About the Great State of Texas
Are you a newcomer to Texas? If so, you'll find the native (and long-term) Texans friendly and welcoming! However, you may want to bone up on your Texas facts and trivia, to avoid the discomfort of being seen as a "foreigner." We Texans are proud of our Lone Star heritage and our history, and we appreciate those who learn about its customs and traditions when they relocate to our area.
Texas is not only the biggest of the 48 mainland states (Alaska has a larger land mass), it is the second-most-populated state, behind California. (But more of those Californians are headed this way every day, due to our business-friendly environment!) There are many different landscapes in Texas, including mountains, desert, rivers and lakes. The state has the most native birds of any -- a total of 590 different species -- and provides many great centers for bird study. While best known for petroleum development and agriculture, Texas is also home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other state.
The complex culture called "Texas" can be described as a melting pot of "Southern" (Dixie) and "Southwestern" culture, with pockets of ethnic group towns and settlements in many locations. In addition to the obvious influence of nearby Mexico, immigrants from Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Africa, and historic tribes of Native Americans have made large contributions to Texas history.
Some parts of Texas are windy and dusty, others are still and humid. Some parts are prairies, others are forests of cedar, pine, or crooked live oak. Some parts are on the warm coast, others on the tops of cold mountains or hot brushy hills. Some parts are a desert, others receive more rain than Oregon! It is larger in size than most European nations, and a region of great geographic diversity.
The history of Texas, particularly of the old independent Republic of Texas
, is intimately bound up with its present culture. Its folklore depicts connection with is historical ranching and cowboy cultures, the American Old West, and the Texas War of Independence. The historic cry of "Remember the Alamo!" is more than a catch phrase, and represents a real pride in the heritage of the state and its heroes.
The Lone Star State helped popularize a musical style that made the Texas cowboy an international icon, forever identified with country music. But the Texas music scene actually encompasses a wide variety of ethnic musical genres and regional styles. Texas has a vibrant live music scene, especially in Austin, which boasts more music venues per capita than any other U.S. city. The annual multimedia festival South by Southwest
attracts artists and audiences from across the country each yet. The longest-running concert music program on American television, Austin City Limits
, is videotaped at the University of Texas campus.
is often thought of as primarily chili
(the official state food) and barbecue
. While both are delicious and popular, they certainly don't define the limits of historical Texas foods. To truly understand Texas cuisine, one must know something of the land and the people. As varied as the topography is the fusion of 27 ethnic or cultural groups, each stirring their own ingredients into timeless Texas recipes. Mexico provides the basics for today's popular Tex Mex
flavors, using lots of corn masa, peppers, onions and spices with beef, chicken, pork or goat. Mexican desserts include delicious fried sopapillas and flan.
African Americans deserve great credit for the Texas legacy of Southern cooking, including fried chicken and catfish as well a the art of turning greens and beans into culinary masterpieces! Biscuits and red-eye gravy, black-eyed peas, peach cobbler and pecan pie all arrived via the Deep South. French influence brought Cajun and Creole cuisine through Louisiana. German skills at smoking meat and concocting sausage developed into today's Texas barbecue. Chicken-fried steak is an adaptation of the German wiener schnitzel. Czech contributions include sausages, kolaches and potato pancakes.
There's so much more to learn about the Great State of Texas! If you'd like to delve into more history, trivia, cultural or travel information, you might want to begin with some of the links below:
Culture and Arts:
Travel and Tourism:
Trivia and Fun Facts: