Front side of Alamo in downtown San Antonio TexasThe Dallas Texas city skyline at night

20 Fun and Interesting Facts About The Lone Star State

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Ahh, Texas. According to Wikipedia, it “is the second most populous (after California) and the second largest of the 50 U.S. states (after Alaska) in the United States of America. Geographically located in the south central part of the country, Texas shares an international border with the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the south and borders the U.S. states of New Mexico to the west, Oklahoma to the north, Arkansas to the northeast, and Louisiana to the east. Texas has an area of 268,820 square miles (696,200 km2) and a growing population of over 26.9 million residents (July 2014).” Here are some more interesting and fun facts about the Lone Star State:

1. Texas’ largest wind farm is about 4.5 times the size of Manhattan.

Texas Wind Farm Texas Wind Farms

2. Texas is considered to be the leader in wind energy in the U.S. — Roscoe Wind Farm. It has a 781-megawatt capacity and it can power 230,000 homes.

3. There exists a massive abandoned supercollider in Texas. A supercollider is a large ring designed to accelerate particles of protons and anti-protons until they collide. Its purpose is to create large amounts of energy in a controlled and monitored environment. In the mid 1980’s, the United States wanted to construct the largest particle collider in the world. But when the escalating costs across multiple revised estimates became financially insurmountable, the project was terminated before completion. Now, nineteen years after construction was terminated, it still sits abandoned and vacant.

4. Texas no longer offers a special “last meal” to condemned inmates. Instead, such inmate is offered the same meal served to the rest of the unit.

5. 70% of the population of Texas lives within 200 miles of Austin.

6. The term “maverick” is derived from the name Samuel A. Maverick (1803-1870), an early Texas lawyer and pioneer.

7. The bowie knife is named after the Alamo hero Jim Bowie (1796-1836). His brother, Rezin, designed the hefty weapon.

8. In 1519, Spanish explorer Alonso Álvarez de Piñeda was the first European to visit Texas. Myths of the golden “Seven Cities of Cibola” brought many Spaniards from Mexico into Texas. Spanish missionaries built the first two missions near El Paso in 1682. By the late 1730s, missions and forts were built throughout central, east, and southwest Texas.

9. In 1996, a Texas man was bitten by a coral snake. He killed the snake by biting off the snake’s head and used the decapitated body as a tourniquet. Valentin Grimaldo of Rio Bravo was expected to make a full recovery according to a spokeswoman for Edinburg Hospital. Grimaldo, 40, was walking with his brother, Fidel, along U.S. Highway 281 near Encino when he reached into some grass and was bitten on the hand.

10. Since 1963, 33% of U.S. presidents have been from Texas. There have been 43 U.S. presidents. Three of them — Lyndon B. Johnson, George Bush, George W. Bush — hail from Texas.

11. Texas’ total area is twice the size of Germany.Texas is the second largest state in the United States with an area of 268,820 square miles. This is 7.4% of the total U.S. Germany’s area is 137,847 square miles.

12. In 1962, at the University of Texas at Austin, Janis Joplin was voted “ugliest man on campus.”

13. At the University of Texas in Austin there was a course in American Intellectual History, taught by a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, titled “O Wild Ecstasy – Narcissism and Hedonism in Recent America.” Admission was restricted to 12 graduate students. The high art and tormented life of Janis Joplin was in the syllabus, along with work by Andy Warhol, Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe, Bret Easton Ellis and Christopher Lasch.

14. There is a time capsule, which was buried in 1968 in Amarillo Texas containing the passbook to a bank account with a $10 deposit, expected to be worth $1 quadrillion when it is opened in 2968.

15. When Charles Whitman began his shooting rampage at the University of Texas in 1966, a lot of locals grabbed their rifles and started shooting back. They kept him pinned down until the police could sneak up the tower and kill him.

16. The King Ranch in Texas is bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island. The King Ranch, “the birthplace of Texas ranching,” is 825,000 acres, which is 1289.06 square miles. Rhode Island is 1,212 square miles.

17. Oscar, the Academy Award statuette, was named for Texan Oscar Pierce, whose niece worked in Hollywood for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. When she saw the gold statuette, she reportedly said, “Why, that looks just like my Uncle Oscar.”

18. The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is home to the world’s largest parking lot. The Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport has the third largest runway in the world and is the alternate landing site for the space shuttle. Texas has more airports than any other state in the country.

19. The word “Texas” was the Spanish pronunciation “Tejas” of the Hasinai Indian word meaning “allies” or “friends.” In fact, the Texas state motto is “friendship.” Ironically, many Native American tribes in Texas, including the Hasinai, were totally destroyed.

20. The city of Slaughter, Texas, has never had a homicide.

Sources:

Washington Post- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/features/joplin.htm

APNewsArchive- http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1996/Man-Bitten-by-Snake-Uses-its-Skin-as-a-Tourniquet/id-b3034d8a23f90866a580c1d50dd10496

Murderpedia- http://murderpedia.org/male.C/c/cobb-richard-aaron.htm

Wikipedia- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas

The Chive- http://thechive.com/2014/07/16/13-insane-facts-about-the-state-of-texas-14-photos/

KickassFacts- http://www.kickassfacts.com/25-interesting-facts-texas/

AirMail- http://web2.airmail.net/danb1/Txfacts.htm

Random History- http://facts.randomhistory.com/texas-facts.html

Awesome America- http://awesomeamerica.com/texas/

50 States- http://www.50states.com/facts/texas.htm#.VRWwkeHeLrY

Sometimes Interesting- http://sometimes-interesting.com/2012/01/31/worlds-largest-super-collider-abandoned/#more-2259

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