Texas Favorite Tips by Stephen-KarenConn
Texas Favorites: 117 reviews and 83 photos
State Flag against a Blue Texas Sky
Favorite thing: The Texas State Flag, with red and white bars and a lone white star on a field of blue, is the only state flag in America which may properly be flown alongside and at the same height with the flag of United States of America. The reason is that Texas is the only state which was a soverign independent nation before it joined the Union, and the flag was the flag of the Republic of Texas, before it became the State of Texas.
This was the second flag for the Republic of Texas and was adapted Jan. 24, 1839. In 1845, when Texas became the 28th state, the flag of the Republic became the State Flag. It is the fourth of six national flags that have been flown over the territory that is now the State of Texas.
In the Flag the Blue stands for loyalty, the white is for strength, and the red for bravery or valor. The Lone Star stands for Texas, and is the reason it is known as "The Lone Star State."
Texas State Flag
Six Flags at DeLeon Plaza, Victoria, Texas
Favorite thing: Since the first European exploration by Cortez in 1519, the flags of six different soverign nations have flown over most of the land which is today the state of Texas. They are:
Spain: 1519-1685; 1690-1821
Republic of Texas: 1836-1845
Confederate States of America: 1861-1865
United States of America: 1845-1861/ 1865-Present
You will see these six flags being flown in various places around Texas in celebration of the state's heritage. There is a popular amusement park in Dallas called "Six Flags over Texas."
While many people are aware of the six flags that have flown over Texas, few know that for a brief period of time in the southern part of the state there were seven. The Republic of the Rio Grande, with its capital in Laredo, was established in early 1839. The short-lived nation held territory on both sides of the Rio Grande, but lasted for only about a year and a half, until the summer of 1840.
The flags in this photo are flying over DeLeon Plaza, on the square in downtown Victoria, Texas.
Six National Flags of Texas
The Rio Grande, near Mercedes, Texas
Favorite thing: The entire southern border of Texas is formed by the Rio Grande River, which seperates Texas from Mexico. South-of-the-border the river is called El Rio Bravo del Norte. The Rio Grande rises in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorade, and flows southward into and through the entire length of New Mexico to the corner where New Mexico, Texas and Chihuahua, Mexico meet. There the river forms the divide between El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico, and from this point it flows generally in a southeastward direction, albeit making a "Big Bend," until it seperates Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Mexico, just before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico.
Although the Rio Grande is never very wide, and sometimes just a trickle, it runs a total of 1,885 miles, 1,254 of which are along the Texas/Mexico border. A 196 mile stretch of the river, beside and just below Big Bend National Park, has been designated a National Wild and Scenic River. Much more than just a border, the river is an important source of irrigation water, helping support life in the Rio Grande Valley for millenia. In spite of border restrictions, the river also offers some recreational opportunities for boating, fishing, etc.
A Historical Marker in Austin
Favorite thing: Texas has one of the most successful and active historical marker programs in the United States. In every state of the Union you will find historical markers, but nowhere have I seen them so abundantly displayed as here in Texas. They can be found along most every highway, and in virtually every city and town. That's not only because lots of history has happened here in Texas, but because Texans seem to be more intensely proud of their history than folks in most places.
The sad thing is that the vast majority of people speed past these markers with never a thought. I've talked to folks who live near the markers, and have passed them literally hundreds of times, but have no idea of the history of the spot they are passing because they have never taken time to stop and read it.
Whether you live in Texas, or are only passing through, take time to smell the roses - and to read the historical markers.
Texas Historical Markers
Seal of the State of Texas
Favorite thing: The Texas State Seal, featuring the prominent "lone star" symbol, was adopted by the Congress of the Republic of Texas in 1836. The branches branches encircling the star (oak on the left and olive on the right) were added in 1839. After Texas became a state, the current seal was adopted as part of the 1845 state constitution. It is identical to that of 1839, except the word "State" has replaced "Republic." State law requires that the seal be used to authenticate all official documents of the state
This photo of the Texas State Seal is on the wrought-iron gate to the governor's mansion, across from the state capital in downtown Austin.
Texas State Seal
A Rare Reddish Egret in Laguna Madre
Favorite thing: The southern Rio Grande Valley of Texas, with sightings of more than 500 species, is an international birding destination. Numerous species may be seen here and nowhere else in the United States. The city of Harlingen sponsors a Birding Festival every November which draws some of America's leading ornothologists, as well as thousands of avid birders. But one need not attend the festival to see the birds; they're everywhere. Just a few of the favorite birding hot spots are:
Brownsville Sanitary Landfill
Sable Palm Grove Sanctuary
Laguna Acosta National Wildlife Refuge
Santa Anna National Wildlife Refuge
Just a few of the rare birds you may find in the southern Rio Grande Valley are:
Red Crowned Parrot
Both of these lists could be much longer. Although we are only casual birders, I do keep a "Life List," and was thrilled to add several species to it during our recent vacation in South Texas.
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