The History Of How Texas Cities Evolved

A brief overview of some of the areas of Texas history that led to the evolution of many cities.

Texas is the only state in the union that was its own country. Conflicts with Mexico and Native Americans, cattle drives and the discovery of oil all contributed to the growth of various cities.

Spanish explorers and settlers started many cities in South Texas, including San Antonio. Multiple fights with Mexico over the rights of republics under Mexican government started the war that would eventually create the Republic of Texas. Later, Texas would accept the bid to join the Union and become the 28th state. Corpus Christi held the first Lone Star State Fair in 1852, which started a prosperous time for Texas. Most southern cities grew in size and culture as Texans and Mexicans blended cultures. These cities still draw visitors for a taste of Tex-Mex food, fairs and shopping.

Around ten different Native American tribes used the northern and western parts of current day Texas. Once settlers from states Virginia, Tennessee and others started moving west, the government decided more protection was needed from Native American attacks. A series of forts were constructed at various points, including the area that is presently Fort Worth. The military and settler presence forced a treaty with the Native American tribes. They were given the area west of an imaginary line and settlers took the eastern part. The city of Fort Worth sits at the point where people considered "where the west begins". These forts tended to attract regular settlers and many of them became cities.

After the Civil War, many northern states suffered from food shortages such as beef. Texas had huge herds of cattle. Regular cattle drives were organized, herding thousands of cattle northward. Cowboys on horseback, using ropes and guns, guided the herds through dangerous Native American territory to other cities that had railroads. Fort Worth built large processing plants and stockyards to hold the cattle while cowboys rested. Eventually a railroad was established in this area to take cattle and other goods to the rest of the union.

Many cities in central Texas grew up from German immigration, such as New Braunfels. Immigrants were attracted to Texas because of the amount of available land. The German influence is widely apparent in many Texas cities, as well as Czech and other nationalities. Cities around Del Rio evolved quickly once large-scale irrigation was started due to a network of canals. The High Plains area evolved cities that were home to many produce growers and shippers.

The first oil was found in Corsicana in 1894. The field was small, but it was an important first step in the booming growth and reputation of Texas. In 1901, oil or 'black gold' was discovered near the city of Beaumont. The huge oilfields rapidly grew the coastal cities of Beaumont, Houston and others as cash and investment poured into the state. Transportation was along railroad and waterways.

The Agricultural and Mechanical College, now Texas A&M, started the city of College Station in 1876. Other universities in Austin (The University of Texas) and Texas Tech University in Lubbock brought higher education to Texas. These schools quickly became flagships and attracted large numbers of students from all over. These students took jobs in Texas cities and boosted levels of technology and other fields to new levels.

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