Sometimes it is a good idea if the boss becomes a guide. I really enjoy being with the passengers and guiding. Even when I do have a backup guide, things can just go wrong and I get to step in and guide. And what fun that is.
That is just what happened this past Thursday on a King Ranch Tour. My backup had covid and so I became the guide for the day. What a history we have in the King Ranch and in the formation and settling of the Rio Grande Valley. As I related the history of our area, I was again impressed with how we became the State of Texas.
It had been a while since I had guided the King Ranch tour. All of our tours are laced with history and what history it is.
In reality, six flags have flown over our state. In fact there are some historians who claim that more than six flags have flown over Texas. At first, of course, there were no flags - unless perhaps each Indian tribe had their own banner.
What we now know as Texas was at one time a part of Spain who claimed the area from Texas all the way to California and all of what we now call Mexico. Our name then was New Spain or in Spanish Nuevo Espana.
Like most countries whose seat of government is so far away, the people were not happy to pay taxes to a government located at such a great distance. After some 300 years there was rebellion and a fight for freedom from that control. Finally, independence was won after a war that lasted 10 years. It was during that war that many will say another flag flew over Texas. That War for Independence was started by a Catholic Priest whose troops followed behind a banner carrying the emblem of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Many claim that banner was flag number seven. When that war was won, Texas was now controlled by Mexico.
It is said that history repeats itself and sure enough, we Texans did not like paying taxes to that government - our capitol, Saltillo was just too far away. So, we rebelled, and another war ensued. No doubt you know that story. Finally, Texas becomes an independent state. But even that did not last too long. We needed help in running our state and so we joined the Union.
It is also interesting to learn how and why we are called a Valley. We certainly are not surrounded by mountains so how can we be a Valley? Well, we are not a Valley. We are actually a flood plain with a very slow slope toward the Gulf of Mexico.
When the railroad first came into this area in 1904, land developers took a good, long look at the lush growth of our area and compared it to the Valley of the Nile. Newspaper articles were published always making this comparison that tempted people all over Texas and the rest of the United States to move to this semi tropical area with such rich fertile soil and delightful warm weather. Quickly the comparison of our area to the Valley of the Nile earned us a name. We became the Rio Grande Valley. And the name stuck ... an advertising gimmick to win new settlers is how we became a Valley.
Maybe those land developers weren't so very far off. Our land is fertile and lush. Our weather for the most part is warm and inviting. With our well-engineered irrigation system, we have so far been able to maintain that image of lushness. But most of all the area has become a friendly haven to so many as we live up to our name - TEXAS - taken from an Indian word meaning friendly. What more could we want - a lush, warm, friendly area – The Rio Grande Valley.