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.
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: Juneteenth.
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 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, Kansas, Oklahoma, 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.