Did You Know

What US State Was Once An Independent Nation?

Texas was its own country, known as the Republic of Texas, from 1836 to 1846, before becoming a US state.

Texas is the only state which was a country (known as the Republic of Texas), before becoming part of the United States on February 19, 1846. The Republic of Texas was a sovereign country which gained its independence on March 2, 1836. Some of their neighbors included Wyoming Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma on the northern side, Arkansas to the southwest, Louisiana to the east, the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast, and Mexico to southwest and west. The Republic of Texas citizens were called Texians.

History of Texas Before Independence

Historiographically, Texas was one of the Spanish provinces known as the Spanish-Texas, and they were encouraged to set up residence in this region by the competing French interest. France ceded most of its North America claim including Texas to Spanish Louisiana in 1762, but during the Napoleonic era (1799 to 1803) Louisiana was returned to the French who sold it to the United States. The status of Texas during this transfer was unknown, but the Adam-Onis treaty helped when the Spanish surrendered Florida to the United States thus establishing a clear boundary between Louisiana and Texas. Texas together with Mexico gained their independence from Spain after the signing of the Cordoba treaty on August 24, 1821.

While Mexico was transitioning from a colony to an independent country, a group of settlers led by Stephen Austin negotiated the right to live in Texas with the Spanish governor. He later traveled to New Mexico to ask for support to settle in Texas. The creation of the Mexican Texas coincided with the settlement of the Americans under Austin, and this resulted in animosity between the settlers and the Mexican government. Soon afterward the Empresarios migrated to Texas. The conflict between these two groups resulted in President Bustamante banning American immigration to Mexican Texas which ignited the Texas Revolution that ended with Texas gaining their independence.

Independent Texas

Austin, the father of Texas, died on December 27, 1836, after serving as the secretary of state for two months. In 1836, five towns including Columbia, Velasco, Harrisburg, Galveston, and Washington-on-Brazos, served as the capital of Republic of Texas. In 1837, President Houston (the 1st president of Texas Republic) moved the capital city to Houston. Austin town became the capital in 1839. The first flag of Texas was the Burnet banner which was replaced by the Lone star flag in 1839. The politics in the country was between two factions’; the nationalist party under Lamar and their opponents, who advocated for the annexation of Texas to the United States, under Houston.

Government

After independence, the Texans elected a congress of 29 representatives and 14 senators in the September 1836 election. Their constitution allowed the first president to serve for only two years while the other served for three years. Every eligible voter in Texas had to be a citizen, and according to the constitution, not everyone who was living in Texas before March 2, 1836, became a citizen.

Diplomatic Relations

President Jackson recognized the Republic of Texas as an independent nation and even selected an official to represent him in the new country on March 3, 1837. France officially recognized Texas as independent on September 25, 1839. Texas received diplomatic recognition from other nations including Netherlands and Belgium.

The United States Congress passed the bill allowing them to annex Texas on February 28, 1845, and it was signed into law by President Tyler on March 1, 1845. The proposal was put to the vote, and most of the voters approved the offer and a new constitution which allowed slavery. The Republic of Texas became an American state on December 29, 1845.

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