- Published: 03 February 2010
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Mary Dennis, age 12, of Richardson,‑Texas, for Her question:
Who named Texas?
Originally, Texas covered another 100,000 square miles. This extra territory was purchased by Congress in 1850 and is now part of the states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming. The Spaniards from Mexico began exploring this vast region early in the 16th century.
At that time the area was sparsely populated with Indians of the Caddo, Karakaws, Wichita, Osage, Comanche, Kiowa, Arapaho, Pawnee, Cheyenne and Crow tribes. Certain of these tribes formed confederacies which they called Texia, meaning allies and friends. The Spaniards borrowed this Indian word to name the territory. To them it was Teas, pronounced Te‑has. We borrowed the Spanish word which the Spaniards had borrowed from the indians an it came out Texas ‑ still meaning, of course, the friendly people.