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Six Flags Over Texas

The Lone Star State is one of America's most unique states. It gave us the image of the cowboy. It showed us what Teddy Roosevelt's "rugged individualism" meant. It supplied us with the eternal catchphrase, "Everything's bigger down in Texas," which includes its history. Over the years, Texas has raised six different flags. Analyzing these banners can help us delve into the rich Texan history, and understand the story of one of America's most crucial states.

Spanish Rule: 1519-1821

Texas was first founded by Spanish explorers who had recently conquered Mexico. In 1519, the conquistador, Hernán Cortez, sent men north to explore. They discovered the vast land of Texas, which touched both the Gulf of Mexico and the unexplored American frontier. Because of complications in Mexico, it took the Spanish about a century to actually settle Texas. Their first settlement was constructed in 1681 and was seen as an expansion of Spanish-ruled Mexico. The Spanish built forts and cities. They sent priests and soldiers. Eventually, occupied the new land. They flew a banner very similar to that of the Spanish flag, striped with red and yellow. In the center rested a crest that included a lion and a castle on a shield, topped with a Spanish crown.

French Rule: 1685-1690

As often happened in the New World, European countries battled each other for control of swaths of land. Texas happened to be one of these territories. It has a significant location, since it borders a gulf and Mexico, which was key for trade. The next contender for Texas control was France, who had recently based itself in the Louisiana area. France pushed west, into Eastern Texas, and claimed large pieces of land. But there was not much the Spanish could do, or even wanted to do. Texas was so big that it was impossible for Spain to populate all of it; the Spanish and French settlements were so far apart, it was not even worth fighting over. So France erected its own Texan flag, twenty-three Fleurs-de-lis symbols on a white field. The French had previously used this flag to indicate their own forts and naval ships.

The flag only flew for five years. France's occupation of Eastern Texas was marked with disaster. Its ships could hardly withstand the rough waters of the Texas gulf, and its people suffered from illness and hunger. In addition to that, Native Americans came from all angles and attacked the French settlers in an attempt to get their land back. It was successful; the French withdrew, realizing it was safer to stay away.

Mexican Rule: 1821-1836

In 1810, Mexico declared its independence from Spain, and they fought their own War of Independence. Its freedom was not officially recognized until 1821, when they adopted a new flag. It bore green, white, and red stripes . In the center was an eagle with a snake in its beak (symbolizing the conquest of good over evil), as well as the famous cacti of Texas.

More people flowed into Texas during this period, ushering in the development of a unique Texan culture that stood in contrast to Mexico. Conflicts arose; Texans grew rebellious toward their Mexican rulers. It had always been discussed that Texas could have seceded from Mexico, but it never came to action until one of Mexico's military generals, a man named Santa Anna, rose up and crowned himself the dictator of Mexico. Texas defied him, and another war erupted.

The armies of Mexico could not withstand the might of Texas, which eventually won. On April 21st, 1836, Texas was declared its own territory. It had shrugged off rule and were finally an independent republic.

Republic Rule: 1836-1845

Needless to say, Texas had a shaky start (as most new governments do). The economy was not very stable. Disease was prevalent. Conflicts between Mexico and Texas were still a part of everyday life. So, despite that this was one of Texas's harshest periods, it was also an era in which Texas culture really found its own niche among its people.

When you think of the thick Southern accent, well, that came to fruition during these years. These are also the years during which the "Southern cowboy" emerged. The flag of the Republic of Texas is still flown today in the Lone Star State; in fact, you will find it nearly everywhere in Texas. On the left is column of blue marked with a white star, while two stripes, red and white, sit on the left. Today, it is still a symbol of Texas's bloody history and their culture.

Confederate Rule: 1861-1865

The territory of Texas eventually joined the United States in 1845. Sixteen years later, in 1861, years of tension over slavery exploded. The Civil War began; in the North stood the Union, and in the South the Confederacy. Sam Houston, the Governor of Texas, begged his state not to join the hopeless war. Instead, his people ousted him from office and rallied to the Confederate lines. The flag during this time period demonstrates a blue square in the upper left corner, with a ring of white stars, and three stripes (red, white, red) on the rest of the banner. It is often referred to as the "Stars and Bars."

United States Rule: 1845-1861, 1865-Present

The Civil War was ultimately won by the Union and Texas rejoined the United States after defeat. Today, Texas is one of America's most important states, especially in space research and rocket ships ("Houston, we have a problem."). It's also one of America's most popular tourist destinations, known for its food, breathtaking landscapes, and the unique Southern culture. Today, Texas rallies to the United States flag that we all know so well: fifty white stars on a square of blue, next to thirteen red and white stripes.

If you are a fan of the Lone Star State, we encourage you to stop by Lone Star Western Decor today and bring a little Texas into your home.

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