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Texas, the Lone Star State, is so called after the Caddo Indian word tejas meaning 'friends'. With its state capital being the city of Austin, it is situated in the south west of the United States and is bordered by Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, the Rio Grande River and Mexico, and the Gulf of Mexico. The state's nickname comes from the fact that the state flag is a single star.

Originally home to the native American Apache, Comanche, and Karankawa peoples, Texas was settled by the Spanish in the 16th and 17th centuries. The state was part of Mexico until 1836, until following the war with Mexico and the battle of the Alamo, it became an independent republic. Texas became the 28th state of the Union in 1845

Dates for Your Diary

January to February: Fort Worth - Annual Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show & Rodeo.

Brownsville - Charro Days Fiesta

Laredo - Washington's Birthday Celebration

Houston - Annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Port Arthur - Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas

March - April: Hidalgo - BorderFest. The largest music, culture and heritage celebration in South Texas

May: Bandera - Ranch Rodeos and Cowboys On Main Street . Weekly rodeos through to September and enjoy cowboys on horseback, strolling musicians, and storytellers at the home town of The Frontier Times Museum's Living History Project.

June: Arlington - Annual Texas Scottish Festival & Highland Games.

July; Independence Day celebrations all over the state

August: Houston: Houston International Jazz Festival

September: Columbus: Colorado County Fair

October: Dallas: State Fair of Texas

Must See in Texas

Texas is simply enormous and there is so much to see and do. However some things that you should not miss on a visit to the state include the most famous landmark and pride of all Texans, the Alamo in San Antonio. Fans of American history may find visits to some of the old frontier forts interesting. These include Fort Leaton, an adobe fortress built in 1848 and Fort McKavett, the base of all four black cavalry regiments or buffalo soldiers, of the US Army during the late 19th century.

Among the many cities in the state, Houston well repays a tour. It is home to numerous museums and exhibits, including the Museum of Natural Science and NASA Manned Spacecraft Centre. Dallas also is a must - notorious as the site of the John F Kennedy assassination, the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza features exhibits on his life and legacy.

The state is rich in wildlife resources with 14 wildlife refuges and 4 national forests.

The most popular with tourists is the Big Bend National Park in the west.

Sport in Texas is of central importance. In the American Football League, the professional team is the renowned Dallas Cowboys.

Baseball is represented by the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers and in basketball, the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs are the teams to follow.