In 1823, Stephen F. Austin brought 20 families to Texas with the permission of the Mexican government and settled a small community on the Brazos River. About 20,000 immigrants from the United States soon followed, bringing with them 2,000 slaves.
As the immigrant population exceeded that of the permanent residents, differences escalated between the newcomers and the Mexican government, which prohibited slavery. In 1834, Stephen F. Austin requested independence for the newly-settled lands and was jailed in Mexico City.
The American immigrants declared independence prompting Mexican President Santa Anna to lead troops to Texas to quell the rebellion.
Even though the rebels' suffered devastating losses at the Alamo and Goliad, General Sam Houston led a band of ragtag troops to victory over Santa Anna's vast army at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. Texas remained an independent republic for nine years before being admitted to the United States.
The question of slavery divided the state, and the nation, as people of many cultures began to pour into Texas.
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