1. According to the 1845 state constitution, Texas may, if it so desires, subdivide into five smaller states. What's better than Texas? Five
2. As of 2013 population estimates, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas rank fourth, seventh and ninth, respectively, on the list of top 10 most populous cities in the U.S. We're kind of a big deal.
3. Texas is larger than any country in Europe. It's the second-largest state in the U.S., but if it were a country it would be the world's 40th-largest in terms of land area.
4. An independent Texas would also have the world's 14th-largest economy, just behind Spain and ahead of Mexico.
5. A group called the Texas Nationalist Movement is actively working to see Texas become its own sovereign nation, and claims to have about a quarter of a million supporters. Over 125,000 Texans also signed a petition on the White House website requesting that Texas be granted permission to secede, which (surprise, surprise) sparked a counter-petition from citizens of Austin requesting that they be allowed to secede from Texas and remain part of the union.
6. El Paso is closer to California than it is to Dallas.
7. Beaumont is about equidistant from El Paso and Chicago.
8. “Friday Night Lights,” while set in the fictional town of Dillon, is based on the book and movie of the same name which document the 1988 season of Odessa's Permian Panthers. Clear eyes, full heart, can't lose! Sorry, couldn't resist.
9. Football isn't the only thing Permian High is known for. The school's orchestra has a strolling string ensemble called Satin Strings which played at the 50th anniversary D-Day celebration in Normandy, and has also played for the inaugurations of presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush (who himself grew up in Midland, right next door to Odessa).
Source: Flickr user William Murphy
10. If you aren’t happy with the forecast, then a Texas law states that if you want to “modify” the weather you required to place a notification in the local newspaper first. No really, this is a real law that is on the books.
11. Texas has, at one time or another, flown the flag of six separate nations: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America and the good ol' U.S. of A. Source: Flickr user Ray Bodden
12. The original Six Flags amusement park, which opened in Arlington in 1961, was named Six Flags Over Texas after this historical fun fact. (And you thought these weren't useful!)
13. The first-ever frozen margarita machine was invented by a Dallas restaurateur who took his inspiration from the Slurpees at his local 7-11. You can still get a margarita at Mariano's Hacienda Ranch, but the original machine now sits idle, on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
14. The Texas state small mammal is the nine-banded armadillo, which cannot roll itself into a ball but can float across rivers by inflating its intestines. I guess maybe it fills up on frijoles first?
15. Texas also has a state large mammal, the Texas Longhorn. They sure weren't kidding when they named this critter, as its horns can extend up to seven feet tip-to-tip.
Source: Wikimedia user Ed Schipul
16. Texas even has a state flying mammal, the Mexican free-tailed bat. This bat is well-known to rum drinkers, since it's the species pictured on the Bacardi label.
17. Texas has not one, but two official state peppers: the main pepper is the jalapeno, but the chiltepin gets some love, too, as the official state native pepper.
18. There were feral camels in Texas. The last sighting in North America was in 1941 near Douglas. It was most likely a descendant of the ones used in the short-lived U.S. Army Camel Corps. Wait, we had a Camel Corps. and we canceled
it? I blame budget cuts.
Source: Flickr user Tracy
20. An Athens man was one of the first to claim invention of the hamburger. He's said to have created them at his lunch counter in the 1880s, and then sold them at a stand at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.
21. Fritos were invented in the 1930s in San Antonio, and are today produced by the Plano-based Frito-Lay Company. They're an essential ingredient in that Texas convenience store staple, Frito pie.
22. Lamesa claims to be the birthplace of chicken fried steak, and hosts an annual Chicken Fried Steak Cook-off each April. It turns out that Lamesa’s claim has no basis in reality (although the dish itself has undoubted Texas origins), but Governor Rick Perry nevertheless declared the city to be the official home of chicken-fried steak.
23. Dr Pepper was invented by a Waco druggist in 1885. No wonder it's so damn addictive.
Source: Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute via Facebook
24. The 825,000 acre King Ranch in South Texas is larger than the state of Rhode Island, and has about 50,000 head of cattle and over 2,000 miles of fencing.
Source: Flickr user Ty
25. The Edna Ferber novel “Giant, which was turned into a James Dean movie, was based in large part on events occurring at the King Ranch. King Ranch casserole, however, has nothing to do with the ranch, as is evident by its total lack of beef.
26. The Spraberry/Wolfcamp Shale in West Texas' Permian Basin has the second-largest oil reserve in the world. Permian Basin oil field production topped the million barrel per day mark in 2011, and, together with the South Texas Eagle Ford Shale deposits, has the U.S. well on track to being free of any dependence on foreign oil within the next five years. Take that...umm...the rest of the world.
Source: Rob Jackson via Facebook
27. But here’s the downside… Texas' carbon dioxide emissions are higher than any other state, and higher than all but six countries in the world. Much of this is due to emissions produced during petroleum refining and chemical manufacturing.
28. Texas has a total of 130,500 acres of farmland (crop farming, as opposed to ranching), more farmland than any other state.
29. Texas, however, is also losing what remains of its open land at a rapid rate—1,572 square miles of farmland, prairies and woodlands have been eliminated over the past 10 years. This is more than twice the amount of lost land as the next-biggest offender: Florida.
30. The Tyler Rose Garden is, at 14 acres, the largest one in the nation. Tyler also comes up smelling like a rose each October, when it hosts the annual Texas Rose Festival.
Source: Flickr user Robert Nunnally
31. Caddo Lake, which lies along the Texas/Louisiana border, is the second-largest natural lake in the South and the only one of any significant size in the state of Texas.
32. Sam Houston may have been born in Virginia and served as governor of Tennessee before heading west to Texas, but he refused to side with the Confederacy when Texas seceded at the outbreak of the Civil War. He was forced to retire as governor, and died shortly thereafter.
Source: Flickr user ricketyus
33. Loving County had a population of just 82 residents as of the 2010 census, making it the nation's least-populous county. Apparently people are loving to live there.
34. Luckenbach has a population of only three full-time residents, but it draws a large number of tourists nearly every weekend due to the music festivals it puts on, as well as the fame it's earned as the subject of a Waylon Jennings/Willie Nelson song.
35. One of the oldest human skeletons found in the Americas is that of “Midland Man,” who is actually a woman. These remains, which are at least 9,500 years old (some estimates put the age at a lot older), were uncovered by a pipeline welder while working on a ranch in Midland in 1953.
36. An archaeological site beside Buttermilk Creek outside Salado has yielded human artifacts which may be up to 15,500 years old.
37. Seven Texas cities have all had their turn at being the state's capital: Washington-on-the Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston, Velasco, West Columbia, Houston and Austin.
38. Houston's Astrodome, completed in 1965, was the very first domed multi purpose sports stadium on the planet. It has been named as an “Eighth Wonder of the World,” an honor it shares with such marvels as the Taj Mahal, the Empire State Building, and Andre the Giant.
39. Terlingua is the world's chili capital, home to not one but two of the biggest cook-offs: the Terlingua International Chili Championship and the Frank X. Tolbert-Wick Fowler World Chili Championship.
40. Although nachos were actually invented in Mexico, in a town right across the border from Eagle Pass, the ballpark version with the gloppy orange goo was first served at Arlington Stadium. Yum.
Source: Flickr user Navin75
41. Jason Aldean's hit song “Take A Little Ride” was originally released with lyrics referencing Texas beer Shiner Bock, but he was forced to re-record it with the beer name changed to “Rocky Tops” due to an endorsement deal he'd signed with Coors. Dramz.
42. Bugs' Bunny's catchphrase “What's up, Doc?” originated in the 1920s at North Dallas High School, alma mater of Looney Tunes animator Tex Avery.
43. The grassy knoll on the northwest side of Dealey Plaza has become legendary among conspiracy theory buffs as the purported site of a second shooter involved in the JFK assassination. Shooter No. 1, Lee Harvey Oswald, was holed up in the equally-infamous Texas School Book Depository, from which he (maybe?) fired the shot that killed President Kennedy.
44. Yet another Texas true crime story unfolded three years later at the University of Texas in Austin, where an ex-Marine climbed up inside the Tower and opened fire. He killed 14 people and wounded 32 more, making it the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history prior to the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
45. While the words "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed" may not have been, in reality, the first ones spoken on the moon (turns out it was actually something like “shutdown”), they are still the ones everyone remembers, as well as being a shout-out to the Texas-based Mission Control Center.
Source: NASA via Wikimedia Commons
46. The National Helium Reserve north of Amarillo holds over a billion cubic meters of helium. It was originally established to supply gas for airships, but what do they need it for now? Emergency party balloons and Donald Duck impressions?
47. A hurricane that struck Galveston in 1900 was the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Although an exact total of those killed is impossible to ascertain at this late date, estimates range from 6,000 to 12,000. By comparison, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 claimed 1,800 lives.
48. Alvin holds the record for most rain ever to fall in the U.S. during a 24-hour period. It received 43 inches of rain from July 24–25, 1979 due to Tropical Storm Claudette, while several other Texas locations received over 30 inches during this time period as well.
49. On March 27, 1984 Texas showed just what a ridiculous climate it's got. In Amarillo the temperature was a chilly 35 and there was snow on the ground, but in Brownsville the mercury hit a record-breaking 106 degrees.
Know some more interesting facts about Texas? Share them in the comments!