Texas declared its independence from Mexico in 1836. Sixty Texans met and drafted a declaration of independence. They based their break from Mexico on about six concerns, including lack of religious freedom and lack of public schools. Texas was a country until February 19, 1846, when it became a state of the United States.
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park was established in 1983. Five Spanish missions were created around 1690 to 1720 in what is now San Antonio, Texas. Today four of the missions are part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The sites include Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission San Juan Capistrano, and Mission Espada. The fifth mission is the Alamo, administered by the Texas General Land Office. On July 25, 1915, the five missions became a UNESCO World Heritage site. Children can learn more at: http://www.nps.gov/saan/index.htm.
Battle of San Jacinto occurred in 1836 in Texas. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and his 1,200 soldiers attacked General Sam Houston and his 910 men. The Texans retreated but then caught the Mexicans in surprise. In less than one half hour, the Texans won. As a result of this battle, Texas won its independence from Mexico. Children could read Journey to San Jacinto (Mr. Barrington’s Mysterious Trunk) by Melodie A. Cuate.
Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library opened in 1971 in Austin, Texas. The building is also known as the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum. It is the archive of 45 million pages of documents. Children can learn more at: http://www.lbjlibrary.org/.
Big Bend National Park was established in 1935. The Texas park, encompassing over 800,000 acres, is located in the northern portion of the Chihuahuan Desert. Temperatures can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. However, temperatures can be extremely low in winter. Children can visit a website at: http://www.nps.gov/bibe.
Juneteenth is celebrated in Texas and in other states. Juneteenth is a portmanteau of the words June and nineteenth and commemorates the day in 1865 when slaves were given their freedom in Texas. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued January 1, 1863, slaves in Texas were not given their freedom until several months after the conclusion of the Civil War. Children can learn more about: http://www.americaslibrary.gov/es/tx/es_tx_june_1.html.
Waco Mammoth National Monument was established in 2015 near Waco, Texas. The museum and site preserves the fossils of 24 Columbian mammoths and other mammals. The nursery of mother and young Columbian mammoths were probably caught in a flash flood about 67,000 years ago. The site was discovered in 1978 by two men looking for arrowheads. Children can learn more, including the differences between Columbian mammoths and woolly mammoths, at: http://www.nps.gov/waco/index.htm.
Padre Island National Seashore was established in 1962. Located along the Gulf of Mexico, the national seashore is the longest unprotected barrier island in the world. Five species of sea turtles, Kemp’s ridleys, loggerheads, leatherbacks, hawksbills, and greens, nest on the island. More than 380 species of birds live or on the island or migrate through the area. Children can learn more at: https://www.nps.gov/pais/index.htm.