A Little Bit of Texas History – When Can We Say, Happy Birthday, Texas?

January 23, 2015

Texas became The Republic of Texas on March 2, 1836. We could celebrate March 2 as our sovereign birthday.

The United States of America admitted Texas, the 28th state, as a ‘slave state’ on December 29, 1845. So, we could celebrate December 29 to blow out the candles.

When the war between the states, the Great Civil War, came to be, Texas seceded from the United States of America on February 1, 1861 to join the Confederate States of America (CSA). [As a side note, Governor Sam Houston was fired when he refused to take an oath of allegiance to the CSA.] I know no one who would celebrate February 1 as a birthday for Texas.

As the CSA collapsed, on June 19, 1865 Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger landed in Galveston to reclaim Texas as US territory and awarding long overdue freedom to slaves in Texas. June 19 would be a good choice to celebrate the birth of Texas, because then truly all Texans became free men. And women.

The United States Congress allowed elected representatives from Texas to be seated in Congress on March 30, 1870, another possible ‘birthday’.

In the post Civil War Texas, there was a period of ‘reconstruction’ to reorder governments and to punish rebels that ended March 30, 1870. For Texans, this was a sigh of relief, but not a date to celebrate a birthday.

Whereas Texas became a republic on March 2, 1836 and,
Whereas Texas was admitted to the Union on December 29, 1845 and,
Whereas Texas seceded from the Union on February 1, 1861 and,
Whereas Texas was recaptured by the Union on June 19, 1865, “Juneteenth” and,
Whereas elected representatives from Texas were seated in Congress on March 30, 1870,

BUT, whereas Texas truly became a political entity on January 23, 1691,
I, therefore, nominate this day to be celebrated by all Texans.

199 years after Columbus discovered America, 71 years following the Pilgrims’ landing on Cape Cod and 85 years before the American Revolution, Texas was.

“On this day [January 23] in 1691, the Conde de Gálvez appointed Domingo Terán de los Ríos the first governor of the Spanish province of Coahuila and Texas. Most historians consider the appointment the beginning of Texas as a political entity. Terán’s instructions, prepared by a Junta de Hacienda acting under suggestions by Damián Massanet, were to establish seven missions among the Tejas Indians; to investigate rumors of foreign settlements on the coast; and to keep records of geography, natives, and products. Terán’s army crossed the Rio Grande in May and explored East Texas as far as Caddo settlements on the Red River until December. By March 1692 Terán had returned to Matagorda Bay, where Juan Enríquez Barroto gave him instructions from the viceroy to explore the lower reaches of the Mississippi River. Bad weather caused Terán to abandon the project and return to Veracruz in April. Terán’s mission proved to be a complete failure. He succeeded in founding no new missions, and the expedition added little new information about the region. After his return, Terán compiled a lengthy report, defending his actions and detailing the dismal situation in East Texas.” – TSHA online

Happy 324th Birthday, Texas! (take your pick!)

John White

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