Thursday, 17 July 2008


Tayxus or Tayuxus, for various reasons, is the most interesting of the states I have visited, qua state. Which itself is curious, for it has few of the amenities of most of the other states. But there is a very conscious pride among the inhabitants (wwhich I have not seen elsewhere, though I have heard of it being so in Hawaii) of simply being Texans as well as Americans. Texas, until the discovery of the vast oil reserves, really had very little going for it at all except land on which, with a great deal of effort, you could raise those strange longhorn cattle. It was for many years simply a part of Mexico, as was California, New Mexico, and possibly more. And, until 1821, Mexico was ruled from Spain. There were a couple of brief periods when the French had their eye on the place and tried in the late 17th and early 18th Century to start colonies from Louisiana, sent by its governor, Cadillac, who gave his name by some mysterious process to the car. From 1821, Texas was part of the Republic of Mexico, but was being increasingly settled by Anglo Americans, by negotiation. It was also used as a place of exile: In Virginia, there were three punishments for high crimes, in this order; death, exile to Texas and imprisonment. Eventually, the Anglo-Americans reached a critical mass and revolted against Mexico, who sent the efficient General Santa Anna against them, on the whole unsuccessfully, except at the Alamo. The reason for the revolt is generally given as the desire for American liberties against oppression and so forth; however, the oppressive activities were actually the rather reasonable charging of taxes and the forbidding of slavery, for Mexico had abolished slavery in 1829 and expected the Anglo-Americans to act accordingly and free their slaves too. Briefly Texas was independent, and recognized as so by several foreign powers, including Britain. Then, under President (then to become Governor) Houston, it entered the US by treaty, the only state to do so except, I think, Hawaii. As you might expect from all the slavery stuff, the Texans sided with the Confederates in the Civil War, though they had no major battles fought on their own soil. They did suffer in the aftermath, however. As a consequence of all this complicated history, the Texans are proud to fly six flags in the state; the Spanish, the (pre-revolutionary) Fleur-de-Lys of France, the Mexican, the Confederate, their own Lone Star, and the Stars and Stripes. In fact, they are proud of the fact that because they entered the US by treaty, they may fly the Texan flag on the same level as the Stars and Stripes.

And, on another subject, tonight I fly back to the UK, so I’m not sure when I’ll be posting again. Perhaps I’ll have a chance in the airport.


William said...

Thank you for your illuminating and often entertaining posts over the last fortnight – I have found them a welcome distraction from the otherwise all-consuming Anglican angst and anomie.

Lunch some time?

gemoftheocean said...

"Then, under President (then to become Governor) Houston, it entered the US by treaty, the only state to do so except, I think, Hawaii."

Well, close, but you'll have to forego the cigar. Under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgothe entire states of what is now California, Untah, and Hevada, plus most of Arizona, and portions of Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico were given by Treaty with Mexico to the US. This was in 1848 at the end of 1848. Thank God, too, because if it hadn't those areas would be the same 3rd world hell hole Mexico is today.

Then in 1853 the Gadsen Purchase bought the lower portion of Arizona and the SW corner of New Mexico.

Th Hidalgo treaty made darn sure to cut the boundary of California such that the natural Harbor of San Diego was included (with a league to spare) within the borders of the US. You can see the border marker here.

Presently on the North Side of the fence is the Border State park, a wildlife preserve, and on the south side a TJ bullring. Aerial photo here.

Pretty, but stay out of the water! Mexico doesn't care what it dumps in there so it's awfully polluted.

"In fact, they are proud of the fact that because they entered the US by treaty, they may fly the Texan flag on the same level as the Stars and Stripes".

Actually ALL state flags (and flags of other societies) may fly on the same level as the US flag. They may not fly above it, or be larger than it, however. In a line of such flags the US flag should be placed to its own right on the furthest most right flagpole. There is one small exception when something may fly higher than the US flag and that is when on board a Navy vessel, if a navy chaplain is conducting services while at sea a church pennant may be flown above. See here for flag etiquette. Other than the detail about the Navy pennant we learned the flag etiquette in the scouts. God knows the schools don't teach flag etiquette today, to judge by all the liberal dip"sticks" who think they are being patriotic by wearing a flag bandanna on their pointy heads. They may as well hang a sign around their necks saying "stupid but well meaning liberal dip"stick"".

gemoftheocean said...

Ha-ha--gotta stop posting when my contacts aren't in. UTAH, and Nevada. Although, come to think of it given how hard it can be to find a drink in Utah, perhaps UN-tah is a better name.