Texas is a state geographically located in the South Central United States and is also known as the Lone Star State. Austin is the state capital. Texas is the second largest U.S. state in both area and population, with an area of 268,820 square miles (696,200 km2) and a growing population of 23.9 million. Houston is the state's largest city. The Dallas/Fort Worth area is the largest metropolitan statistical area in Texas and the fourth-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.
Traveling east to west, the landscape of Texas gradually evolves from that of the Deep South into that of the desert Southwest, going from piney woods to semi-forests of oak and cross timbers, into rolling plains and prairie, then finally to desert in the Big Bend. These wide open spaces of the Texas prairie have lent currency to the phrase that "everything is bigger in Texas".
Due to its long history as a center of the American cattle industry, Texas is associated throughout much of the world with the image of the cowboy.
Historically and culturally, Texas has close ties to the American South. However, having once been both a Spanish and Mexican possession, it can also be classified as a Southwestern state. While residents acknowledge these categories, many claim an independent "Texan" identity superseding regional labels.
Spain was the first European country to claim the area of Texas.
It was then part of Mexico until 1836 when it became the independent Republic of Texas. In 1845 it joined the United States as the 28th state. The state's annexation was one of a chain of events that led to the Mexican-American War in 1846 and the U.S. Civil War.
In the early 1900s, oil discoveries led to an economic boom in the state. Texas has since economically diversified. It has a growing base in high technology, biomedical research and higher education. The state's gross state product is the second-highest in the nation.
While American football has long been considered “king” in the state, Texans today enjoy a wide variety of sports. Texans have a plethora of professional sports teams to cheer for. Texas is home to two NFL teams, the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans; two Major League Baseball teams, the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros; three NBA teams: the Houston Rockets, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Dallas Mavericks; two WNBA teams: the Houston Comets and the San Antonio Silver Stars; one National Hockey League team, the Dallas Stars.
Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area is one of only thirteen American cities that have sports teams from the "Big Four" professional leagues. Other professional teams include the Arena Football League, and Major League Soccer, and the Mexican 1st Division.
Collegiate athletics have deep significance in Texas culture. The state has the most Division I-FBS schools in America, ten. The four largest programs are part of the Big 12 Conference: the Baylor Bears, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, and Texas Tech Red Raiders.
According to a survey of Division I-A coaches, the rivalry between the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas, the Red River Shootout, is ranked the third best collegiate rivalry in the nation.The rivalry between the two largest universities in the state, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas, is called the Lone Star Showdown. [source]