Texas (, locally ; Spanish: Texas or Tejas [ˈtexas]) is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.
Houston is the most populous city in Texas and the fourth largest in the U.S., while San Antonio is the second-most populous in the state and seventh largest in the U.S. Dallas–Fort Worth and Greater Houston are the fourth and fifth largest metropolitan statistical areas in the country, respectively. Other major cities include Austin, the second-most populous state capital in the U.S., and El Paso. Texas is nicknamed "The Lone Star State" to signify its former status as an independent republic, and as a reminder of the state's struggle for independence from Mexico. The "Lone Star" can be found on the Texas state flag and on the Texan state seal. The origin of Texas's name is from the word taysha, which means "friends" in the Caddo language.
Due to its size and geologic features such as the Balcones Fault, Texas contains diverse landscapes common to both the U.S. Southern and Southwestern regions. Although Texas is popularly associated with the U.S. southwestern deserts, less than 10% of Texas's land area is desert. Most of the population centers are 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 State Capitol, located in Austin, Texas, is the fourth building to serve as the seat of Texas government. Originally designed by Elijah E. Myers, it was constructed from 1882-1888, and an extension and a major renovation were completed in the 1990s, with the extension being completely below ground. The building was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. Construction of the capitol building was funded through an article in the state constitution, adopted February 15, 1876, which authorized the sale of public lands for the purpose. The builders of the capitol were paid with three million acres (12,000 km²) of land in the Texas panhandle; this tract later became the XIT Ranch. The cornerstone for the building was laid on March 2, 1885. The original plan for the capitol called for it to be constructed from limestone quarried within the state; however there was some concern that the available limestone would be of variable quality. Hearing of the problem, the owners of Granite Mountain near Marble Falls offered to donate to the state free of charge the necessary amount of pink granite as an alternative.
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