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Big Bend National Park contains more than 800,000 acres of land in southwest Texas. But the park was named 'Big' because of the great southward swing of the Rio Grand that encompasses the Big Bend area on three sides.  
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Texas was discovered and claimed by Spain in 1519. Since then, five other nations have ruled the state: France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States, and the United States.  
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The real name of the Alamo is San Antonio de Valero. Many claim the fortress was nicknamed for the cottonwood trees in surrounding areas. (Alamo is Spanish word for 'cottonwood.')  
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The Lone Star State boasts more than 600 miles of beaches. Colorful sails dot the Gulf Coast as windsurfers share the waters with deep-sea fishermen, boaters, and other coastal enthusiasts.  
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Texas contains more than 4,959 square miles of freshwater, including Caddo Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the state, and 11,247 rivers and streams.  
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The largest bat colony in the world resides in San Antonio's Bracken. Texas has 33 of the 43 known bat species in the U.S.  
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Spanish settlers first introduced ranching to Texas in the 1700s, including the practices of roundup and branding.  
 
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