Texas claims bragging rights on many fronts
Last week I wrote about Milam County and its rich history. I guess that it is only logical that the county be rich in history since it is located in a state rich in history. While Alaska may surpass Texas' claim to fame as the largest state in the nation, I do not believe they can overtake our rich history. After all, how many other states have been a Republic and under six flags?
No doubt, Texas has a rich history. I guess I should say a written history that dates back to 1519. The Native Americans were here long before European explorers came ashore. The written history of Texas began in 1519, when A lonso Alvarez de Pineda explored the northern Gulf Coast. During the period of 1519 to 1865, all or parts of Texas were claimed by six countries: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America, and the Confederate States of America.
There are a number of interesting facts about Texas. Not necessarily related to history, but interesting to many folks. For instance did you know that Texas is home to over 24 million people and over 13 million head of cattle? This is double the number of head in Nebraska which is second to Texas in total number of cattle.
Texas was a Republic for a while and some folks say we might be bet ter of f had we stayed that way. If Texas were a nation the economy would rank tenth largest in the world. Texas ranks number one in exports among all states. During t he 1990 to 2000 t ime period Texas was the eighth fastest grow ing state in the nation, and today ranks as the third fastest growing state.
Texas land area is 267,256 square miles. This is almost t w ice the size of California and nearly five time the state of New York. The largest county in Texas is Brewster County with a total land area of 6,208 square miles, and of course, the most populous county is Harris County. The projected population for Harris county for 2009 is just over 4 million.
Another interesting fact about Texas is that 70 percent of the population of the entire state lives within 200 miles of the Capital. That leaves a whole lot of land area open for the future.
I have to believe that our history is what makes Texas, Texas. That along w ith the other trivial facts of size and numbers does give us a right to brag about some things. Then again if you do say something and it is the truth that is not necessarily bragging is it?
I refer to the history of Milam Count y and Texas to express the need for state leaders to look toward the future. So many issues are looming on the horizon that could cause major problems if we do not plan accordingly. Being the third fastest growing state is not necessarily a good thing. Increased population on existing infrastructure that in many cases is already insufficient will only increase our problems in the future.
With all Texas has to offer I am betting that folks will continue to head our way. With that in mind we need some vision in Austin to plan ahead. Non-partisan vision. We need vision that is right for Texas not one political party or one special interest group.
Transportation, water, and pollution issues, all the benefits of progress, will continue to increase as our population grows. We can only hope that future historians will be able to write about how Texas leaders responded to the challenges, and had the v ision to make sure that in the future Texans still have something worth bragging about.