True or false: you know a lot about Texas History. Find out the correct answer by taking my 25-question quiz, the first of four parts that will appear over the course of the year. This installment focuses on Texas’ first three centuries, from the era of Spanish exploration through the days of the revolution and the republic, when our sturdiest myths took root. Some questions are easy as pie; others are pure-dee posers. So sharpen your focus and your No. 2 pencil, and lay siege. Each correct answer earns you four points; see the answer page to figure out what your score means.

1. Who was Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca?

a. A Spanish nobleman who fought and died for Texas at the Alamo
b. A notoriously cruel Mexican general who was Santa Anna’s brother-in-law
c. A Catholic priest who founded a mission near Nacogdoches after seeing an image of Jesus in the bark of a pecan tree there
d. A Spanish explorer who landed near Galveston Island in 1528

2. Explorer René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, sailed to Texas in 1685 and claimed it for France. How did he die?

a. He and his crew drowned when his ship the Belle sank on the way home.
b. He was murdered by his own men.
c. He developed blood poisoning from an infected cactus-thorn prick.
d. He was captured and killed by Spanish soldiers.

3. Which Native American tribe was not indigenous to Texas?

a. Tonkawa
b. Apache
c. Karankawa
d. Inuit

4. Sam Houston once lived with the Cherokee. His official tribal name was the Raven. What was his nickname?

a. Talking Bull
b. Head in Clouds
c. Woman Chaser
d. Big Drunk

5. Why did Stephen F. Austin set out to colonize Texas?

a. He was fleeing huge debts amassed in Missouri.
b. The Mexican government promised him the territorial governorship if he would settle three hundred families.
c. It was his dying father’s last request.
d. He was in it for the money; the Mexican government paid him $100 in gold per new arrival.

6. Which of the following men was not at the Battle of the Alamo?

a. Stephen F. Austin
b. William Barret Travis
c. James Bonham
d. James Bowie

7. How outnumbered were the Alamo defenders?

a. 10 to 1
b. 24 to 1
c. 38 to 1
d. 50 to 1

8. During the Battle of the Alamo, Mexico’s military band played the tune “Degüello.” Why?

a. It was the Mexican army’s official fight song.
b. It signaled no mercy for survivors.
c. It was General Santa Anna’s favorite love ballad.
d. It was the only piece the musicians knew.

9. After the fall of the Alamo,terrified settlers fled east to avoid Santa Anna’s advancing army. What was this mass exodus called?

a. Golliwog’s Cakewalk
b. The Trail of Tears
c. The Runaway Scrape
d. The Grass Fight

10. Why do we remember Susanna Dickinson?

a. She was the Florence Nightingale of the Battle of San Jacinto.
b. She was the only Anglo woman at the Alamo.
c. She was a barmaid who served as a spy for Sam Houston.
d. She sewed the first flag of the Republic of Texas.

11. Which of the following statements is false?

a. The Republic of Texas had its own navy.
b. More Alamo defenders were from Tennessee than from any other state.
c. Early Texans, regardless of ethnic background, were known as Tejanos.
d. William Barret Travis and James Bonham knew each other as boys in South Carolina.

12. At the Battle of San Jacinto, Texas soldiers cried, “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!” What happened at Goliad?

a. Mexican soldiers set fire to a Protestant church, killing nine civilians who had taken refuge there.
b. Thirty wounded Texans at a field hospital were summarily shot in a surprise Mexican attack.
c. Three hundred forty-two captured Texas soldiers were executed by order of Santa Anna.
d. Santa Anna abducted two popular residents of the local bordello.

13. Sam Houston held many political offices, including the presidency of the Republic of Texas (twice). Which of the following positions did he never hold?

a. Governor of Tennessee
b. Governor of Texas
c. U.S. senator from Tennessee
d. U.S. senator from Texas

14. Mirabeau B. Lamar was a poet, soldier, and statesman who was Texas’ third president. What does his middle initial stand for?

a. Bartholomew
b. Bubba
c. Buonaparte
d. Benedictine

15. The Mier Expedition, an 1842 raid by Texans across the Rio Grande, resulted in the Mexicans’capture of some 176 men, who were forced to draw lots to determine their punishment. What signified death?

a. A piece of paper bearing a drop of blood
b. A piece of paper marked with an m for muerte
c. A black marble
d. A black bean

a. Victory or Death
b. Live Free or Die
c. Come and Take It
d. Fire at Will

17. Which of the following was better known as Ol’ Betsy?

a. Davy Crockett’s rifle
b. Davy Crockett’s wife
c. Sam Houston’s mother-in-law
d. A cannon used at the Battle of San Jacinto

18. A stovepipe hat is to Abraham Lincoln what a ______ is to Davy Crockett.

a. Cowboy hat
b. Sombrero
c. Coonskin cap
d. Buckskin jacket

19. Thirteen days is to the Battle of the Alamo what _______ is to the Battle of San Jacinto.

a. 18 minutes
b. 18 hours
c. 3 hours
d. 3 days

20. Trigger is to Roy Rogers what _______ is to Sam Houston.

a. Traveler
b. Saracen
c. Eliza
d. Angelina

21. “Friendship” is to “Texas” (originally “Tejas”) what _______ is to “Alamo.”

a. “Pecan”
b. “Chapel”
c. “Cottonwood”
d. “Bummer”

22. The Father of Texas is to Stephen F. Austin what the Mother of Texas is to __________.

a. Adina de Zavala
b. Jane Long
c. Susanna Dickinson
d. Laura Bush

23. According to an early saying, “Texas is a heaven for men and dogs but a hell for women and _______.”

a. Children
b. Chickens
c. Christians
d. Oxen

24. What happened on December 29, 1845?

a. Sam Houston died at his Huntsville home.
b. Not one but two Texas statesmen, Thomas J. Rusk and Anson Jones, committed suicide.
c. Texas became the twenty-eighth state in the Union.
d. The capital of Texas was moved from Houston to Austin.

25. What nineteenth-century group used the phrase “G.T.T.,” and what did it mean?

a. Settlers moving west; “Gone to Texas”
b. The U.S. Congress, before Texas’statehood was confirmed; “Governmental Territory of Texas”
c. Temperance agitators; “God Tamed Texas”
d. Veterans of the Texas Revolution; “Gorier Than Thermopylae”


1, d. 2, b. 3, d. 4, d. 5, c. 6, a. 7, a. 8, b. 9, c. 10, b. 11, c. 12, c. 13, c. 14, c. 15, d. 16, c. 17, a. 18, c. 19, a. 20, b. 21, c. 22, b. 23, d. 24, c. 25, a.

Lore Score

88-100: Native Texan or Long-term resident (LTR): A mitochondrial Texan, you deserve a Ph.T. Transplant: You are the reincarnation of Stephen F. Austin—or else you cheated, bigtime.

72-84: Native or LTR: You didn’t ace seventh-grade Texas history, but your heart (like most of your answers) is in the right place. Transplant: Quit searching; you have found your spiritual home.

52-68: Native or LTR: Your grasp of Texana is strictly hit-or-myth. You prefer your legends unfettered by pesky facts. Transplant: You remember the Alamo but not much else.

0-48: Native or LTR: Does not apply. Transplant: Welcome to Texas!