Texas is a state in the United States that is located in the South Central area. With a size of 268,596 square miles (695,662 km2) and a population of more than 29.1 million people in 2020, it will be the second-largest state in the United States in terms of both area (after Alaska) and population (after California). Texans live along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, which borders the state to the southeast. The state of Texas shares its border with the vast majority of states: Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Latino states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the south and southwest.
San Antonio, Texas, is the second most populous city in the state and the seventh most populous city in the United States, whereas Houston is the most populous city in Texas as well as the fourth-largest city in the United States. In terms of population, the metropolitan statistical regions of Dallas–Fort Worth and Greater Houston are the fourth and fifth most populous in the United States, respectively. Other notable cities include Austin, which is the second most populated state capital in the United States, and El Paso, which is the state capital of Texas. Texas is known as the "Lone Star State" because of its prior position as an independent republic, as well as a reminder of the state's battle for independence from Mexico throughout the nineteenth century. The "Lone Star" may be seen on the Texas state flag as well as on the official seal of the Lone Star State. The name Texas derives from the Caddo word táysha, which means 'friends' in English and Spanish.
Because of its size and geographical characteristics such as the Balcones Fault, Texas includes a varied range of landscapes that are representative of both the Southern and Southwestern areas of the United States. Despite the fact that Texas is often linked with the southwestern deserts of the United States, less than 10 percent of the state's surface area is covered by desert. The majority of the population centres are located in regions that were formerly plains, meadows, woods, or along the coast. Driving westward from east to west, one may see a variety of landscapes, from coastal wetlands and piney woodlands to rolling plains and steep hills, and eventually the desert and mountains of the Big Bend region.
The phrase "six flags over Texas" alludes to a number of different countries that have had control over the area. Spain was the first European nation to claim and rule the territory that is now known as the United States of America. France was the owner of a colony that lasted just a few years. Until 1836, when Texas gained its independence from Mexico and became the Republic of Texas, the region was under Mexican authority. Texas was admitted to the union as the 28th state in 1845. The acquisition of the state triggered a series of events that culminated in the outbreak of the Mexican–American War in 1846. Texas, which had been a slave state before to the American Civil War, proclaimed its secession from the United States in early 1861 and formally joined the Confederate States of America on March 2, 1861, the first day of the war. Immediately after the Civil War and the re-establishment of Texas's representation in the federal government, the state of Texas suffered a period of prolonged economic stagnation.