco Coronado crossed the Panhandle in search of gold. Later, parties of Spaniards camped in the wilderness, but they left no settlements.

The French explorer La Salle missed the mouth of the Mississippi River in 1685 and sailed into Matagorda Bay. He pushed inland and built Fort St. Louis, which two years later was wiped out by Native Americans already living in the area. Fear of French influence hurried the Spanish into extending missions into eastern Texas.

By 1800 some 25 missions and a number of presidios had been built in Texas. The missions had little success in converting the Native Americans to the alien Spanish culture and failed to attract settlers. A 1795 census found 69 families in San Antonio. The few additional families were mainly at what are now Goliad and Nacogdoches.

After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the United States regarded eastern Texas as its territory. Spain refused to recognize the claim and won control of about 96,000 square miles (248,639 square kilometers) through the Adams-Onнs Treaty of 1819. After Mexico gained its independence from Spain, this boundary (the Sabine River and northward) was confirmed by a treaty with the United States.

The way to American settlement was opened when Moses Austin of Connecticut won Spain's consent to settle 300 Anglo-American families in Texas. His son, Stephen F. Austin, is called the father of Texas because he brought the first group of colonists to the lower Brazos River in December 1821. The capital of the settlement was established at San Felipe de Austin, in present Austin County, in 1823.

Mexico made additional land grants to other settlers. Drawn by an abundance of public lands where corn and cotton grew, whites from the South and Southwest and their black slaves swelled the population. As immigration into Texas from the United States increased, however, Mexico grew more hostile. Resentment flared in 1826 when American promoters set up the short-lived Fredonian republic at Nacogdoches. By 1830 the population of Texas had grown to nearly 25,000, and further American immigration, including the importation of African American slaves, was forbidden. Disputes with Mexico increased. After Santa Anna became the dictator of Mexico, the Texans revolted. The first open battle was fought at Gonzales on Oct. 2, 1835.

Republic of Texas

The Texans held a convention at Washington on the Brazos and adopted a declaration of independence on March 2, 1836. A constitution modeled after that of the United States was adopted by the new Republic of Texas.

The most striking event in the Texas war for independence was the heroic defense of the Alamo in San Antonio. A rebuilt mission, the Alamo was used as a fort by about 180 Americans. After a siege of 12 days by several thousand Mexican soldiers under Santa Anna, the Alamo fell on March 6, 1836, and the garrison was wiped out. Later in the month the Mexicans massacred James Fannin and more than 300 Texas prisoners at Goliad. "Remember the Alamo" and "Remember Goliad" became Texas war cries.

Independence was won after Gen. Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna on the banks of the San Jacinto River near Houston on April 21, 1836. In September Sam Houston was elected president of the republic.

The new nation was hemmed in by the Indian frontier from the Red River to the hostile Mexican border along the Rio Grande. These threats led to the development of the famous Texas Rangers, expert horsemen and marksmen. The Rangers, the oldest state police force in the United States, are now a branch of the Department of Public Safety.

From 1836 to 1845 the public debt grew from 1 million to 8 million dollars. Many believed that the future development of Texas would be greater under the United States. In 1844 a convention voted for annexation and a state constitution was adopted.

Реферат опубликован: 29/01/2010