Texas, largest state in the coterminous United States. It is located in the S Central part of the country and is bounded by Oklahoma, across the Red R. except in the Texas panhandle (N); Arkansas (NE); Louisiana, across the Sabine R. (E); the Gulf of Mexico (SE); Mexico, across the Rio Grande R. (SW); and New Mexico (W).
Area, 267,338 sq mi (692,405 sq km).
Pop. (2000) 20,851,820, a 22.8% increase since the 1990 census.
Capital,Austin. Largest city, Houston.
Nickname, Lone Star State.
Motto,Friendship. State bird, mockingbird.
State flower, bluebonnet.
State tree, pecan.
Texas is roughly spade shaped. The vast expanse of the state contains great regional differences (the distance from Beaumont to El Paso is greater than that from New York to Chicago).
Mineral resources compete with industry for primary economic importance in Texas. The state is the leading U.S. producer of oil, natural gas, and natural-gas liquids, despite recent production declines. It is also a major producer of helium, salt, sulfur, sodium sulfate, clays, gypsum, cement, and talc.
Texas manufactures an enormous variety of products, including chemicals and chemical products, petroleum, food and food products, transportation equipment, machinery, and primary and fabricated metals. The development and manufacture of electronic equipment, such as computers, has in recent decades become one of the state's leading industries; the area around Dallas-Fort Worth has become known as “Silicon Prairie,” a name now also extended to Austin and its suburbs. Agriculturally, Texas is one of the most important states in the country. It easily leads the nation in producing cattle, cotton, and cottonseed. Texas also has more farms, farmland, sheep, and lambs than any other state.
The Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is in the Houston area. Other places of interest in the state include Big Bend National Park,Guadalupe Mountains National Park , Amistad and Lake Meredith national recreation areas, Padre Island National Seashore, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, and Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge, winter home of the whooping crane. Austin is the capital; Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio are the largest cities.
Among the many institutions of higher learning in Texas are the University of Texas, mainly at Austin, but with large branches at Arlington, El Paso, and the Dallas suburb of Richardson.
*Information from Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition