How Big Is Texas?

The United States of America is an enormous country. It sits as the 3rd or 4th largest country on planet earth, depending on whether ocean territories count, and is only rivaled by Russia, Canada, and China for its size as a single state.

Not only that, but the US has the 3rd largest population as well, making it an all-round huge country.

This large area and population size means that within the US itself, states can be as large as other countries and often function in a way that makes them somewhat independent compared to other countries’ states.

The hardest of these states to properly manage are going to be the ones with the largest populations, the largest area, or both. The ones with both these items are the states that are the most difficult to fathom, just how big they are. For example, Texas.

We all know that Texas is big, but just how big is Texas? Is it just big for a state? Or is it large enough to be its own large country? In this article, we seek to discuss Texas’ size and figure out just how big Texas really is.

Size

Texas is the 2nd biggest state in the union today with the 1st being Alaska, a state which dwarfs most countries let alone other states. However, we are not here to talk about the last frontier today, we are discussing Texas.

The exact area that Texas covers is around 268,587 square miles or 171,902,080 acres, with its length and width being approximately 790 miles and 773 miles, respectively. This is an insane area that makes Texas 1.65 times bigger than California, another very big state.

The lone star state is also twice as large as Japan and Germany, while being 10% bigger than France. In fact, if Texas was its own country, it would be the 40th largest country in the world out of the 195 that currently exist.

This means it would beat out Somalia, Afghanistan, and Myanmar for the 40th spot, being beaten by Zambia and Chile for 39th and 38th, respectively.

Even within the United States, it is easy to see how big Texas is just by where its cities lie. Many of Texas’ most important cities are in fact closer to cities of other states than they are to any other city in Texas.

For example, El Paso in the west of the state is 724 miles from San Diego in California – which is two states away by the way -, but Houston in the east of Texas is at least 747 miles from El Paso.

This works from north to south as well, as Amarillo in the north is only 591 miles from Lincoln in Nebraska – another city that is two states away – but Amarillo is 655 miles away from Corpus Christi in the south of Texas.

The fact that crossing multiple state lines might give you a shorter trip than just driving through one state is awe-inspiring, but if you are still not convinced of Texas’ area size, then I have one more fact to give.

Out of the 50 states in America, 7% of the total area of the United States is taken up by Texas. That’s right, almost 10% of America’s landmass – the 3rd or 4th largest country on earth – is within the borders of the lone star state.

Why Is Texas So large?

Texas is very large, mainly because of its checkered history and the various different empires that owned the state.

Originally, it was settled by the Spanish in 1690 who were concerned about the French presence in the region. In order to counteract this, the Spanish built several missions in East Texas.

These missions were inhabited and abandoned over the years, as Native American resistance to their land being colonized and taken was fierce. It took until the 1800s before tensions were soothed, though they were never quite put to rest.

In 1803, the United States purchased Louisiana from France and wanted Texas as part of the deal, however because it was a colonized part of Spain, this wasn’t really France’s to give.

Eventually, the border was decided to be at the Sabine River in 1819, which is where the eastern border of Texas with Louisiana is today.

Spanish rule in Texas came to an end in 1821 with the Mexican war of Independence, and Texas was incorporated into the Mexican Empire.

This too was short-lived, as the influx of immigrants from America into the sparsely populated region led to an increased sense of an American and, specifically, Texan identity. Eventually, this led to a revolution in 1835 that culminated in the Republic of Texas becoming a country.  

Texas eventually joined the union in 1845, after years of back and forth between the United States and the Republic.

This angered Mexico, which led to the Mexican-American War from 1846 to 1848. In the treaty, Mexico gave up a lot of its northwest territory in exchange for a lot of cash and permanent secession of Texas to the United States.

The last change of Texas’ territory was in 1850 with a governmental compromise. This compromise was designed to keep a balance between free states and slave states, so the country wouldn’t descend into a civil war, though this did little other than delay the conflict.

It decided how the new territories the US acquired would be managed, including Texas.

In this compromise, Texas lost some land in the north and west to New Mexico, Colorado, and Oklahoma, thus giving us Texas’ current day borders, which are still impressive with its reduced size.

Population

The last thing to touch upon in this article is how Texas isn’t just big in its area size, but its population is massive as well.

Texas has a population of 29 million people, making it the second most populous state in the United States, beaten out by California with a population of 39 million people.

This means that if Texas were a country, it would be the 50th most populous country in the world, beating out Venezuela and the Ivory Coast for that position and falling just behind Nepal in 49th place.

What makes this even more incredible is that Texas is still quite sparsely populated, as most of its residents are in the Texas Triangle.

The Texas Triangle is an area that includes Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin in the east of the state, wherein 20 million of the 29 million people in Texas live.

This area contains nearly 75% of the state’s population in an area of 60,000 square miles, just 22% of the entire state’s area.

The state is so vast that even with the second-biggest population of a state in the country, it is still mostly empty, and thousands of miles of land is just open prairie and windswept plains, with cities and towns dotted here and there.

The Texas Triangle is about the size of Georgia as well, and it still barely makes a dent in the state that was once its own country.

Final Thoughts

Texas is massive. There is no denying that. In terms of area and population, it is larger than most countries in either category, and we could get into other statistics to show how insanely large Texas is, like economics or farming.

Yet, I don’t feel we need to, because everyone already knew that Texas was big and the only thing that was left unknown was just how big Texas was and the answer to that was it is almost too big to believe that it is a state and not its own nation.

In the US, it is only beaten in size by Alaska and considering that Alaska would be one of the top 20 biggest countries if it was a country, that says a lot about Texas.

Robert Miller
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