Happy Independence Day, Texas! 182 years old never looked better.
On March 2, 1836, Texas declared independence from Mexico. Fifty-nine delegates signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, creating the Republic of Texas.
In honor of our Lone Star State's birthday, here are 82 fun facts about Texas:
1. The Oscars are coming up this weekend. But did you know that the Oscar, the Academy Award statuette, was allegedly named after a Texan, Oscar Pierce? His niece was the Academy's Executive Secretary, Margaret Herrick, and said the statue reminded her of her "Uncle Oscar." Guess the name stuck.
2. The term “maverick” comes from the name Samuel A. Maverick (1803-1870), who was an early Texas lawyer and pioneer.
3. Texas is fondly known as The Lone Star State.
4. Six flags have flown over Texas. The Spanish (1519 - 1685), the French (1685 - 1690), the Spanish again (1690 - 1821), Mexican (1821 - 1836), the Republic of Texas (1836 - 1845), the United States (1845 - 1861), the Confederate States (1861 - 1865), and finally the United States (1865 to present).
5. The name 'Texas' comes from the Caddo Indian word 'tayshas,' meaning “friends” or “allies”. The Spanish pronounced it as 'tejas' and the English settlers pronounced it as Texas.
6. The bowie knife is named after a famous Texan. Jim Bowie (1796 - 1836), died in the battle of the Alamo, and his brother designed the weapon and named it after him.
7. It is still a hanging offense in Texas to steal cattle or to put graffiti on someone else’s cow.
8. The Alamo, in San Antonio, is considered the cradle of Texas liberty and the state's most popular historic site. It is where Texas defenders fell to Mexican General Santa Anna and the phrase, "Remember the Alamo," originated.
9. In 1962, NASA began building a Manned Spacecraft Center near Houston. Workers there directed the Apollo 11 flight with the first astronauts to land on the moon.
10. Texas is the second largest state in America. The first is Alaska.
11. Texas has the largest state capitol building in the United States. In 1888, when it was completed, the capitol building was billed as "The Seventh Largest Building in the World."
12. Texas has the highest highway speed limit in America. A stretch of toll road between Austin and San Antonio has a limit of 85 miles an hour.
13. The first words ever spoken on the moon was "Houston." In 1969, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong, after landing on the moon, announced, "Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed."
14. Actor and producer Matthew McConaughey was born in Uvalde, Texas.
15. It is illegal to indecently expose or swear in front of a corpse in Texas. In Galveston, Texas, it is illegal to have a camel run loose on the beach.
16. Beloved Tejano singer, songwriter, model and actress Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was from Texas.
17. The lightning whelk is the official state shell.
18. The soda, Dr Pepper was invented in Waco, Texas. Texas pharmacist Charles Alderton formulated the unique flavor in 1885.
19. Singer Beyoncé Knowles was born and raised in Houston, Texas.
20. Several groups of Native Americans lived in Texas. The largest of these was the Caddo.
21. Texas has more airports than any other state in the country.
22. Texas is larger than many nations in the world, including every country in Europe.
23. The city of Slaughter, Texas, has never had a homicide.
24. Edwards Plateau in west-central Texas is the top sheep growing area in the country.
25. The famous battle cry “Remember the Alamo!” is often attributed to Sam Houston but was actually coined by Texas general Sidney Sherman (1805-1873).
26. Texas is the only state to enter the United States by treaty instead of territorial annexation.
27. Austin is considered the live music capital of the world.
28. Texas' state flower is the Bluebonnet.
29. Two presidents were born in Texas. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson.
30. 'Singing in the Rain' actress and singer Debbie Reynolds is from El Paso, Texas.
31. The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is home to the world’s largest parking lot.
32. The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is the United States' largest rose garden. It has around 38,000 rose bushes with 500 different varieties of roses.
33. Texas is so big, there have been practically two different seasons happening at once. On March 27, 1984, the temperature in Amarillo, Texas, was near freezing, 35 degrees Fahrenheit, with snow on the ground, while Brownsville, Texas had a high of 106 degrees Fahrenheit.
34. Paris, Texas, has its own 65-foot-tall Eiffel Tower. Built in 1995, it was originally billed as the “Second Largest Eiffel Tower in the Second Largest Paris.”
35. Amarillo, Texas is the "Helium Capital of the World." It holds America's National Helium Reserve which stores about 90 percent of the world's recoverable helium.
36. Texas is the second most populous state in the U.S., after California.
37. Texas experiences the most tornadoes in the United States, with an average of 139 per year.
38. Davy Crockett, who fought at the Alamo, reportedly once told his Tennessee peers in Congress “Ya’ll can go to hell. I am going to Texas.”
39. Austin is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. Over 1.5 million bats roost beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge over Lady Bird Lake.
40. The Texas flag is called the “Lone Star Flag” and has three colors: red to represent courage, white to represent liberty, and blue to represent loyalty.
41. The largest Ferris wheel in the Western Hemisphere is found in the Dallas State Fair Park and it's called "The Texas Star."
42. Two U.S. presidents died in Texas. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, and President Lyndon B. Johnson died the same place he was born, the Johnson ranch outside Stonewall.
43. The highest temperature ever recorded in Texas was 120 degrees Fahrenheit in Seymour on Aug. 12, 1936.
44. The song “Luckenbach, Texas,” became so popular it led to many road signs getting stolen, so much so that the government stopped making them.
45. If Texas were a country, it would be the 40th largest country in the world, after Chile and Zambia.
46. Texas boasts the nation's largest herd of whitetail deer.
47. The King Ranch in Texas is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.
48. Texas still owns all of its public lands. If the federal government wants to create a park or cut a stand of timber, it must first ask the state’s permission.
49. If Texas were a country, it would rank as the world’s 7th largest producer of greenhouse gases. Texas emits more greenhouse gases than any other state in the United States.
50. Sam Houston, who fought in the Alamo, was actually born in Virginia. Houston served as governor of Tennessee before coming to Texas.
51. The largest known bat colony in North America is also located in Texas in Bracken Cave.
52. A $60 million treasure of gold plundered by Coronado is believed to be buried on an 80-acre pasture at the Sems Ranch near Clyde, Texas.
53. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Texas was -23 degrees Fahrenheit at Tulia in 1899 and at Seminole on Feb. 8, 1933.
54. Miriam A. “Ma” Ferguson was the first female governor of Texas and the second woman elected governor of any state, after Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming.
55. Texas is the largest petroleum-producing state in the U.S.
56. The letters “G.T.T.” were 19th-century short hand for “Gone to Texas,” a quick way for people to let their families know that they had left for greener grass. Eventually, so many people headed to Texas to escape the law that “G.T.T.” came to mean “on the lam.”
57. The phrase “Six Flags over Texas” refers to the six countries that ruled over Texas territory. The term “Six Flags” has been incorporated into theme parks (Six Flags), shopping malls, and other venues.
58. Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.
59. The armadillo is the official state mammal.
60. Texas has a state motto: "Friendship."
61. In the 1860s, many Texans established huge cattle ranches. Cattle drives ended during the 1880s with the expansion of railroads.
62. Seventy-five percent of the world's Snickers bars are made in Waco at the M&M/Mars plant.
63. Rodeo is the official state sport of Texas.
64. Texas is home to Dell and Compaq computers and Central Texas is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of the south.
65. Texas possesses three of the top ten most populous cities in the United States. These towns are Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.
67. Texas has 624 miles of coastline running along the Gulf of Mexico.
68. Laredo, Texas is the world's largest inland port.
69. There are stalactites and stalagmites in the breezeway at the University of Texas Law School.
70. The first suspension bridge in the United States was the Waco Bridge. It was built in 1870 and is still in use today as a pedestrian crossing of the Brazos River.
71. Texas has a total of 6,300 square miles of inland lakes and streams, second only to Alaska.
72. The official dish of Texas is chili.
73. Forty percent of the farm-grown catfish in the United States is consumed by Texans.
74. Texas had the first domed stadium in the country. The structure was built in Houston and opened in April 1965.
75. More land is farmed in Texas than in any other state.
76. Sam Houston had an interesting past. He was the only governor to be elected in two different states. He was the 7th governor of Tennessee, and later became the first president of the Republic of Texas, then later was elected as the 7th governor of Texas as well.
77. Austin, the capital of Texas, was originally named Waterloo. It was later renamed to honor Stephen F. Austin.
78. The San Jacinto Monument is the world's tallest masonry column at 567.31 feet.
79. The deadliest disaster in U.S. history occurred in Galveston, Texas, when a Category 4 hurricane on Sept. 8, 1900 killed an estimated 8,000 people.
81. Port Lavaca has the world's longest fishing pier. Originally part of the causeway connecting the two sides of Lavaca Bay, the center was destroyed by Hurricane Carla in 1961.