explorers, including Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca and Francisco Vasquez de
Coronado, were the first to visit the region in the 16th and 17th centuries,
settling at Ysleta near El Paso in 1682. In 1685, sieur de la Salle established
a short-lived French colony at Matagorda Bay.
Americans, led by Stephen
F. Austin, began to settle along the Brazos River in 1821 when Texas was
controlled by Mexico, recently independent from Spain. In 1836, following
a brief war between the American settlers in Texas and the Mexican government,
the Independent Republic of Texas was proclaimed with Sam Houston as president.
The war was famous for
the battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto. After Texas became the 28th US
State on December 29, 1845, border disputes led to the Mexican War in 1846-1848.
family started immigrating to Texas from other southern states during
the 1840's and 1850's, settling in Blanco, Hays, Limestone, Nacogdoches,
Smith, Washington, Williamson, and other counties in Texas.
The lure of large land
grants and good farm land in Eastern Texas was too much of a draw for many
farmers in that era. Thousands flocked to live in Texas and the population
increased from 125,000 in 1845 to over 600,000 in 1860. By 1900, the population
had increased to over 3,000,000. Today (2005) the population is over 22,000,000.