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: Padre Island.
Texas became the twenty-eighth state of the United States in 1845. Its name derives from the Caddo tavshas, meaning “friends.” Its nickname is the Lone Star State, and Austin is the capital. While it is the second largest state of the Union, more than three-fourths of the population lives in cities. Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio are listed in America’s ten largest cities. At one time Texas belonged to Spain. Then Mexico claimed ownership. For a while Texas was an independent country, and then it joined the United States. Oil is a major natural resource, and the state produces cotton and cattle. The state dish is chili. Children could visit an Internet site at: Texas. They could also make and eat chili.
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in 1848, ending the war between Mexico and the United States. In return for fifteen million dollars from the United States, Mexico gave up the land that became California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Texas also became part of the United States. Children can learn more at: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Confederate States of America came into being in 1861. Representatives from seven states (Texas, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Georgia) met in Montgomery, Alabama, to start the formation of the Confederacy.
Battle of the Alamo started in 1836 and ended March 6, 1836. The battle is quite complex: Americans fighting in a mission in an area that was Mexico but is now Texas. Children can read more at: Battle of the Alamo
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.
Spinach farmers in Crystal City, Texas, built a statue of Popeye in 1937. About half the spinach consumed in the United States is grown in Texas. China is the world’s leading producer of spinach. Children can learn about spinach and its nutritional values at: Spinach.
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.
Thirty-four camels landed in Indianola, Texas, in 1856! After the United States won the Mexican-American War in 1846, the country acquired large land holdings in what is now Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. The American army wanted to map the region and establish forts in the new lands. Horses and mules could not easily withstand the high temperatures, lack of consistent water, and rough terrain. The army decided to try camels as beasts of burden. The camels marched from Indianola to base camp at Camp Verde, Texas. Eventually another 41 camels arrived. The camels were well-suited to the terrain and climate; the Camel Corps trekked all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, the Civil War disrupted the region, and the camel experiment ended.