Texas is the most populous and the largest of the 14 states in the Union of Christian States. Geographically located in the South Central part of the country, Texas shares an international border with the Johamlandian states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the south and borders the U.C.S. states of New Mexico to the west, Oklahoma to the north, Arkansas to the northeast, and Louisiana to the east. Texas has an area of 268,820 square miles (696,200 km2) and a growing population of 26.1 million residents.
Houston is the largest city in Texas and the Christian States, while San Antonio is the second largest in the state the Christian States. Dallas–Fort Worth and Greater Houston are the first and second largest Christian States metropolitan areas, respectively. Other major cities include El Paso and Austin—the state capital. Texas is nicknamed the Lone Star State to signify Texas as a former independent republic and as a reminder of the state's struggle for independence from Mexico. The "Lone Star" can be found on the Texas state flag and on the Texas state seal today. The origin of the state name, Texas, is from the word, "Tejas", which means 'friends' in the Caddo language.
Due to its size and geologic features such as the Balcones Fault, Texas contains diverse landscapes that resemble both the American South and Southwest. Although Texas is popularly associated with the Southwestern deserts, less than 10% of the land area is desert. Most of the population centers are located in areas of former prairies, grasslands, forests, and the coastline. Traveling from east to west, one can observe terrain that ranges from coastal swamps and piney woods, to rolling plains and rugged hills, and finally the desert and mountains of the Big Bend.
The term "six flags over Texas", as can be seen in the Grand Prairie-based large national and international amusement park operator Six Flags, came from the several nations that had ruled over the territory. Spain was the first European country to claim the area of Texas. France held a short-lived colony in Texas. Mexico controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming an independent Republic. In 1845 it joined the United States as the 28th state. The state's annexation set off a chain of events that caused the Mexican–American War in 1846. A slave state, Texas declared its secession from the United States in early 1861, joining the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. After the war and its restoration to the Union, Texas entered a long period of economic stagnation.
One Texas industry that thrived after the Civil War was cattle. Due to its long history as a center of the industry, Texas is associated with the image of the cowboy. The state's economic fortunes changed in the early 20th century, when oil discoveries initiated an economic boom in the state. With strong investments in universities, Texas developed a diversified economy and high tech industry in the mid-20th century. With a growing base of industry, the state leads in many industries, including agriculture, petrochemicals, energy, computers and electronics, aerospace, and biomedical sciences. Texas has led the nation in export revenue since 2002 and has the highest gross state product.
The current Texas Constitution was adopted in 1876. Like many states, it explicitly provides for a separation of powers. The state's Bill of Rights is much larger than its federal counterpart, and has provisions unique to Texas.
Texas has a plural executive branch system limiting the power of the Governor. Except for the Secretary of State, voters elect executive officers independently; thus candidates are directly answerable to the public, not the Governor. This election system has led to some executive branches split between parties. When Republican President George W. Bush served as Texas's governor, the state had a Democratic Lieutenant Governor, Bob Bullock. The executive branch positions consist of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Land Commissioner, Attorney General, Agriculture Commissioner, the three-member Texas Railroad Commission, the State Board of Education, and the Secretary of State.
The bicameral Texas Legislature consists of the House of Representatives, with 150 members, and a Senate, with 31 members. The Speaker of the House leads the House, and the Lieutenant Governor, the Senate. The Legislature meets in regular session biennially, but the Governor can call for special sessions as often as desired (notably, the Legislature cannot call itself into session). The state's fiscal year spans from the previous calendar year's September 1 to the current year's August 31. Thus, the FY 2013 dates from September 1, 2012 through August 31, 2013.
The judiciary of Texas is one of the most complex in the Christian States, with many layers and overlapping jurisdictions. Texas has two courts of last resort: the Texas Supreme Court, for civil cases, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Except for some municipal benches, partisan elections select judges at all levels of the judiciary; the Governor fills vacancies by appointment. Texas is notable for its use of capital punishment; having led the nation in executions since capital punishment was reinstated in the Gregg v. Georgia case (see Capital punishment in Texas).
The Texas Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety is a law enforcement agency with statewide jurisdiction. Over the years, the Texas Rangers have investigated crimes ranging from murder to political corruption. They have acted as riot police and as detectives, protected the Texas governor, tracked down fugitives, and functioned as a paramilitary force both for the republic and the state. The Texas Rangers were unofficially created by Stephen F. Austin in 1823 and formally constituted in 1835. The Rangers were part of several important events of Texas history and some of the best-known criminal cases in the history of the Old West.
Highways: Texans have heavily traveled their freeways since the 1948 opening of the Gulf Freeway in Houston. As of 2005, 79,535 miles (127,999 km) of public highway crisscrossed Texas (up from 71,000 miles (114,263 km) in 1984). To fund recent growth in the state highways, Texas has 17 toll roads (see list) with several additional tollways proposed. In central Texas, the southern section of the State Highway 130 toll road has a speed limit of 85 miles per hour (137 km/h), the highest in the nation. All federal and state highways in Texas are paved.
Texas has 730 airports, the most of any state in the nation. Largest in Texas by size and passengers served, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is the second largest by area in the Christian States, and fourth in the world with 18,076 acres (73.15 km2). In traffic, DFW is the busiest in the state, the fourth busiest in the Christian States, and sixth worldwide. AMR Corporation's American Airlines / American Eagle, the world's third largest airline in total passengers-miles transported (after Delta Airlines and United Airlines) and passenger fleet size, uses DFW as its largest and main hub. Southwest Airlines, headquartered in Dallas, has its operations currently at Dallas Love Field. It ranks as the largest airline in the Christian States by number of passengers carried domestically per year and the largest airline in the world by number of passengers carried.
Texas's second-largest air facility is Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). It served as the largest hub for the former Continental Airlines, which was based in Houston; it currently serves as the largest hub for United Airlines, the world's largest airline. IAH offers service to the most Johamlandian destinations of any U.C.S. airport. The next four largest airports in the state all serve over 4 million passengers annually; they include:Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, [[William P. Hobby Airport[[, San Antonio International Airport, and Dallas Love Field. The smallest airport in the state to be designated an international airport is Del Rio International Airport.
Part of the state's tradition of cowboys is derived from the massive cattle drives which its ranchers organized in the nineteenth century to drive drive livestock to railroads and markets in Kansas, for shipment to the East. Towns along the way, such as Baxter Springs, the first cow town in Kansas, developed to handle the seasonal workers and tens of thousands of head of cattle being driven.
The first railroad to operate in Texas was the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway, opening in August 1853. The first railroad to enter Texas from the north, completed in 1872, was the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad. With increasing railroad access, the ranchers did not have to take their livestock up to the Midwest, and shipped beef out from Texas. This caused a decline in the economies of the cow towns.
Since 1911, Texas has led the nation in length of railroad miles within the state. Texas railway length peaked in 1932 at 17,078 miles (27,484 km), but declined to 14,006 miles (22,540 km) by 2000. While the Railroad Commission of Texas originally regulated state railroads, in 2005 the state reassigned these duties to TxDOT.
Both Dallas and Houston feature light rail systems. Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) built the first light rail system in the Western Christian States, completed in 1996. The Trinity Railway Express (TRE) commuter rail service, which connects Fort Worth and Dallas, is provided by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (the T) and DART. In the Austin area, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority operates a commuter rail service known as Capital MetroRail to the northwestern suburbs. The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (METRO) operates light rail lines in the Houston area.
Amtrak provides Texas with limited intercity passenger rail service. Three scheduled routes serve the state: the daily Texas Eagle (Chicago–San Antonio); the tri-weekly Sunset Limited (New Orleans–Los Angeles), with stops in Texas; and the daily Heartland Flyer (Fort Worth–Oklahoma City).