Texas (Spanish: Texas or Tejas [ˈtexas]) is the second most populous and second largest state by area of the 50 states in the United States of America. Geographically located in the south central part of the country, Texas shares borders with the other U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and an international border with the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas to the southwest, along with the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.
Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth-largest in the United States, while San Antonio is the second largest in the state and seventh largest in the United States. Dallas–Fort Worth and Greater Houston are the fourth and fifth largest United States metropolitan statistical areas, respectively. Other major cities include Austin (the state capital) and El Paso. Texas is nicknamed the Lone Star State to signify Texas as a former independent republic, and as a reminder of the state's struggle for independence from Mexico. The "Lone Star" can be found on the Texan state flag and on the Texan state seal. The origin of the state name, Texas, is from the word, "Tejas", which means 'friends' in the Caddo language.
Due to its size and geologic features such as the Balcones Fault, Texas contains diverse landscapes that resemble both the American South and Southwest. Although popularly associated with the Southwestern deserts, less than 10 percent of Texas' land area is desert. Most of the population centers are located in areas of former prairies, grasslands, forests, and the coastline. Traveling from east to west, one can observe terrain that ranges from coastal swamps and piney woods, to rolling plains and rugged hills, and finally the desert and mountains of the Big Bend.
The Texas Ranger Division, commonly known as the Texas Rangers, is a law enforcement agency with statewide jurisdiction based in Austin, the capital city of Texas. Over the years, the Texas Rangers have investigated crimes ranging from murder to political corruption, kept the peace during riots, acted as detectives, protected the Texas governor, tracked down fugitives, and functioned as a quasi-military force at the service of both the Republic (1836–45) and the state of Texas. The Texas Rangers were unofficially created by Stephen F. Austin in 1823 and formally constituted in 1835. Although the organization went through periods of inactivity during the 19th century, it was never officially dissolved. Since 1935, the organization has been a division of the Texas Department of Public Safety, and currently fulfills the role of Texas' State Bureau of Investigation. As of 2005 , there are 118 active Rangers.