“Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word. And there’s an opening convey of generalities. A Texan outside of Texas is a foreigner.”—John Steinbeck
Texas. Does the state really need any introduction? Is everything really bigger in Texas? Should we really refrain from messing with it? Catchphrases aside, Texas can be seen as representing all that people love about the US as a whole. It’s a melting pot of cultural influences thanks to the era of “six flags over Texas.” It’s the American frontier turned site of glittering, prosperous cities; where Dixie South meets cowboy West meets Latin-American inflected Southwestern influence. Get what we’re saying? It’s home to multitudes. Read on for 45 massive facts about the Lone Star state.
The Texas Rangers are the oldest police force in North America, and to this day have jurisdiction throughout the entire state. Sometimes they even give out honorary Ranger titles, meaning that both John Wayne and Chuck Norris have been named Texas Rangers. But, one could argue, Chuck Norris is not a Texas Ranger, but instead, the Texas Rangers are Chuck Norris.
44. Home of Computers
If it wasn’t for Texas, we wouldn’t have computers as we know them. Working for Texas Instruments in Dallas, Jack Kilby developed the Integrated Circuit, which would prove to be driving force behind spreading information technology on a wide scale. For his work, Kilby was award a Nobel Prize in Physics.
43. Five Headed Monster
If the state really wanted to—and if there is one thing about Texas we all know it’s that Texas does as Texas wants—they could split themselves into five different states without the need for Federal approval. Not to mention that, at its current size, the state is actually larger than every single country in Europe.
42. Oscar the Oscar
Part of the allure of the Academy Awards is their Oscar statuette. This statue is one of the great symbols of creative success in the Western world, but the naming of the statue has its roots in Texas. Before she became Director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Margaret Herrick made her legacy by remarking that the statue looked like her stoic Texan uncle named Oscar.
41. Camels in Texas
Yup. On two different occasions during the middle of the 19th century, the United States government imported camels into the state, under the belief that they dessert animals would provide great support for the Indian Wars. Though they were then completely out of place in Texas, they would survive in the area into the next century, as people would come across their humps well into the 1920s.
40. Camel Legacy
In the city of Galveston, Texas, it is still illegal to allow your camel to get let loose and roam on the shoreline of the city.
39. Hanging On To Cattle
Not only is it illegal to steal or tag someone else’s cattle with graffiti, but this crime is also still punishable by hanging.
38. Texan Treaty
Texas has the distinction of being the only state in the federal union of the United States to have entered into the union through a treaty rather than through territorial annexation. It is known as the Tyler-Texas treaty Because Texas calls the shots itself.
37. Texan Trepidation
Though Texas would eventually join the Union, there was considerable trepidation by the United States government at the time due to the volatile political climate. Both the Democrats and the Whig parties initially were against adopting the state into the Union because it was one of the strongest slaveholding regions on the entire continent. For Texas to be officially annexed, it took for President John Tyler to buck both majority political parties and make the call all by himself to annex the state.
36. *Single Tear*
Everybody knows that you don’t mess with Texas. But does anyone actually know why? It’s not just because you don’t want to get in the way of a tough Texan. It was originally a slogan for a campaign to reduce littering. It was run by the Texas Department of Transportation, who installed billboards along highways in Texas. The campaign worked, and roadside litter was reduced by about 72% in the late ’80s.
35. Highs and Lows
Yes, Texas can get hot as hell, but it can also get cold sometimes! On two occasions, in 1899 and 1933, a temperature of -23 was recorded in the state. This provides a nice counter to the highest temperature recorded there, which was 120 degrees Fahrenheit in 1994. As we’re all learning right now, climate can be a crazy thing.
34. Town Without Killings
Texas has a reputation to uphold, and one town has a unique reputation, considering its name. The small town is known as Slaughter, Texas is proud to have never once had a homicide in its history.
33. Slaughter Leader
Slaughter, Texas is named after the one and only Colonel Christopher Columbus Slaughter. Slaughter is known as the first “Cattle King of Texas” and is responsible for forming the industry of serious cattle ranchers in the area. Slaughter went so far as to advocate for beef to be a part of the daily diet, because, well it’s delicious. And it also probably helped out his business.
32. Houston of Virginia
Sam Houston was the living embodiment of Texas and is perhaps the most famous of all Texans in American history. The only problem is that he isn’t actually a Texan. Instead, Houston was actually a native of Virginia, and also served as Governor of Tennessee at some point. But, that’s what the United States is, a land of movement.
31. Taller Than The Rest
The Washington Monument may be more famous, but things are just bigger in Texas. The San Jacinto Monument of La Porte, Texas is a whole 15-feet taller than the monument in DC and is the tallest stone column structure in the world. Take that, Washington!
30. How Old Can You Go?
Texas is home to the oldest construction found in North America, known as the Kincaid Shelter. Believe to be built by the Clovis peoples, the Kincaid Shelter is able to give archaeologists and historians a window into the mindset and ways of the ancient peoples of the continent dating back 13,000 years.
29. Enough Oil
Texas is home to 31.5% of the total oil reserves of the entire United States. This is an incredible 403,788 billions gallons of oil, which is enough to fill up 54,000 White Houses.
28. Country of its Own
With two-thirds of Russia’s entire GDP, Texas by itself has the 13th highest GDP in the entire world, valued at $1.43 trillion. That is some serious financial sway.
27. Gun Country
If Texas wanted to, they could arm entire universities and branches of government with automatic rifles, as there are now over 36,500 registered machine guns in the entire state, and over 590,000 registered weapons overall. Yet, somehow, the Lone Star state comes in second in terms of automatic weapons, just under the state of Connecticut.
26. Pounding Catfish
Known for their beef, Texas sure does love its catfish as well. Residents eat over 109 million pounds of catfish a year, which is equivalent to almost 7 entire Empire State Buildings.
25. Is the Catfish to Blame?
30% of the entire adult population of Texas is obese, which means that if you took all of the obese people in the state, you’d have a state that would still be more populous than Minnesota.
24. Parents of the State
Texas was founded by “The Old 300,” which were the original 300 American families who were moved to the region by Stephen Fuller Austin, known now as the “father” of Texas. Jane Long is referred to as the “mother” of the state, as she was recognized as the first woman to give birth to a white child in the state. Uh…
23. Grab Life By The…
If you want to get some bull balls in your life, head on over to Amarillo, Texas. Each year the city hosts the World’s Largest Calf Fry Cook-Off, where cooks compete in the art that is frying bull testicles. Amarillo is also home to 90% of the entire world’s helium reserves. Funny place.
22. Future Spending
Texans think about the future. In 1968, someone buried a time capsule containing a passbook with a $10 deposit to a bank account, expecting a serious payout in the future. How serious? An expected $1 quadrillion when it is to be opened up in 2968. Hm, that seems like some lofty expectations, but hey, if you don’t shoot, you can’t score, right?
21. Walk It, Talk It
The George Bush International airport is so massive that is has resorted to unique ways of handling complaints. After receiving tons of complaints about the wait time for baggage, the airport decided that instead of becoming more efficient, they would simply move the baggage claim further away. The logic was that the walk to the baggage claim would take longer, meaning that people would perceive the wait time to be shorter rather than it actually being reduced. Surprise, surprise, it worked.
20. Drive Fast
Texas is naturally home to the fastest road inside of the United States. This road is in Austin and has a record speed limit of 85 miles per hour.
19. Whistle, Don’t Clap While You Work
“Deep in the Heart of Texas” is one of the state’s anthems, even Pee-Wee Herman knows that. It is considered such an infectious melody, that in 1942, the BBC barred DJs from playing the song during working hours, because it was wartime and they felt that workers would be unable to control themselves, and resort to clapping along to the song instead of working.
18. Texas German
When Germans emigrated to Texas during the 19th century, they brought with them a unique dialect that would soon die in their homeland. Fast forward to today, and Texas is the only place in the world where this German dialect is spoken, where it has fused with English and evolved into an interesting linguistic expression.
17. Not For the Faint of Heart
Mumbai, India is one of the most populous cities in the entire world with 18.41 million people, but it ain’t got nothing on the bat colonies of Texas. Home to the largest bat colony in the world, Bracken Cave has over 20 million bats. The city of Austin is also home to the largest urban bat colony on the continent.
16. Fishing in Church
If you were a massive church in Texas with a talent for raking it in when the collection basket is passed, how would you spend your millions? Well, one evangelical church in Dallas decided to put their money where the fish’s mouth is, and spent $4.7 million on a fish aquarium at the church.
15. Texas Football
The Dallas Cowboys are apparently America’s team, but that doesn’t make then Dallas’s team, as they haven’t played football in the city since 1971.
Bucking any Southern stereotype, the city San Antonio is home to the highest percentage of LGBTQ parents in the United States.
13.What A Surprise
The United States has three power grids overall. One of the East, one for the West, and of course, one solely for Texas.
12. Continue On
After the Vietnam War, the government of South Vietnam worked in exile out of Missouri City, Texas, with plans to go back into their home country and retake the entire country by the year 2018. The government stayed there all the way up until 2013, when they finally broke apart and abandoned the plans of re-conquering their homeland.
Texas gets down with junk food. Known for their creativity, the most popular assemblage of snack foods in the country are Frito Pies—chili, onions, and cheese mixed into a bag of fritos—and a can of Dr Pepper with peanuts in it. Oh, and Dr Pepper was created in Waco, Texas by an actual pharmacist by the name of Charles Alderton in 1885.
10. Texas Plagiarism
Brigham Young University takes their plagiarism so serious that they also make sure no other universities plagiarize their own plagiarism policies. In 2008, BYU accused the University of Texas at San Antonio for plagiarizing their honor codes.
The name of Texas comes from the Hasinai word for “friends.” The Native American tribe lived in the region, and the Spanish adopted their word into “Tejas,” which then transformed into “Texas” by the English speakers of the region.
8. But Not Really Friends
Sadly, the peoples who the word for Texas comes from were murdered into extinction by foreign settlers.
7. One Star To Rule Them All
The state of Texas is known for its lone star, and is thus referred to as the “Lone Star State.” This comes from the desire to remember their history and the state’s struggle to secede from Mexico and become its own independent republic—its own lone star, if you want to be cheeky. And of course, we want to be cheeky.
6. Nation of its Own
Texas was an independent nation from 1836-1845, and as a part of their agreement in joining the Union, they retained their right to fly their lone star flag at the same height as the national flag of the United States.
5.Whiskey to Keep On
The deadliest natural disaster to occur in the history of the United States was the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. More than 8,000 people died at the hands of the storm, and the death toll was so serious that men had to be conscripted to collect the dead and burn their bodies. In order to keep the volunteers from breaking down, the government passed out free whiskey to all of the men.
4. Earliest Serial Killer
Before Jack the Ripper tore thru London and caused widespread fear and panic, the Servant Girl Annihilator—named by the famous writer O. Henry—preyed upon the city of Austin, Texas in 1884 and 1885. This serial killers modus operandi was to attack victims while they were in bed asleep, killing 8 victims total. To this day, no one knows who committed the murders, which has, of course, led to speculation that the villain went overseas and became Jack the Ripper.
3. Snakes on a Body
In 1996, Texan resident Valentin Grimaldo had a run in with a poisonous snake that did not bode well for the snake. After being bitten and injected with venom, Grimaldo bit the head of the snake off, skinned it, and then tied its body around the bite as a way to compress blood and stop the flow of the venom. Yeah, don’t mess with the people of Texas.
2. Janis’s Suffering
Texas spares no one. While attended in University of Texas at Austin in 1962, Janis Joplin was voted to be the “ugliest man on campus.” Yeah, the pain in her voice was real.
1. Jesse’s Chili
Jesse James did not mess around. But that said, the notorious outlaw did have one interesting weak point. During one roll through Texas, James was hitting banks left and right, leaving people shook in the wake of his outlaw ways. But when he was in the city of McKinney, people were spared from his mayhem due to their skills in cooking chili. Yes, that’s right, one bank served a chili to their customers that James found to be so good that he chose to spare the bank and leave them be to cook in peace.