The recorded History of Texas begins with the arrival of the first Spanish conquistadors in the region now known as Texas in 1519, who found the region populated by numerous Native American tribes. Their ancestors had been there for thousands of years. During the period from 1519 to 1848, all or parts of Texas were claimed by five countries: France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America—as well as the Confederate States of America in 1861–65.
The first European base was established in 1680 in El Paso, Texas with the exiled Spaniards and Native Americans from the Isleta Pueblo during the Pueblo Revolt, also known as Popé's Rebellion, from northern New Mexico. In 1682, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle established a French colony, Fort Saint Louis, near Matagorda Bay. The colony was killed off by Native Americans after three years, but Spanish authorities felt pressed to establish settlements to keep their claim to the land. Several missions were established in East Texas; they were abandoned in 1691. Twenty years later, concerned with the French presence in neighboring Louisiana, Spanish authorities again tried to colonize Texas. Over the next 110 years, Spain established numerous villages, presidios, and missions in the province. A small number of Spanish settlers arrived, in addition to missionaries and soldiers. Spain signed agreements with colonizers from the United States. When Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, Mexican Texas was part of the new nation. To encourage settlement, Mexican authorities allowed organized immigration from the United States, and by 1834, over 30,000 Anglos lived in Texas, compared to 7,800 Mexicans.
After Santa Anna's dissolution of the Constitution of 1824, issues such as lack of access to courts, the militarization of the region's government (e.g., response to Saltillo-Monclova problem), and self-defense issues resulting in the confrontation in Gonzales, public sentiment in Mexican Texas turned towards revolution. Santa Anna's invasion of the territory after putting down the rebellion in Zacatecas provoked the conflict of 1836. The Texian forces fought and won the Texas Revolution in 1835–36.
Texas became an independent nation, the Republic of Texas. Attracted by the rich lands for cotton plantations and ranching, tens of thousands of immigrants arrived from the U.S. and from Germany as well. In 1845, Texas joined the United States, becoming the 28th state. Texas declared its secession from the United States in 1861 to join the Confederate States of America. Only a few battles of the American Civil War were fought in Texas; most Texas regiments served in the east. When the war ended, the enslaved African Americans were freed. Texas was subject to Reconstruction, a process that left a residue of bitterness among whites. They regained political dominance and passed laws in the late 19th century creating second-class status for blacks in a Jim Crow system of segregation and disenfranchising them in 1901 through passage of a poll tax.
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