Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Texas
TEXAS, the largest in area and the eleventh in population of the United States of America, is bounded by the Gulf of Mexico on the S.E., by Louisiana and Arkansas on the E., by Arkansas and the Indian Territory on the N., the latter extending north of its northern prolongation (the Panhandle), by New Mexico on the W. and N. of its western prolongation (the trans-Pecos region), and by Mexico on the S.W. Its area in 1880 was 262,290 square miles, or one-eleventh (nearly 9 per cent.) of the entire area of the United States. The extreme length is 740 miles, the breadth 825, and the coast line 400 miles. The boundaries, as recognized by the United States Government, are—the Gulf of Mexico from the Rio Grande to the Sabine river, the Sabine river to 32° N. lat., thence the meridian of 94° 10' to the Red river of Louisiana, thence following that river west to its intersection with the 100th meridian, thence north to lat. 36° 30', thence west to 103° W. long., thence south to lat. 32°, thence west to its intersection with the Rio Grande, which river constitutes the south-western border of the State to the Gulf of Mexico.
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like the marine Upper Cretaceous of the black prairie region, are the direct geographical continuation of the formations of the other Gulf States. They occupy the coast plain, in bands approximately concentric with the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, and represent the sediments of its receding waters. The alleged occurrence of the fresh-water Miocene, the Loup river group (M), upon the Llano Estacado has not been demonstrated. Quaternary (Q) and other recent alluvial deposits occur along the coast and the upper terraces of the three older river systems as far west as the eastern border of the central region. This is attested by the character of the deposits, accompanied by well-authenticated remains of the elephant and mastodon. These Quaternary soils are mostly the redeposited detritus of the strata of the eastern escarpment of the Llano Estacado, which is carried down by the “red rises.” The surface features of the central region are the result of sub-aerial denudation. The black prairie is protected from this destructive erosive process by the tenacious character of its soil; and the coast plain is covered by a luxuriant forest growth, and is constantly extending eastward by the recession of the shore line. The final emergence of the State began in Middle Cretaceous time, and was connected with the same movements that brought up the Rocky Mountain system. The strata of Texas, except the Palæozoic groups, are soft, and yield readily to disintegration. A few eruptive sheets are found in the trans-Pecos region and along the lower Rio Grande, being remnants of the eastern edge of the great eruptive area of the Rocky Mountain region. Granitic masses occur, as extrusions from thepre-Cambrian, in the central and trans-Pecos Palæozoic deposits.
towards the Gulf of Mexico after passing south of 33° N. lat., and take a south-easterly course through Texas into Mexico, the trend of their axes being generally parallel to the direction of the Rio Grande and its principal tributaries. The only true mountains in Texas are situated west of the Pecos, with the exception of a few foot-hills (lomitas) which re-enter the State from Mexico near Eagle Pass and follow the river to an undetermined point below Laredo. The principal ranges are the Guadalupe, Limpia, Chinali, Los Chisos, Organ, and Franklin Mountains. They are composed of older rocks, in most places; the later formations have been washed away, except where protected by eruptive flows. The most eastern and northern of these mountains are usually the highest. Guadalupe Peak is 9000 feet; Limpia Peak and the crest of the Chinalis, from 3500 to 8000 feet; Eagle Mountains, 7000; and the intervening valleys from 3500 to 5000 feet. The low buttes of the central region are miscalled mountains upon most maps. There are several well-defined escarpments extending for long distances, approximately north and south The step of the first of these, from Austin to Eagle Pass, is from 200 to 500 feet high, and is the result of an elevation at the close of the early Cretaceous period. Near the 100th meridian another escarpment occurs, and along the eastern and southern borders of the Staked Plain still another. The western part of the coast plain has a few low hills.The rest of the State has no notable prominences.
and hence the State ranks last in mineral products. The trans-Pecos region is rich in silver and lead ores; but the State owns the mineral rights of nearly all the land, and has hitherto declined to open them to development. Only one mine is worked here. Silver and gold have also been discovered and mined in Llano and Mason counties, but without successful results. Gold occurs throughout the marine limestones of the lowest (Texas) group of the Cretaceous, but not in sufficient quantity for profitable extraction. Rich but not abundant copper ores occur in the drift of the gypsum country. Iron ore is found in the Tertiary of eastern Texas, and is profitably reduced in a few charcoal furnaces by the aid of convict labour. At present these are remote from coal and suitable means of transportation. Magnetic iron ore occurs in the pre-Cambrian rocks of Mason county, and recent analyses show it to be equal in quality to the best Swedish ores. It is in great abundance, but remote from means of transportation and fuel. Ores of iron (sphæro-siderite) occur in the central Carboniferous formation, but their commercial value is unknown. The non-metals occur in great abundance in different portions of the State, including salt, gypsum, magnesium sulphate, natural cements, kaolin, and other clays. The unutilized beds of massive gypsum are, with the exception of those of the Sahara and the Andes, the purest and most extensive in the world. Salt is gathered from lacustral deposits or mined at El Paso, Colorado City, and along the lower Gulf coast for local use. The coals of the central Carboniferous area have been worked to some extent, but are generally of inferior quality, having from 50 to 70 per cent. of ash. Very recent discoveries of better quality have been reported. Tertiary fibrous lignite, of light specific gravity, is found in great abundance all along the junction of the coast plain and black prairie regions. It is worked to a small extent, but has no commercial value. The most important coal area is the semi-bituminous lignite belt of the trans-Pecos and lower RioGrande regions, which is the direct geographical continuation of
worked at Eagle Pass and Santa Toma, near Laredo. The beautiful marbles and other ornamental stones of the State are untouched,with the exception of the Llano county granite.
mean annual varying from 52.3 inches at Galveston to 13 at El Paso in the extreme west and 23 at Mobeetie in the extreme north. The subjoined table gives the mean temperature and rainfall ofcertain representative localities:—
|Mean Precipitation in Inches.|
|Black Prairie Region.|
| San Antonio||600||63.09||6.77||8.91||9.30||6.32||31.30|
| Fort Belknap||1600||..||6.41||9.44||8.34||3.86||28.50|
| Fort Chadburne||2020||..||5.77||6.53||7.06||3.52||22.88|
| Fort Griffin||..||..||4.95||6.25||6.14||4.17||21.51|
| Fort Clark||1000||..||4.14||7.57||6.55||4.35||22.61|
| Fort Duncan||..||..||3.56||8.60||6.54||2.63||21.33|
| Fort Inge||845||..||5.38||9.67||6.88||3.53||25.46|
| Fort Mason||1200||..||6.36||10.44||8.22||3.96||28.98|
| Fort Makavet||2060||..||5.40||6.71||7.18||4.22||23.51|
| Fort Elliott||..||54.6||..||..||..||..||23.90|
| Fort Concho||..||63.6||..||..||..||..||30.90|
| El Paso||3830||63.2||..||..||..||..||13.00|
| Fort Stockton||4950||62.8||..||..||..||..||20.00|
| Fort Davis||4700||59.8||..||..||..||..||20.38|
rainfall for agricultural purposes. It decreases, however, to the west, and varies greatly in different years, sometimes being ample; but in 1885-86 it did not average 10 inches. The precipitation is also very sudden, seldom lasting more than a few minutes at a time. Only 52 per cent. of the 20 inches of rainfall in the central region and west of it falls in the agricultural season, one-half being in summer and the remainder in autumn, so that it is equivalent to only 15 inches in regions where the rainfall occurs in more propitious seasons. This condition is, however, especially favourable for grazing. There are few statistics of the plains region; but the rainfall along its eastern escarpment is slightly greater and more regular than that of the central region. The temperature varies greatly throughout the State, both in extremes and means. Fort Ringgold on the lower Rio Grande is the hottest point in the United States, except Key West, Fla. Its mean temperature is 73.4° Fahr.; that of El Paso is 63°, and of Mobeetie 54.6°. The prevalent winds are southerly and south-easterly, and blow constantly across the State, without which its summers would be unendurable. The Rio Grande valley is not subject to frosts. Snow seldom falls south ofGalveston and Austin. In the Panhandle the winters are severe.
north-eastern Texas, conformable with the coast plain, where, immediately south of the Colorado river the great pine belt of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts terminates. The flora of the great plains region, principally consisting of nutritious grasses, enters the north-western portion of the State and extends south to the 32d parallel and east to the 101st meridian. The peculiar plants of the Rocky Mountain plateaus penetrate into the trans-Pecos region, while the north Mexican flora is found along the Rio Grande. The central region is a transition ground where these floras find representation generally in deteriorated and dwarfed species. In the coast plain occur the long and short leaf pine, with many species of oak and hickory. The black prairie region is destitute of trees, except scattered individuals of live oak and the mesquite bush (Prosopis glandulosa). The broad river valleys of this region, however, are well-timbered with pecan, cypress, cottonwood, and several species of oak, and have a vigorous growth of smaller shrubs. West of the black prairie region the dwarfed, stunted trees are of little value except for fuel. The river valleys have the same character of trees as further east, but the rocky highlands are covered with scraggy bushes (chaparral) of oak, juniper, and cedar. The summits of the Guadalupe and Limpia ranges, in the trans-Pecos region, are clothed with forests of the yellow (Pinus ponderosa), flexible (P. flexilis), and nut pine (P. edulis), all of which attain great size. Many smaller trees grow on these mountains. The valleys and several of the ranges in the last-named region, however, are destitute of trees. The entire Rio Grande valley, from El Paso to Brownsville, grows many species of cactus and other prickly, coriaceous shrubs. The grasses of the State are especially numerous inspecies, and are found most luxuriantly on the prairies of the lower
the State comes entirely from the east Texas pine forests. Thecedar, juniper, and mesquite are only utilized for fuel and fencing.
and lynx (Felis rufa) are common to all parts of the State. The bison, wild horse, prongbuck (Antilocapra americana), coyote (Canis latrans), grey wolf (C. lupus), eastern prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus), and the lesser Mammalia of the great Rocky Mountain plains constitute the fauna of the north-western part of the State, reaching into the western part of the central region. Their southern limit is approximately the 31st parallel. The highest ranges of the trans-Pecos region possess the unique avian and mammalian fauna of the Rocky Mountains, including the black-tailed or mule deer (Cariacus macrotis) and Rocky Mountain sheep, with a few Mexican species. The lower valleys have a mingling of the Mexican, Rocky Mountain, and great plain faunas. Along the valley of the Rio Grande, and extending northward in places, the subtropical fauna is Mexican, including the peccary (Dicotyles torquatus), armadillo (Dasypus peba), jaguar (Felis onca), and ocelot (Felis pardalis). Among the birds are the scissor-tail (Milvulus forficatus), Mexican eagle (Polyborus cheriway), chaparral cock (Geococcyx viaticus), and numerous other unique forms. The fauna of the humid wooded coast plain is the south-western continuation and termination of that of the South Atlantic and Gulf States, with slight variations, and includes the Virginia deer (Cariacus leucurus), raccoon (Procyon lotor), opossum (Didelphys virginiana), alligator, &c. The black prairie region limits the last named fauna on the west, except in its wooded river bottoms. The central region possesses representatives of the great plains, Rocky Mountain, Mexican, and Louisiana faunas, but none of them cross it into other regions. It is a true transitional ground of most of thefaunas of all temperate North America, east of the Pacific slope.
753,909 females), and in 1887 it was estimated to have risen to 2,415,000, giving 9.2 inhabitants to the square mile. Of the population in 1880 1,477,133 were natives of the United States and 114,616 foreign born. There were 393,384 Negroes, 136 Chinese, 992 Indians, and 43,000 civilized aborigines (Mexicans). Of the entire population 522,133 persons were engaged in occupations as follows:—in agriculture (including stock-raising), 359,317 (68.8 per cent.); in law, medicine, and other professions, 97,651 (18.7 per cent.); in trade and transportation, 34,909 (67 per cent.); in manufacturing and mining, 30,346 (5.8 per cent.). At the same date there were 3153 prisoners, 2276 idiots, 1564 insane, 533 paupers, 1375 blind, and 771 deaf. 13.9 per cent. of the native whites, 24.7 of the foreigners, and 75.4 of the Negroes—or 29.7 per cent of the entire population—were unable to read or write. The population of Texas has increased more rapidly than that of any State in the Union except Kansas. The following table shows the increase forthe past few decades:—
| Per cent. |
central region—the black prairie region (northern half) being the most densely populated, and the coast plain next. Between 1880 and 1887 there was a large flow of population into the trans-Pecos and plains regions, and during the last two years mentioned a decrease in the central region. The population consists principally of white natives of the southern United States, except in the counties of Brazos, Fort Bend, Harrison, Marion, Moore, and Washington, where it is of Negro race; in the counties of Fayette, Colorado, Guadalupe, Comal, and Gillespie, where it is German;and along the Rio Grande, where it is Mexican.
cotton and cattle, second in sugar, sheep, mules, and horses, eighth in rice and pigs. The eastern third of the State, containing 80 per cent. of the entire population, is agricultural; the remainder is pastoral. The chief crops are cotton and Indian corn; wheat is grown in the northern part of the black prairie and eastern part of the central regions, sugar in the lower bottom lands of the Brazos and the Colorado, rice on the coast The chief vegetable products for1880 were—cotton, 805,284 bales; Indian corn, 29,065,172 bushels;
potatoes, 228,832; barley, 72,786; rye, 25,399; sugar, 4951 hogsheads; molasses, 810,605 gallons; hay, 59,699 tons; tobacco, 221,283 pounds; rice, 62,152 pounds; orchard products, to the value of $876,844. The total value of these products was $63,076,311. Since 1882 the quantity of cotton produced annually has exceeded 2,000,000 bales, of 500 pounds each. In 1880 there were 174,184 farms in the State, with an aggregate of 12,650,314 acres of improved land. The farms are usually of large size, and garden, orchard, and dairy products are entirely secondary to plantation crops. The southern part of the coast plain and the rest of the State west of the black prairie region are peculiarly adapted to pastoral pursuits, which are entirely separated from agricultural, the cattle and sheep being allowed to roam at large, or enclosed in enormous pastures, where they subsist without other food or shelter than nature affonls. In 1880 there were in the State—4,084,605 cattle, 2,411,633 sheep, 1,950,371 pigs, 805,606 horses, and 132,447 mules and asses. The sheep walks are more particularly confined to the southern half of the central region, includingthe lower Rio Grande valley.
shipped from Galveston or sent overland by rail. The chief imports are manufactured articles used in the State, also coal and railway material. Apart from a small retail trade along the border, there are no exports to the adjoining States. The principal seaport and commercial city is Galveston. The mileage in railways hasincreased from 1048 in 1872 to 5974 in 1882, and to 7034 in 1886.
land and revenue, for public education, but their intentions have not been carried out by subsequent legislation. Texas occupies the anomalous position of having the best school fund and the poorest school system in the United States. The public free school system proper consists of two normal schools for the preparation of teachers and numerous district schools, open for four months in the year. In most of the cities the State fund is supplemented by local taxation, and excellent schools are maintained. In 1886 there were 489,795 children within school age, and the cost of the maintenance of the whole system was $2,362,226. There are no schools for secondary education, except the high schools of a few cities. The State university is at Austin; it is abundantly endowed with lands, but does not receive the full benefit of its revenues. There is also a State agricultural and mechanical college, buttechnical training is made secondary.
the Union, owing to the fact that it has had to adapt itself to the administration of the great public domain, by which most of the public institutions are supported and works of internal improvement accomplished, and because much of the attention of the Government has been necessarily diverted to the protection of its extensive frontier. The executive government consists of a governor, comptroller, treasurer, commissioner of the general land office, and superintendent of education, elected biennially, with an attorney-general and a secretary of state, appointed by the governor. The judiciary consists of two courts of final appeal, one for criminal, the other for civil business; forty itinerant higher courts for the trial of penal offences and civil suits; courts for misdemeanours and minor civil cases in each county; and innumerable justices' courts for first hearings. The legislature consists of 32 senators elected for four years, and 115 members of the house of representatives elected for two years. It is restricted by the constitution to biennial sessions of ninety days each. The State is divided into thirteen congressional and forty judicial election districts. It is also divided into 232 counties, 75 of which have no population, or insufficient population to be organized. Each county is divided into four commissioners precincts and a varying number of school, election, and justices precincts. The State has always maintained a corps of troops, formerly for protection against Indians, but now for preserving order in the unorganized counties. It has institutions for the blind, deaf and dumb, and insane. The prison system is far superior to that of the other southern States, but still very imperfect. The bonded debt of the State on 1st January 1887 was $4,237,730, and its taxable wealth $600,000,000. The aggregate debt of all the counties and cities was $7,000,000. Thehomestead and exemption laws are unusually liberal to the debtor.
Spaniards, who established missions among the settled Indians near El Paso and Santa Fé. The first white settlement was made by La Salle at Lavaca, on the coast, in 1685. The country was inhabited by Indians of various tribes, both savage and agricultural, most of whom are now extinct, except the so-called “Mexican” population of the Rio Grande. From 1583 to 1794 many missions were established by Roman Catholic missionaries among the Indians, who were completely alienated from their original language, religion, domestic habits, and tribal relations. After the purchase of Louisiana from the French in 1803 Anglo-American adventurers began to cross into Texas from the United States. In 1821, whenMexico threw off the Spanish yoke, Texas and Coahuila constituted
a state of the republic. It was shortly after this that the first American colonists were permitted to enter the territory under Government patronage. Within ten years over 20,000 had settled between the Sabine and the Colorado. In 1830 the Mexican Government placed them under military rule, from which, with accompanying impositions, originated the war of Texan Independence. The Anglo-Americans were assisted by volunteers from the United States, and the war was terminated by the defeat of the Mexicans under General Santa Anna at San Jacinto, 21st April 1836. From 1837 to 1845 Texas was an independent republic. It was admitted to the United States on 29th December 1845, in spite of the protests of Mexico, and a war with that country immediately ensued. The new State sold to the United States Government for $10,000,000 all the territory west and north of the present boundaries between the headwaters of the Rio Grande and the Arkansas. But it reserved the control and disposal of the public lands within its borders, which have proved a magnificent source of revenue, and also the right to divide into five states, should future growth and development justify it. By a small majority the State seceded from the Union in 1861. In 1868 a new constitution was adopted, and the State readmitted into the Union. In 1874 the Kiowa and Comanche Indians, who had prevented the settlement of the central and plains regions from the earliest times, were subjugated.
See Hill, Geolog. Knowledge of Texas (1887)—Bull. 44, U. S. Geolog. Survey; Geological Map of the United States, by C. H. Hitchcock; Report on cotton production, Tenth U. S. Census, by Dr. R. H. Loughridge; forestry Reports, Tenth U. S. Census; Mexican Boundary Survey, vol. i.; Proceedings of Boundary Commission, Austin, 1886; Trans. of Academy of Sciences, St Louis, vols. i. and ii. (Dr Shumard); Thrall, History of Texas; Kendall, Santa Fé Expedition; Spaight, Resources, &c., of Texas, Austin, 1882; Roemer, Kreidebildungen von Texas, 1852; Walcott, Cambrian Faunas of N. America—Bull 30, U. S. Geolog. Survey; Hill, “Topogr. and Geol. of Cross Timbers of Texas,” in Amer. Journ. Sci., April 1887; Cahe, Zoolog. Position of Texas; Marcy, Exploration of Red River; Report of the U. S. Mexican Boundary Survey; Havard, Report on the flora of west and south Texas; and U. S. explorations for a route for a Pacific Railway. (R. T. H.)}}
- The State does not recognize the South Fork of the Red river as the northern boundary, but insists upon the North Fork; it also claims the 100th meridian as laid down upon Mellish's map (100 miles east of the true meridian) as the eastern border of the Panhandle.
|VOL. XXIII.||TEXAS||PLATE III.|
|W. & A. K. Johnston|
|ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, NINTH EDITION|