In 1820 the first
American settlers came to Texas. At this time Texas was part
of northern Mexico. The first Americans came with a man
named Moses Austin. Moses had permission from Mexico to
bring Americans to Texas to settle, raise cattle, and have
In 1821 the people
living in Mexico rebelled against Spain and won their
independence. Moses Austin died.
son, Stephen Austin, carried on as a the leader of the
Americans. The Americans had been allowed to come to Texas
under certain rules:
By 1830 twenty thousand
Americans were living in Texas. Many refused to follow the Mexican
rules. Many were Protestants and didn't want to become Catholics.
Other wanted to use slaves.
The Mexican government ruled
that no more Americans could move to Texas. In 1835 the problem
turned into a war. The Mexican soldiers tried to force the Mexican
rules on the Texans. Small bands of Texans fought the Mexican
soldiers in a number of battles.
The most famous battle
happened in February 1836. The Mexican leader General
Antonio Santa Anna crossed the Rio Grande River to fight
Americans with 2,000 soldiers. The soldiers marched to the
city of San Antonio where 188 Americans were holding out in
an old Spanish mission church called the Alamo.
Inside the Alamo were many
famous Americans. Davy Crockett was there. Jim Bowie was also in
the Alamo. Bowie was a famous Indian fighter who developed a knife
called the Bowie knife.
For thirteen days and nights
the Americans held out against the Mexican force. Finally the
Mexicans overran the mission. All the Americans were killed.
"Remember the Alamo" became a saying of all Americans in Texas.
Two weeks later at Goliad,
Santa Anna fought another battle the Americans. He took 400
prisoners and had them all killed.
On March 2, 1836 the
Texans declared their freedom from Mexico. The Texans called
themselves the Lone Star Republic. Sam Houston was named the
leader of the Texan army. In April of 1868 Houston and the
Texan army surprised the Mexican army near San Jacinto River
and won. Santa Anna was captured. He was forced to sign an
agreement that Texas could be free of Mexico. As soon as he
was freed he refused to recognize the agreement.
Houston was made president
of the republic. The government sent Houston to Washington to ask
that Texas be allowed to join the Union. Congress was not sure
The argument went on in
Congress for the next nine years. In March 1845 Congress took
Texas into the Union as the 28th state.
Mexico was angry and thought
the Americans would also take California. California was then part
of Mexico. President Polk sent some men to try to settle the
problem peacefully. The men tried to buy Texas and California. The
Congress declared a war
between the two nations. In September 1847 American troops
captured Mexico City, the capital.
In February 1848 a peace
treaty was signed. The Rio Grande River was to be the border
between the two nations. The United States also got California and
all of the land that is now New Mexico. Mexico was paid $15
million dollars for the property.
Twenty-eight years passed
since Austin took settlers to Texas. In this time the United
States had six different Presidents:
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