Texas was granted entry into the United States of America in 1845 but its history is much older. Thanks to its historic ties to France, Spain, and Mexico, it’s developed a unique culture that’s distinct from the rest of the United States.
Many cultural exports have spread around the world, helping to make Texas one of the most famous states in the country, helping it to become the sixth most visited state among foreign visitors, behind only Hawaii, California, Nevada, New York, and Florida.
Here are some of the best of these cultural exports.
Playing cards themselves are around 1,000 years old, and many popular card games like blackjack are hundreds of years old. Texas hold’em, on the other hand, is only around 100 years old, having been invented in Robstown, Texas in the early 1900s. Despite its relative youth, it’s become the most popular version of poker in the United States and many countries around the world.
Texas Hold’em spread first to the Nevada Desert, where Las Vegas casinos began letting players take part in poker games that used these rules. Hollywood movies and TV shows helped to popularise the game, then it enjoyed explosive growth in the early 2000s when the poker boom attracted many new players to take part in games online.
Today, Texas Hold’em has become the most popular version of poker and you can play it in almost any casino in the world, as well as on hundreds of websites around the world.
Although cowboys aren’t exclusive to Texas, the state helped popularise them. It’s also the place where you’re still most likely to see a working cowboy in action. Many regard Texas as the cowboy capital of the world thanks to its vast open spaces that house a thriving cattle farming industry and plenty of ranches.
Thanks to this cowboy culture, you won’t have to go far to find people wearing cowboy hats and boots, though not necessarily for everyday dress. Bolo ties, on the other hand, are much more common and are enshrined in law as the official tie of the state.
The famous line “Houston, we have a problem” made famous in the film Apollo 13 is evidence of one of Texas’ biggest exports. Between 1961 and 1968, mission control for the Apollo missions was based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
It was also used to house the astronauts while they were placed in quarantine after they returned to Earth. This Lunar Receiving Laboratory is still home to many of the lunar samples that were brought back from the Moon.
Today, guests can visit the Apollo Mission Control Center after it was opened to the public in 2019.
Nachos are about as ubiquitous as burgers and fries. Although they originated in Texas, you’ll find them on the menu in just about every country in the world, thanks to their simplicity to make and the fact that they can be shared among friends.
Nachos are also a great way for people to be creative with their food. You’ll find them made with a whole host of different ingredients, from classics like cheese, beef, and salsa, to unique options like oysters, caviar, hummus, and tofu.
A plate of nachos is like a blank canvas for food artists to express themselves by creating a fusion of different flavors.
Sticking with food, Texas BBQ is another of the state’s best exports. It’s linked to the traditional cuisines of Germany and Czechia, whose citizens settled in the state and brought their culinary preferences with them.
Although there are regional variations across the state, there are several basic principles that remain the same. Meat is flavored with salt, pepper, and other spices and marinades, before being cooked in a way that maximizes the flavor and keeps it tender and moist.
Perhaps the most famous is East Texas-style, where meat is marinated in sweet sauces and cooked slowly over hickory wood, creating a distinct flavor and delicate texture.