a large south-western US state, also called the Lone Star State because it was once an independent republic. It has the second largest population of all US states. Its biggest cities are Houston, San Antonio and Dallas, and the capital city is Austin. Texas became independent of Mexico in 1836 and a US state in 1845. It was also one of the Confederate States. It has been well known for its cowboys and now produces a lot of oil and gas as well as beef and many agricultural products. Tourists visit the Alamo, Big Bend National Park and the Lyndon B Johnson Space Center.