Known as the “Lone Star Republic,” Texas declared independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836. Minerals, chemicals, and oil have been reasons for Texas’s success and interest in their resources. These factors were balanced out with constant conflict to define Texas as a state. Many American settlers moved to the area after the Revolutionary War and War for Mexican Independence, during a time when the Mexican government allowed more settlers to claim land. Many of the immigrants disagreed with Mexican law, especially the ban against slavery, leading to a revolution. One of the most famous battles of the Texas Revolution took place at the Alamo, in present San Antonio, when Mexican troops overwhelmed Texan defenders after a 13-day siege.

The new nation was initially governed according to the 1836 Constitution of the Republic of Texas. Texas was strongly influenced by the Mexican and Spanish cultures surrounding the area. Texas became a state on December 29, 1845. The first state constitution in 1845 allowed for an underlying presence of slavery because it was part of the South in terms of regionalism and pride. The Constitution of 1876 helped rectify any legislative concerns that had been in the governing style and that could not be repaired by amendments around 1850.

The state has 254 counties, the largest number in the United States. Archer County is known for its ghost towns. The population varies widely, from little Loving County in the west with 82 residents in 2010, to Harris County in the southeast, which includes the city of Houston and boasts a population of 4,336,853.

At the bottom of the state court system, Texas has justice courts and municipal courts for original jurisdiction of minor cases, yet they can be appealed to one of the 510 county level courts that has a single judge per court. Next, the cases can be appealed to one of the 458 district courts, which also have one judge per court; then appeals can be advanced to the Courts of Appeals; and lastly, either the Court of Criminal Appeals (9 judges) or the Supreme Court of Texas (9 justices) may hear cases. The Supreme Court is the final resort for civil and juvenile cases, while the Court of Criminal Appeals is the final appellate court for criminal cases.

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