The East Texas Origin of the Friendly Word Texas


"Lasting Peace" statue, Fredericksburg, Texas

Few may know that the day after Thanksgiving is Native American Heritage Day. Better known, perhaps, is the fact that the word "texas" itself actually came from American Indians living in what is now the Upper East Side of Texas.

The word "texas" -- obviously borrowed to name first the Republic of Texas and then the State of Texas -- had gone through some changes before taking on its final form. It has been spelled and perhaps pronounced in different ways: tejas, tayshas, texias, thecas, techan, teysas, and techas.

The Spanish adopted the word initially. Spain controlled the region from about 1690 to 1821. Mexico borrowed the word, too, and then when the Republic of Texas became reality in 1836, the word was adopted again.

Even though translations varied, the usual meaning was "friends," although some interpreted it "allies." The Hasinais or Caddo Indians used the term as a form of greeting, as in "Hello, friend." 

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