On June 23, 1845, a joint resolution of the Congress of Texas voted in favor of annexation by the United States. The leaders of the republic first voted for annexation in 1836, soon after gaining independence from Mexico, but the U.S. Congress was unwilling to admit another state that permitted slavery. Sam Houston, commander of the Texas army during the fight for independence from Mexico and the first president of the Republic of Texas, was a strong advocate of annexation.
In 1845, the political climate proved more favorable to the request for statehood. On December 29, 1845, Texas officially became the twenty-eighth state in the Union although the formal transfer of government did not take place until February 19, 1846. A unique provision in its agreement with the United States permitted Texas to retain title to its public lands. Further, Texas was annexed as a slave state.
Texas is divided into various regions characterized by distinct cultures and climates. East Texas includes the forested area known as the “Big Thicket” and some of the wet, coastal marsh area. The region produces cotton, rice, and sugar cane, and its economy is centered on the Gulf Coast’s petrochemical and shipping industries. The eastern part of Texas continues to be culturally tied to the Deep South. West Texas includes the Davis Mountains, the northern High Plains of the Panhandle, and some of the Hill Country. Cattle and sheep ranching continue to thrive in the legendary land of the cowboy. Near the national border, Mexican culture remains particularly influential.