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The Republic of Texas


Independent Texas
Independent Texas

The Republic of Texas, which existed for almost ten years before becoming part of the United States, was beset by many problems, principally financial ones. Although Texas had much land, until it was farmed by settlers little money would be available. To farm the land, however, white settlers would have to remove the native inhabitants by force. The first Texas election took place in September 1836, and Sam Houston defeated Stephen Austin to become the first president of the new Republic of Texas. Although the new republic was recognized by the United States and by several European countries, Mexico refused to recognize it, arguing that the treaty signed by Santa Anna claimed territory that was not part of the original state of Tejas. The republic asserted that the Río Grande from its mouth to its source was the western boundary of the new country, which would have given Texas parts of present-day New Mexico and Colorado. Mexico maintained that the southern boundary of Texas should be the Nueces River and not the Río Grande.

In 1841 a trading expedition of Texans was sent to Santa Fe as the first step in a plan to secure the western boundaries of Texas. The group was captured by Mexican troops, and the captives were forced to march to Mexico City, where the survivors of the march were imprisoned. Mexican soldiers also periodically crossed into Texas and for short periods occupied San Antonio, Goliad, and Refugio. Finally, in February 1844, the Republic of Texas and Mexico signed an armistice.

Difficulties with Mexico did not prevent more land grants to those who settled in the Republic of Texas. The population increased from an estimated 35,000 to 50,000 in 1821 to between 125,000 and 150,000 in 1836. German immigrants settled in central Texas, and other Europeans also established colonies.

Most of the settlers had come from the United States to get the free land Texas was offering. Most of these new settlers joined Houston and his political supporters, who wanted the United States to annex the republic.

As the land was settled, Native Americans were forced out. During the Texas Revolution, Houston had negotiated a treaty with the Cherokee that reserved lands in east Texas for the Cherokee. Texans had not approved the agreement, and now the republic refused to honor it. As settlers moved in, some Cherokee took matters into their own hands. Perhaps as many as 300 Cherokee joined about 100 Mexicans led by Vicente Cordova to camp on an island in east Texas and announced that they did not support the republic. A Texas army attacked and arrested all the leaders, and distrust between the Cherokee and whites increased. In December 1838 the Georgia-born soldier and politician Mirabeau B. Lamar was elected president of the republic. Lamar had no sympathy for Native Americans. He ordered the Cherokee out of the country. The Cherokee resisted, but at the Battle of the Neches in 1839 they were defeated and forced to go north to what is now Oklahoma, clearing east Texas for white settlement. "Texas" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.

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