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Who were the Texians?

Today we may know them simply as Texans, but deciding what to call the people living in Texas in the pre-Texas Revolution era was a matter of some confusion. According to an issue of the Telegraph and Texas Register published on November 7, 1835, various people used the terms Texans, Texonians, Texasians and Texicans, but: “We believe that, both by the Mexican and American residents of the country, the name commonly used is Texians.” Texas residents of Mexican descent, many of whom predated their Anglo neighbors, were more accurately known by the Spanish word “Tejano.”

Battle of San Jacinto

Battle of San Jacinto

“Texian” took on a newly patriotic meaning during the war for independence from Mexico, which erupted in late 1835. Though Tejanos and volunteers from the United States and other countries fought alongside the white settlers of Texas against the Mexican troops of General Antonio López de Santa Anna, as a whole they were known as the Texian Army.

After Texas won its independence and became a republic, President Mirabeau Lamar (elected in 1838) made a point of referring to its citizens as Texians, in order to foster a spirit of national pride. The term Texian gradually disappeared from popular use following the annexation and statehood of Texas in 1845, and “Texan” became the name more commonly used for a resident of the new state. Still, those who had lived through the years of revolution and republic continued to call themselves Texians into the 20th century. Even today, some descendants of those early Texas settlers proudly use the term in order to evoke their strong sense of heritage.

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