Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Word about the Six Flags of Texas

In the description in this blog’s header, it says, “This twentysomething Texan goes to the land of the first flag that flew over his state.” Now, for those unfamiliar with all things Texas, the last phrase in the description alludes to the six flags of Texas, a brief outline of Texas history in which we list off the six nations that have governed the land occupied by the State of Texas from the time of Columbus onward. It’s a familiar trope in Texas but not well known outside. Therefore, let me explain.

Flag of the Crown of Castile, Spain
Source: Wikipedia
The first flag that flew over Texas was the flag of Spain. (Hence, the clever description linking myself, a Texan, and my place of residence for the next year.) For three centuries, the Kingdom of Spain counted Texas as part of its empire, but lost it in 1821 when Mexico gained its independence.

Flag of the Kingdom of France
Source: Wikipedia
The second flag belongs to the Kingdom of France. Although it lasted five short years (1685-1690), the failed French attempt to establish a colony along the coast inspired Spain to begin colonizing Texas.

Flag of Mexico
Source: Wikipedia
Mexico flew its flag next, from its own independence in 1821 until the Texas Revolution in 1836. In this era, Americans from the U.S. began to settle in Texas, bringing African slaves with them. This frustrated the Mexican government, which had outlawed slavery.

Flag of Texas
Source: Wikipedia
The fourth flag is that of the Republic of Texas, which the state uses as its flag today. Many of my fellow Texans make much of this time period, but I think it says a lot that, as soon as Anglo settlers gained independence from Mexico, they applied for U.S. statehood. Still, this country lasted from 1836 until admission to the union in 1845 with territory that now forms part of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.

Flag of the US
Source: Wikipedia
The fifth (and current) flag belongs to the United States. Apart from a brief intermission in the Civil War, the American flag has flown since 1845 with minor updates to reflect the growing number of states that form the Union. It has remained unchanged since 1960.

Flag of the Confederacy
Source: Wikipedia
The final flag that flew over Texas was the banner of the Confederacy. In the lowest point in American history, eleven states seceded from the U.S. in order to preserve slavery after Abraham Lincoln was elected president, and war broke out. From 1861 to 1865, the Confederate States of America de facto controlled the American South, although it was never recognized as a nation by the U.S. or any other country.

There you have it, 500 years of Texas history. I hope this sufficiently explains this little bit of Texana if you, my reader, are not a Texan.

Soon, your author will leave the Great State of Texas (ahem) for Spain.
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