There is every variety of soil, from the fertile lands of the river-bottoms and prairies to the sterile sand of the southern desert. In the S. and SE. the rainfall is ample, in the W. and NW. insufficient. Yet even the Llano Estacado, or Staked Plains, once considered utterly uninhabitable, can supply water for irrigation by the use of artesian wells and windmills. The northern winds are usually dry, the rain comes almost entirely from the south-west, and the winter months are generally the driest. The best water-supply is found in the timber-lands. The climate on the coast-plains is semi-tropical, tempered by the winds from the Gulf. The north experiences cool winters, with heavy snowstorms at times. The air of western Texas is so dry that meats are perfectly preserved in the open air without salt. The ' norther,' a sudden and extreme change of temperature produced by a rush of cold wind from the north, ordinarily lasts for three days, and the fall in temperature is often as much as 30°. The Red and Arkansas rivers convey the waters of the northern part of the state to the Mississippi. The other streams flow directly into the Gulf. The Red and Sabine rivers and the Rio Grande form parts of the boundary line. Within the state the most important rivers are the Trinity, the Brazos, and the Colorado. The coal-measures occupy about 10,000 sq. m., besides extensive beds of brown lignite. There are vast deposits of iron ore, tin and other metals are found, and the supply of lime, gypsum, and salt is inexhaustible. Agriculture and stock-raising are the leading occupations. Rather more than one-half of the entire area is practically uninhabited, but settlements are extending. Texas ranks foremost in cattle-raising, thanks to its pasturage and climate. It is also a leading cotton state - for some years it was the foremost in produce. Wheat and the other grains are extensively cultivated. Sugar and rice yield abundant harvests along the coast, and fruits are produced in the south. Petroleum has also (since 1897) created a prominent industry. Austin, the capital, has a pop. of 24,000, and there are other five cities of over 20,000 (San Antonio, with 55,000; Houston, 45,000; Dallas, 43,000; Galveston, 38,000; Fort Worth, 28,000). A hurricane and high tide in 1900 destroyed 4000 lives and $10,000,000 worth of property at Galveston. Texas formed part of the Spanish province of Mexico, which in 1822 became a republic. In 1835 it declared its independence, and in 1836 Houston was made president. In 1845 Texas, with an area of 375,000 sq. m., was annexed to the United States, this being the prime cause of the Mexican war. The state seceded from the Union in 1861, and reentered it in 1870. Pop. (1870) 818,579; (1880) 1,591,749; (1890) 2,235,523 (492,837 coloured). See Histories by Yoakum (1856), Baker (1873), Theall (1879), and Bancroft (1885).