Happy Texas Independence Day – Ya’ll
Today, March 2nd, is Texas Independence Day. The 176th anniversary of the day in 1836, when a group of Anglo colonists gathered at a place they named Washington on the Brazos and agreed it was time for the area called “Tejas” to declare its independence from Mexico.
Today’s Lufkin Daily News has an editorial that sums up the meaning and importance of this day as well any we’ve ever read. We can’t improve on it, so here it is in its entirety.
For people whose families have lived here for generations and to people who just came yesterday, being a Texan should be something to be proud of. Today we celebrate Texas Independence Day; Texas declared its independence 176 years ago. The history of our state and the heritage that has been passed to us by those who have made Texas unique is worthy of remembering and emulating. It is certainly worth celebrating.
Our state’s name comes from the Caddos, one of the original tribes in Texas and the Spaniards. The Caddos called the Spaniards “tayshas” their word for friend. In Spanish the word came out as “tejas” which eventually became Texas. We are still a friendly state.
Many flags of state have flown over Texas beginning with the Spanish, French and Mexican flags. Like the original 13 colonies, Texans fought and won a war for their independence. After securing our independence in 1836 we became a Republic before joining the United States.
Texas is a big state with 262,017 square miles, but it used to be larger. Our holdings included another 98,300 square miles with some prime Rocky Mountain real estate. Texas joined the Union in 1845 and in that agreement Texas retained the right to divide into four states in addition to the original Texas.
Texas assumed the boundaries that exist today with the Compromise of 1850 where Texas sold parts of what in now Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming to the federal government for $10 million in what seemed like a good idea at the time. Despite the sale, Texas still remained the largest state in the Union until Alaska declared her statehood in 1959.
Texas has about 400 years of written history. Throughout our history, March has been a key month in the development of this great state, culminating with our Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836.
On March 9, 1731, a group of immigrants from the Canary Islands founded the first organized civil government at the Presidio of San Antonio de Bexar.
On March 29, 1813, 23 years before the Alamo fell at that same Presidio, the Battle of Rosillo was fought just nine miles south of there. In that battle, locals defeated Spanish loyalists, captured San Antonio and set the stage for the first Republic of Texas.
Of course, Texans gathered at Washington on the Brazos and unanimously voted to declare independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836. Four days later the Alamo fell and on March 27, 1836, Fannin’s command was massacred at Goliad. Texas won its independence from Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21 of that year.
In a surprising coincidence, General Sam Houston, who commanded the Texas forces that day and later became the first elected President of the Republic of Texas, was born on March 2, 1793.
Happy birthday, Texas! 176 years ago our freedom was purchased with the blood and treasure of those early Texans. It is fitting that we should remember their struggles that helped create the greatest state in the Union. Let’s do all we can to keep it that.
There’s a weekend of Independence Day activities at Washington on the Brazos State Park near Navasota. There’s more information at:
There’s also a full schedule of events at the state capitol in Austin.