Capital City: Austin
Area Square Miles 261,914
Area Square kilometers 678,355
Texas is the second-largest U.S. state in both area and population, and the largest state in the contiguous United States. The name had wide usage among native Americans, meaning "friends" or "allies". Located in the South Central United States, Texas is bordered by Mexico to the south, New Mexico to the west, Oklahoma to the north, Arkansas to the northeast, and Louisiana to the east.
Due to its size and geologic features such as the Balcones Fault, Texas contains diverse landscapes that resemble both the American Southeast and the Southwest. Although Texas is popularly associated with the Southwestern deserts, less than 10% of the land area is desert. Most of the population centers are located in areas of former prairies, grasslands, forests, 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. Due to its long history as a center of the American cattle industry, Texas is associated with the image of the cowboy.
The term "six flags over Texas" came from the several nations that had rule over the territory. Spain was the first European country to claim the area of Texas. France held a short-lived colony in Texas. Mexico controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming an independent Republic. In 1845 it joined the United States as the 28th state. The state's annexation set off a chain of events that caused the Mexican–American War in 1846. Texas declared its secession from the United States in early 1861, joining the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. After the war and its restoration to the Union, Texas entered a long period of economic stagnation.
In the early 1900s, oil discoveries initiated an economic boom in the state. Texas has since economically diversified. Today it has more Fortune 500 companies than any other U.S. state.