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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" refers to several nations that have ruled over the territory.Spain was the first European country to claim the area of Texas. Mexico controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming an independent Republic.

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The state's annexation set off a chain of events that caused the Mexican–American War in 1846.

A slave state before the American Civil War, Texas declared its secession from the US in early 1861, and officially joined the Confederate States of America on March 2 of the same year.

After the Civil War and the restoration of its representation in the federal government, Texas entered a long period of economic stagnation.

) is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population.

Geographically located in the south central part of the country, Texas shares borders with the other US states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.

Houston is the most populous city in Texas and the fourth largest in the US, while San Antonio is the second most populous in the state and seventh largest in the US.Dallas–Fort Worth and Greater Houston are the fourth and fifth largest metropolitan statistical areas in the country, respectively.Other major cities include Austin, the second most populous state capital in the US, and El Paso.Texas is nicknamed the Lone Star State to signify its former status as an independent republic, and as a reminder of the state's struggle for independence from Mexico.The "Lone Star" can be found on the Texan state flag and on the Texan state seal.Most of the population centers are located in areas of former prairies, grasslands, forests, and the coastline.

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