Texas is home to the Texas Rangers, has the country's largest oil supply, and is the land where bigger is always better. With a rich, diverse, and sometimes funky history, Texas has many things that set it apart from the rest of the states in the U.S. Let's take a closer look at nine things you never knew about Texas.
Texas Is Bigger Than Any Country in Western Europe
Texas has a total land area of 268,597 square miles. That makes it twice the size of Germany and larger than any single country in Western Europe. In the U.S., it ranks as the second-largest state in terms of total land area, just behind Alaska. Also, it's the second-largest state in regard to population, with California coming in first. Texas also has some of the most populated cities in the country. Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas make the list of the top 10 most populated cities in the U.S.
Six Flags Fly Over the State of Texas
Texas is the only state in the United States to fly under six different flags. Each flag represents a country that has ruled over the state. The flags of Mexico, Spain, France, the Confederacy, the Republic of Texas, and the United States of America all fly over Texas.
Fun fact: Six Flags, the amusement park, is actually named after the six flags of Texas.
Dr. Pepper Was Invented in Texas
This sweet and popular soft drink was created by a Texas pharmacist in Waco, Texas, in 1885. That makes it the oldest soda brand in the United States. Supposedly, the fizzy drink was named after the father of one of the inventor's old flames. The soft drink still calls Texas home by headquartering in Plano, Texas.
Texas Has Its Own Power Grid
There are three power grids in the United States. There's one that covers the eastern side of the country, one that covers the west, and one that is devoted solely to the state of Texas. The Texas Interconnect is run by The Electric Reliability Council of Texas. This separate power grid means that if one of the main grids in the U.S. is unable to function, Texas will still be okay. Why is the Texas grid separate from everyone else? According to the Texas Tribune, the state simply wanted to stay away from federal regulators. But if something happens to Texas, they can still pull from other grids.
The Largest Bat Colony Is in Texas
Every year, millions of bats inhabit the Bracken Cave just outside of San Antonio, Texas. Fifteen million pregnant Mexican free-tailed bats make their way to the caves every summer. The pregnant bats stay in the Bracken Cave while the males stay in another cave. During the evening, the bats can be seen leaving the caves at a rate of about 50,000 bats per minute. The Bracken Cave bat colony is the largest colony of bats in the world. It's also one of the largest collections of mammals in one space.
There's a Town Named After DISH
In 2005, the television company DISH made a visit to a little town outside of Fort Worth called Clark. DISH executives had a special deal in mind when they visited the city of 201 residents. In exchange for renaming their town DISH, the company would provide all residents with ten years of free cable service. But if you think DISH is a weird name, you may not have heard of some of the states other cities with crazy names. Texas is home to cities named Cut and Shoot, Ding Dong, and Bug Tussle.
You Can Visit the Eiffel Tower in Texas
Dreaming of a visit to the Eiffel Tower? You don't have to visit France to view the historic structure. In fact, you don't even have to leave the United States. When a replica of the famous tower was built in Paris, Texas, in 1993, it held the title as second tallest Eiffel Tower in the second largest Paris. Since 1993, several taller replicas have been built. But none are topped with a giant red cowboy hat like the one in Texas.
The Texas State Capitol Building Is Taller Than the U.S. Capitol Building
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes the state's capitol building. At 311 feet tall, the capitol building towers nearly 14 feet higher than the U.S. Capitol Building. The capitol building was built in 1888 and constructed from Sunset Red Texas Granite. In addition to being taller than the U.S. Capitol, it also holds the title of being the largest capitol building in the U.S. The building's total size is 360,000 square feet.
The Frozen Margarita Has Roots in Texas
If you prefer to enjoy a nice frozen margarita with your Mexican food, you have a man in Texas to thank for that. As the story goes, Mariano Martinez opened his own restaurant in Dallas, Texas. Martinez served Mexican food and cold drinks, but he found that his customers were frequently complaining that the drinks were not cold enough. After a visit to 7-11 and a look at their Slurpee machines, Martinez discussed his idea for the blended drink with his friend. Just like that, the world had a new iconic drink.