Republic of Texas
|Republic of Texas|
Map of the Republic of Texas in green. The claimed area is in light green, while populated territory is in dark green.
|Capital||Washington-on-the-Brazos 1836 (provisional)
Harrisburg 1836 (provisional)
Galveston 1836 (provisional)
Velasco 1836 (provisional)
|Languages||English and Spanish (de facto)|
|•||1836||David G. Burnet|
|•||1838–1841||Mirabeau B. Lamar|
|•||1836||Lorenzo de Zavala|
|•||1836–1838||Mirabeau B. Lamar|
|•||1838–1841||David G. Burnett|
|•||1844–1845||Kenneth L. Anderson|
|Historical era||Western Expansion|
|•||Independence from Mexico||March 2, 1836|
|•||Annexation by the United States of America||December 29, 1845|
|•||Transfer of power||February 19, 1846|
|•||1840||1,007,935 km² (389,166 sq mi)|
|Density||0.1 /km² (0.2 /sq mi)|
|Currency||Republic of Texas Dollar ($)|
|Today part of||United States|
|1Interim period (March 16 – October 22, 1836): President: David G. Burnet, Vice President Lorenzo de Zavala|
The Republic of Texas (Spanish: República de Texas) was an independent sovereign country in North America that existed from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846. It was bordered by the nation of Mexico to the southwest, the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast, the two U.S. states of Louisiana and Arkansas to the east and northeast, and the United States territories encompassing the current U.S. states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico to the north and west. The citizens of the republic were known as Texians.
The republic was formed as a separate nation after gaining independence from Mexico in 1836. It claimed borders that included all of the present U.S. state of Texas and also parts of present-day Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico, based upon the Treaties of Velasco between the newly-created Texas Republic and Mexico. The eastern boundary with the United States was defined by the Adams–Onís Treaty between the United States and Spain in 1819.
The republic's southern- and western-most boundary with Mexico was under dispute throughout the republic's entire existence. Texas claimed the boundary as the Rio Grande (a.k.a. Río Bravo/Río Bravo del Norte), while Mexico claimed the boundary as the Nueces River. This dispute would later become a trigger for the Mexican–American War of 1846–48.
The republic's independence ended with Texas's annexation by the U.S. on December 29, 1845.
Texas prior to independence
|This section does not cite any sources. (March 2014)|
Texas had been one of the Provincias Internas of New Spain, a region known historiographically as Spanish Texas. Though claimed by Spain, it was not formally colonized by them until competing French interests at Fort St. Louis encouraged Spain to establish permanent settlements in the area. Sporadic missionary incursions occurred into the area during the period from the 1690s–1710s, before the establishment of San Antonio as a permanent civilian settlement. Owing to high Native American populations in the area and remoteness from the population centers of New Spain, Texas remained largely unsettled by Europeans, though Spain maintained a military presence, both to protect Christian missionaries working among Native American tribes, and to act as a buffer against the French in Louisiana and British North America. In 1762, France ceded to Spain most of its claims to the interior of North America, including its largely defunct claim to Texas, as well as the vast interior which became Spanish Louisiana. During the period of 1799–1803, at the height of the Napoleonic Empire, Spain receded Louisiana back to France, which soon after sold the territory to the United States. The status of Texas during these transfers was uncertain, and not resolved until 1819 when the Adams–Onís Treaty ceded Spanish Florida to the United States, and established a clear boundary between Texas and Louisiana.
Starting in 1810, the Mexican War of Independence sought independence for the territories of New Spain north of the Isthmus of Panama, including Texas. In the Texas area, many Americans fought on the side of the Mexicans against Spain during filibustering expeditions. One of these, the Gutiérrez–Magee Expedition (also known as the Republican Army of the North) consisted of a group of about 130 Americans under the joint leadership of Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara and Augustus Magee. Bolstered by new recruits, and under the leadership of Samuel Kemper (who succeeded Magee after his death in battle in 1813) the expedition experienced a series of victories against forces led by the Spanish governor Manuel María de Salcedo, the most significant of which was the Battle of Rosillo Creek, which convinced Salcedo to surrender on April 1, 1813. Salcedo was executed two days later. On April 6, 1813, the victorious Republican Army of the North drafted a constitution and declared an independent Republic of Texas with Gutiérrez as president. Disillusioned with the Mexican leadership, the Americans under Kemper withdrew from the expedition and returned to the United States. The ephemeral Republic of Texas would come to an end following the August 18, 1813 Battle of Medina, where the Spanish Army would crush the Republican Army of the North, and reprisals against rebels in the area would engender a deep distrust of the Royal Spanish authorities; veterans of the Battle of Medina for the Rebel side would later be leaders of the Texas Revolution and signatories of the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico some 20 years later.
Along with the rest of Mexico, Texas became independent from Spain following the Treaty of Córdoba and the new Mexican state was organized under the Plan of Iguala which created Mexico as a constitutional monarchy under its first Emperor Agustín de Iturbide. During the transition from a Spanish territory to part of the independent country of Mexico, Stephen F. Austin led a group of American settlers known as the Old Three Hundred, who negotiated the right to settle in Texas with the Spanish Royal governor of the territory. Since Mexican independence had been ratified by Spain shortly thereafter, Austin would later travel to Mexico City to secure the support of the new country in his right to settle. The establishment of Mexican Texas coincided with the Austin-led settlement, leading to animosity between Mexican authorities and ongoing American settlement of Texas. The First Mexican Empire was short lived, being replaced by a republican form of government in 1823. Following Austin's lead, additional groups of settlers, known as Empresarios, continued to colonize Mexican Texas from the United States. In 1830, Mexican President Anastasio Bustamante outlawed American immigration to Texas, following several conflicts with the Empresarios over the status of slavery in the region. Angered at the interference of the Mexican government, the Empresarios held the Convention of 1832, which is considered the first formal step in what would later become the Texas Revolution.
On the eve of war, the American settlers in the area outnumbered Mexicans by a considerable margin. Following a series of minor skirmishes between Mexican authorities and the settlers, the Mexican government, fearing open rebellion of their Anglo subjects, began to step up military presence in Texas throughout 1834 and early 1835. Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna revoked the 1824 Constitution of Mexico and began to consolidate power in the central government under his own leadership. The Texian leadership under Austin began to organize its own military, and hostilities broke out on October 2, 1835 at the Battle of Gonzales, the first engagement of the Texas Revolution. In November, 1835 a provisional government known as the Consultation was established to oppose the Santa Anna regime (but stopped short of declaring independence from Mexico). On March 1, 1836 the Convention of 1836 came to order, and the next day declared independence from Mexico, establishing the Republic of Texas.
The second Congress of the Republic of Texas convened in October 1836 at Columbia (now West Columbia). Stephen F. Austin, known as the Father of Texas, died December 27, 1836, after serving two months as Secretary of State for the new Republic.
In 1836, five sites served as temporary capitals of Texas (Washington-on-the-Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston, Velasco and Columbia), before President Sam Houston moved the capital to Houston in 1837. The next president, Mirabeau B. Lamar, moved the capital to the new town of Austin in 1839.
The first flag of the republic was the "Burnet Flag" (a gold star on an azure field), followed in 1839 by official adoption of the Lone Star Flag.
Internal politics of the Republic centred on two factions. The nationalist faction, led by Lamar, advocated the continued independence of Texas, the expulsion of the Native Americans (Indians), and the expansion of Texas to the Pacific Ocean. Their opponents, led by Houston, advocated the annexation of Texas to the United States and peaceful coexistence with the Indians, when possible. The Texas Congress even passed a resolution over Houston's veto claiming the Californias for Texas. The 1844 presidential election split the electorate dramatically, with the newer western regions of the Republic preferring the nationalist candidate Edward Burleson, while the cotton country, particularly east of the Trinity River, went for Anson Jones.
The Comanche Indians furnished the main Indian opposition to the Texas Republic, manifested in multiple raids on settlements, capture and rape of women pioneers, torture killings, and trafficking in captive slaves. In the late 1830s Sam Houston negotiated a peace between Texas and the Comanches. Lamar replaced Houston as president in 1838 and reversed the Indian policies. He returned to war with the Comanches and invaded Comancheria itself. In retaliation, the Comanches attacked Texas in a series of raids. After peace talks in 1840 ended with the massacre of 34 Comanche leaders in San Antonio, the Comanches launched a major attack deep into Texas, known as the Great Raid of 1840. Under command of Potsanaquahip (Buffalo Hump), 500 to 700 Comanche cavalry warriors swept down the Guadalupe River valley, killing and plundering all the way to the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, where they sacked the towns of Victoria and Linnville. Houston became president again in 1841 and, with both Texians and Comanches exhausted by war, a new peace was established.
Although Texas achieved self-government, Mexico refused to recognize its independence. On March 5, 1842, a Mexican force of over 500 men, led by Ráfael Vásquez, invaded Texas for the first time since the revolution. They soon headed back to the Rio Grande after briefly occupying San Antonio. About 1,400 Mexican troops, led by the French mercenary general Adrián Woll, launched a second attack and captured San Antonio on September 11, 1842. A Texas militia retaliated at the Battle of Salado Creek while simultaneously, a mile and a half away, Mexican soldiers and Texas Cherokee Indians massacred a militia of fifty-three Texas volunteers who had surrendered after a skirmish. That night, the Mexican Army retreated from the city of San Antonio back to Mexico.
Mexico's attacks on Texas intensified conflicts between political factions, including an incident known as the Texas Archive War. To "protect" the Texas national archives, President Sam Houston ordered them removed from Austin. The archives were eventually returned to Austin, albeit at gunpoint. The Texas Congress admonished Houston for the incident, and this episode in Texas history would solidify Austin as Texas's seat of government for the Republic and the future state.
There were also domestic disturbances. The Regulator–Moderator War involved a land feud in Harrison and Shelby Counties in East Texas from 1839 to 1844. The feud eventually involved Nacogdoches, San Augustine, and other East Texas counties. Harrison County Sheriff John J. Kennedy and county judge Joseph U. Fields helped end the conflict, siding with the law-and-order party. Sam Houston ordered 500 militia to help end the feud.
|This section does not cite any sources. (February 2013)|
After gaining their independence, the Texas voters had elected a Congress of 14 senators and 29 representatives in September 1836. The Constitution allowed the first president to serve for two years and subsequent presidents for 3 years.
The first Congress of the Republic of Texas convened in October 1836 at Columbia (now West Columbia). Stephen F. Austin, often referred to as the "Father of Texas," died on December 27, 1836, after serving just two months as the republic's secretary of state. Due mainly to the ongoing war for independence, five sites served as temporary capitals of Texas in 1836: (Washington-on-the-Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston, Velasco and Columbia). The capital was moved to the new city of Houston in 1837.
In 1839, a small pioneer settlement situated on the Colorado River in central Texas was chosen as the republic's seventh and final capital. Incorporated under the name Waterloo, the town was renamed Austin shortly thereafter in honor of Stephen F. Austin.
The court system inaugurated by Congress included a Supreme Court consisting of a chief justice appointed by the president and four associate justices, elected by a joint ballot of both houses of Congress for four-year terms and eligible for re-election. The associates also presided over four judicial districts. Houston nominated James Collinsworth to be the first chief justice. The county-court system consisted of a chief justice and two associates, chosen by a majority of the justices of the peace in the county. Each county was also to have a sheriff, a coroner, justices of the peace, and constables to serve two-year terms. Congress formed 23 counties, whose boundaries generally coincided with the existing municipalities.
In 1839, Texas became the first nation in the world to enact a homestead exemption under which a person's primary residence could not be seized by creditors.
The Texan leaders at first intended to extend their national boundaries to the Pacific Ocean, but ultimately decided to claim the Rio Grande as boundary, including much of New Mexico, which the Republic never controlled. They also hoped, after peace was made with Mexico, to run a railroad to the Gulf of California to give "access to the East Indian, Peruvian and Chilean trade." When negotiating for the possibility of annexation to the US in late 1836, the Texan government instructed its minister Wharton in Washington that if the boundary were an issue, Texas was willing to settle for a boundary at the watershed between the Nueces River and Rio Grande, and leave out New Mexico. In 1840 the first and only census of the Republic of Texas was taken, recording a population of about 70,000 people. San Antonio and Houston were recorded as the largest and second largest cities respectively.
On March 3, 1837, US President Andrew Jackson appointed Alcée La Branche American chargé d'affaires to the Republic of Texas, thus officially recognizing Texas as an independent republic. France granted official recognition of Texas on September 25, 1839, appointing Alphonse Dubois de Saligny to serve as chargé d'affaires. The French Legation was built in 1841, and still stands in Austin as the oldest frame structure in the city. Conversely, the Republic of Texas embassy in Paris was located in what is now the Hôtel de Vendôme, adjacent to the Place Vendôme in Paris' 2e arrondissement.
The Republic also received diplomatic recognition from Belgium, the Netherlands, and the Republic of Yucatán. The United Kingdom never granted official recognition of Texas due to its own friendly relations with Mexico, but admitted Texan goods into British ports on their own terms. In London, the original Embassy of the Republic of Texas still stands, and there is a restaurant with such a name west of Trafalgar Square. Immediately opposite the gates to St. James's Palace, Sam Houston's original Embassy of the Republic of Texas to the Court of St. James's is now a hat shop, but is clearly marked with a large plaque and a nearby restaurant is called Texas Embassy. A plaque on the exterior of 3 St. James's Street in London notes the upper floors of the building (which have housed the noted wine merchant Berry Brothers and Rudd since 1698) housed the Texas Legation.
Presidents and vice presidents
|March 16, 1836||October 22, 1836||David G. Burnet
|Lorenzo de Zavala
|October 22, 1836||December 10, 1838||Sam Houston
||Mirabeau B. Lamar
|December 10, 1838||December 13, 1841||Mirabeau B. Lamar
||David G. Burnet
|December 13, 1841||December 9, 1844||Sam Houston
|December 9, 1844||February 19, 1846
||Kenneth L. Anderson
Anderson died in office July 3, 1845
On February 28, 1845, the US Congress passed a bill that would authorize the United States to annex the Republic of Texas. On March 1, US President John Tyler signed the bill. The legislation set the date for annexation for December 29 of the same year. Faced with imminent American annexation of Texas, Charles Elliot and Alphonse de Saligny, the British and French ministers to Texas, were dispatched to Mexico City by their governments. Meeting with Mexico's foreign secretary, they signed a "Diplomatic Act" in which Mexico offered to recognize an independent Texas with boundaries that would be determined with French and British mediation. Texas President Anson Jones forwarded both offers to a specially elected convention meeting at Austin, and the American proposal was accepted with only one dissenting vote. The Mexican proposal was never put to a vote. Following the previous decree of President Jones, the proposal was then put to a vote throughout the republic.
On October 13, 1845, a large majority of voters in the republic approved both the American offer and the proposed constitution that specifically endorsed slavery and emigrants bringing slaves to Texas. This constitution was later accepted by the US Congress, making Texas a US state on the same day annexation took effect, December 29, 1845 (therefore bypassing a territorial phase). One of the motivations for annexation was the huge debts which the Republic of Texas government had incurred. As part of the Compromise of 1850, in return for $10,000,000 in Federal bonds, Texas dropped claims to territory which included parts of present-day Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Wyoming.
The resolution did include two unique provisions: First, it said up to four additional states could be created from Texas' territory with the consent of the State of Texas (and that new states north of the Missouri Compromise Line would be free states). Though the resolution did not make exceptions to the constitution, the U.S. Constitution neither requires Congressional consent to the creation of new states to be ex post to applications nor to expire. To show the strength of the latter caveat, the 27th Amendment was submitted in the 18th century, yet was not ratified until the 1990s; thus, congressional consent via the resolution to new states would not expire, or require renewal. Second, Texas did not have to surrender its public lands to the federal government. While Texas did cede all territory outside of its current area to the federal government in 1850, it did not cede any public lands within its current boundaries. Consequently, the lands in Texas owned by the federal government are those which were subsequently purchased by it. This also means the state government has control over oil reserves which were later used to fund the state's public university system through the Permanent University Fund. In addition, the state's control over offshore oil reserves in Texas runs out to 3 nautical leagues (9 nautical miles, 10.357 statute miles, 16.668 km) rather than three nautical miles (3.45 statute miles, 5.56 km) as with other states.
- #Fehrenbach, page 263
- #Fehrenbach, page 265
- This had also been their policy toward neighboring tribes before the arrival of the settlers. Gwinnett, S.C. Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History. ISBN 1-4165-9106-0.
- Hämäläinen 2008, pp. 215–217.
- Jack W. Gunn, "MEXICAN INVASIONS OF 1842," Handbook of Texas Online , accessed May 24, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
- Thomas W. Cutrer, "SALADO CREEK, BATTLE OF," Handbook of Texas Online <http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qfs01>, accessed May 24, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
- "Dawson Massacre". Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved Sep.24, 2006.
- "The Archives War". Texas Treasures – The Republic. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission. November 2, 2005. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
- George Rives, The United States and Mexico vol. 1, page 390
- Rives, p. 403
- "LA BRANCHE, ALCÉE LOUIS". Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved Apr.7, 2010.
- Museum Info, French Legation Museum.
- "PARIS 2e: The Paris Embassy of Texas". Parisdeuxieme.com. June 28, 2007. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
- Diplomatic Relations of the Republic of Texas
- Constitution of Texas (1845)
- The Avalon Project at Yale Law School: Texas – From Independence to Annexation
- Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States
- Texas Annexation : Questions and Answers, Texas State Library & Archives Commission.
- Overview of US Legislation and Regulations Affecting Offshore Natural Gas and Oil Activity
Part of a series on the
|History of Texas|
- Huson, Hobart (1974), Captain Phillip Dimmitt's Commandancy of Goliad, 1835–1836: An Episode of the Mexican Federalist War in Texas, Usually Referred to as the Texan Revolution, Austin, TX: Von Boeckmann-Jones Co
- Hämäläinen, Pekka (2008), The Comanche Empire, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-12654-9
- Lack, Paul D. (1992), The Texas Revolutionary Experience: A Political and Social History 1835–1836, Texas A&M University Press, ISBN 0-89096-497-1
- Fehrenbach, T. R. (2000), Lone Star: a history of Texas and the Texans, Da Capo Press, ISBN 978-0-306-80942-2
- Republic of Texas Historical Resources
- Republic of Texas from the Handbook of Texas Online
- Hosted by Portal to Texas History:
- Texas: the Rise, Progress, and Prospects of the Republic of Texas, Vol. 1, by William Kennedy, published 1841
- Texas: the Rise, Progress, and Prospects of the Republic of Texas, Vol. 2, published 1841
- Laws of the Republic, 1836–1838 from Gammel's Laws of Texas, Vol. I.
- Laws of the Republic, 1838–1845 from Gammel's Laws of Texas, Vol. II.
- The Avalon Project at Yale Law School: Texas – From Independence to Annexation
- Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas by Andrew Jackson Sowell 1900
- Hardin, Stephen L.; Wade, Mary Dodson (1998). Lone Star: The Republic of Texas, 1836–1846. Discovery Enterprises. ISBN 978-1-878668-63-9.
- Hogan, William Ransom (2007). The Texas Republic: A Social and Economic History. Texas State Historical Association. ISBN 978-0-87611-220-5.
- Lankevich, George J. (1979). The Presidents of the Republic of Texas: Chronology, Documents, Bibliography. Oceana Publications. ISBN 978-0-379-12085-1.
- Weems, John Edward; Weems, Jane (1971). Dream of Empire: A Human History of the Republic of Texas, 1836–1846. Simon and Schuster.
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