70 Fun & Interesting Facts about Texas, USA

Texas, the 28th state of the US, is one of the country’s largest, most varied, and unique, from cowboy culture to space exploration, with an incredibly storied past. So what exactly is Texas famous for?

Learn more about the Lone Star State with these 60 fascinating, educational, and fun facts about Texas state, including general facts, random interesting facts, and finally historical facts.

General Texas Facts

  • Texas is a large state lying right in the middle of the southern United States.
  • At 268,596 mi2 (695,662 km2), Texas is the country’s second largest state after Alaska, and the largest state in the Contiguous United States (AKA the “lower 48 states”).
  • Texas is larger than Italy, the United Kingdom, and Greece combined.
  • If Texas were a country, it would be the 39th largest in the world.
  • Texas is one of four states bordering Mexico (along with California, Arizona, and New Mexico), and has a longer border with Mexico (1241 mi/1997 km) than the other three states combined.
  • Texas also has the second highest population in the US, 29.9 million, after California.
Aerial view of downtown Houston and the neighborhoods around it.
Houston is the largest city in Texas.
  • Texas has over 75% the total population of Canada.
  • Texas has three of the USA’s largest cities by population: Houston (4th spot at 2.29 million), San Antonio (7th spot at 1.4 million), and Dallas (9th spot at 1.3 million).
  • The capital city of Texas, Austin, is the 11th most populous city in the US, with just under 1 million people. It is the USA’s 2nd most populous state capital after Phoenix, Arizona.
  • The Texas Triangle is made up of the four major cities of Austin, Dallas–Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. With a total population of 21 million, it is considered one of the 11 megaregions of the US.
  • In the past, Texas has been a part of Mexico and its own country, called Republic of Texas (see history section below!)
Flag of Texas
The flag of the Republic of Texas and the current state of Texas
  • In addition to these two, four other states have had control over parts of Texas (the others being Spain, France, Confederate Stats, and USA), giving rise to the slogan “six flags over Texas”. There is even a Six Flags over Texas theme park.
  • Texas culture has been influenced by various cultures and peoples around it, including native peoples, Mexicans, Cajuns, African Americans, the Spanish and other European cultures. There are even a few German towns in Texas with their own Texas German dialect!
  • Texas has traits that could classify it as Southern state or a Southwestern state. Some consider it just be its own thing.
  • This history is reflected in Mexico’s nickname, “Lone Star State”, and in the single star on the state flag.
An old stamp that shows a cowboy holding a Texas flag
Texas was traditionally known for its cowboy culture.
  • Geographically, Texas has a wide variety of physical regions, including coastal plains, lowlands, plains, mountains, and deserts.
  • The name Texas is derived from táysha, which means “friends” in the indigenous Caddo language.

Random Interesting Facts about Texas

  • Though typically considered Conservative, Texas was traditionally a Liberal state.
  • Texas has more guns than any other US state, with more than 1 million registered firearms.
  • The road with the fastest speed limit in the US is in Texas. On a section of Texas State Highway 130, the posted limit is 85 mph (137 km/hr).
A steep valley in Big Bend National Park, Texas
Big Bend National Park
  • There are 79,000 miles of roads crisscrossing the state, perfect for planning a Texas road trip.
  • Texas is home to one UNESCO World Heritage Site: the San Antonio Missions, which includes the famous Alamo Mission in San Antonio, associated with the battle for Texas’ independence from Mexico.
Exterior of the Alamo building in San Antonio
The Alamo Mission is one of the most important historic sites in the US.
  • The popular phase “Houston, we have a problem” originated in a radio communication between the Apollo 13 and the control center in Houston, Texas.
  • The Texas State Capitol building in Austin is the largest state capitol building in the US. It was one of the largest buildings in the world when it was first constructed.
The Texas State Capitol building in the evening
The Texas State Capitol is taller than the US capitol in Washington DC
  • King Ranch is southeastern Texas is the largest ranch in the US, covering 825,000 acres, larger than Hong Kong.
  • At the Cadillac Ranch public art installation in Amarillo, Texas, there are 10 art-covered Cadillacs half buried in the ground. The site inspired Bruce Springsteen’s song of the same name.
  • Amarillo also has the world’s largest helium supply and has been called the “Helium capital of the world.”
  • The Balcones fault line runs right through Texas, but it has been inactive for 15 million years and seldom causes earthquakes.
A dry desert in Texas with one plant.
There isn’t as much desert in Texas as you may think.
  • Although Texas is often associated with the deserts of the southwestern US, only about 10% of the state is covered in desert.
  • Texas has more tornadoes than any other state, with 132 per year on average.
  • Bracken Cave just outside of San Antonia, Texas, has the world’s largest bat colony, home to over 15 million Mexican free-tailed bats.
  • Texas has the second largest economy in the US after California.
  • If Texas were a country, it would have the 10th largest economy in the world.
  • Traditionally, Texas dominated the cattle industry, but in recent centuries the economy has shifted to petroleum, tourism, aerospace, and the high tech industry.
Side of a space ship at the Space Center in Houston Texas
Saturn V at the Houston Space Center
  • Texas is the only state in the contiguous USA with its own power grid. Two others serve all the states east and west of the Rockies. It was first built to guarantee energy supply for factories producing WWII supplies.
  • Famous people from Texas include cyclist Lance Armstrong, actresses Joan Crawford and Farrah Fawcett, Dell founder Michael Dell, business magnate Howard Hughes, and actor-comedian Steve Martin.
  • Famous musicians and bands from Texas include Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Janis Joplin, Meatloaf, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Willie Nelson, ZZ Top, George Strait, Erykah Badu, Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, and Kelly Clarkson.
Six celebrities from Texas
Some famous Texans
  • Former presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson were born in Texas.
  • President John F. Kennedy’s assassination took place in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. The spot where the assassin fired from is now the Sixth Floor Museum.
  • Before becoming the 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush was the governor of Texas from 1995–2000.
  • The Bugs Bunny phrase “What’s up, Doc?” originated in Texas. Looney Tunes animator Tex Avery, who introduced it, said it was commonly heard when he was growing up there.
  • There are two towns in Texas that claim to be the “Cowboy Capital of the World”: Stephenville and Bandera.
Some quesadillas on a plate, an example of Tex-Mex
Typical Tex-Mex cuisine
  • Texas is the origin of “Tex-Mex,” a type of cuisine that combines traditional Spanish and Mexican cuisines. It originated among Tejanos (Mexican Texans) when Texas was part of New Spain.
  • Many consider Texas to have the best BBQ in the US. East, West, North and South Texas each have their own distinctive styles of BBQ.
  • The soda drink Dr. Pepper was invented in Texas in the 1880s by pharmacist Charles Alderton.
  • The first frozen margarita machine was also invented in Texas in 1971.

Historical Facts about Texas

  • The area of Texas was traditionally occupied by the Pueblo, the Caddo and other mound-building cultures, and early Mexican civilizations.
An ancient mound at Caddo Mounds State Historic Park in Texas
Caddo Mounds State Historic Park” by 12fh is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND-2.0
  • In 1520, the Spanish Alonso Álvarez de Pineda was the first European to see Texas, while trying to find a route from the Gulf of Mexico to Asia.
  • Although Álvarez claimed the area for Spain, the region of Texas was mostly ignored for almost 200 years.
  • In 1685, France built the settlement of Fort St. Louis in Texas and tried to colonize the area, but the Spanish kicked them out within five years.
  • Texas was a Spanish colony from 1690 to 1821. During that time, the Spanish build numerous missions, developed agriculture and ranching, and chose place names that remain today, in what was the northern fringe of their vast South, Central and North American empire.
Exterior of Mission Concepción, one of the San Antonio missions in Texas
Mission Concepción is the oldest non-restored stone church in America.
  • When Mexico became independent in 1821, that included Texas. The state was thus a part of Mexico from 1821 to 1836.
  • In the 1836 Texas Revolution, Texans declared their independence from Mexico and became an independent country, the Republic of Texas.
  • This would last until 1845, when Texas became the 28th state of the USA.
  • In the Compromise of 1850, Texas gave up on acquiring 67 million acres that are now part of New Mexico. Otherwise, Texas would have been even larger today.
  • In 1865, the last battle of the American Civil War took place at Palmito Ranch in Texas.
A house turned sideways after the Galvestone Hurricane, with kids standing in front of it
Damage from the 1900 Galvestone Hurricane
  • In 1900, as many as 8000 died in a hurricane, mostly around Galveston, Texas. It was the worst natural disaster in US history.
  • By the early 1900s, Dallas was the world’s leading center of cotton.
  • The first oil well in Texas was drilled in 1901. In 1931, the East Texas Oil Field, the largest in the lower 48 states, was discovered.
  • During the Dust Bowl of the mid-1930s, hundreds of thousands of Texans lost their jobs and left the state.
  • Texas played a major role in WWII, with many military bases, army hospitals, and munitions factories constructed, rapidly expanding the state’s economy.
The exterior of the building where J.F.K. was assassinated
The Sixth Floor Museum, from where JFK was shot
  • In the 1950s, a multi-year drought led to mass urbanization in Texas.
  • On November 22, 1963, JFK was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The Texas governor at the time, John B. Connally, was also shot but survived.
  • In 1990, Democrat Ann Richards became the first female governor of Texas.
  • In the 1993, Waco Massacre, a 51-day standoff between Texas police and the Branch Davidian religious group resulted in 86 dead, including 25 children.