Does Your Texas IQ Rival That of Sam Houston?


By: Elisabeth Henderson

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Renelibrary

About This Quiz

Texas is the only state in the United States that was once its own country. When it won independence from Mexico in 1836 it declared itself the Republic of Texas. The United States officially recognized the Republic of Texas as a sovereign country, which it remained until 1845, when it joined the United States. 

While you don’t need a passport to enter the state, stepping foot in Texas can often feel like a different country. Texan pride has a distinct tone of patriotism to it — the love for one’s country. Texans have a distinct sense of independence and fierce dedication to what it means to be Texans — even if that has a different meaning depending on whom you ask. 

To some, being Texan means staying true to the independent grit that led Texas to win the land from Mexico in the Texas War for Independence. For others, though, it means an open understanding that the land that we now call Texas was once part of Mexico and still holds that cultural memory. 

However, Texas history is just the beginning of what a Texas-sized Texas IQ must hold. Texan landscapes hold a country’s worth of landforms, and Texan culture requires a lifetime to master. How much mastery do you have of the Lone Star State?  Take this quiz to find out how big of a hat you need to fit your IQ into! 

What role did Jim Bowie play in the Battle of the Alamo?

Jim Bowie stands out in American folklore as a rugged frontiersman and pioneer. His legend culminates in his death at the Alamo, where he led the volunteer army until he was bedridden by illness and ultimately died defending the fort.


Who led Texas as president for two terms when Texas was a sovereign country?

If you read the intro to this quiz, you’d know that Sam Houston served as the first president of the Republic of Texas. He also served a second term as the third president of the Republic.


Which law enforcement agency stakes a claim as the nation’s oldest?

The Texas Rangers claim the title of the oldest law enforcement agency in the country. Founded in 1823 by Stephen F. Austin, the Rangers originally helped to protect settlers in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence.


Which of these Texas cities is closest to the world’s largest bat colony?

While people often associate Austin with the Mexican freetail bat colony there, a larger colony actually exists about 20 miles outside San Antonio, in Bracken Cave. With 15 million bats calling it home over the summer, the colony is the largest in the world.


Which of the following is not a native Texas tree?

While crape myrtles dominate suburban Texan landscapes, the tree is not native to Texas, but China and Korea. Some may think that the persimmon is only found in the Midwest, but Texas has its own variety, the Texas persimmon, which has a dark brown, edible fruit.


In which Texas city was the great Texan Sam Houston born?

Sam Houston, the famed first president of the Republic of Texas, was actually not born in Texas, but in Virginia. Houston moved to Texas in 1832, where he led a small army against Mexican forces.


Which of the following names goes hand in hand with Willie Nelson?

Willie Nelson, a Texas country icon, goes hand in hand with all of the above names because they all played together in an epic band called the Highwaymen. The group played music that became known as outlaw country.


Where did the famed southwest landscape artist, Tom Lea, always call his home?

Tom Lea captured the vast and solitary open spaces of the southwest in his landscape paintings. While he traveled the world widely and worked as a correspondent as well as a painter, he always returned to El Paso as his home.


What does the Six Flags amusement park have to do with Texas?

The amusement park Six Flags gets its name from the six flags that have flown over Texas in the course of its history. The United States, the Republic of Texas, France, Mexico, Spain and the Confederacy.


What will you have to expect to do if you want to get Franklin BBQ in Austin?

The famed Franklin BBQ in Austin purportedly has the best smoked brisket to be found anywhere. This reputation creates quite a production for those who want to try it out for themselves. The doors don’t open until 11 a.m., but the line begins forming at 7 a.m., so expect about a four-hour wait.


Which city hosts the State Fair of Texas?

The Texas State Fair takes place annually in Dallas at Fair Park. Since 1886, the fair has delighted Texans and visitors with rides and unique fried items. Only during the First and Second World War has the fair taken a break.


What is it legal to do if you see Bigfoot prowling around Texas?

Some states, like Oregon, have officially banned shooting Bigfoot once he is sighted. In Texas, however, no laws exist that would prevent a hunter from shooting the mysterious creature.


Which of the following observatories study the night sky in Texas?

McDonald Observatory, located in the Davis Mountains in West Texas, monitors planetary and stellar motion, in close contact with the University of Texas at Austin. The observatory sits atop Mt. Locke, which is the highest point accessible by Texas highways.


Which of these women has become known as the mother of Texas?

Jane Long moved to Texas from Mississippi at the beginning of the 19th century. When her husband went off to fight the War of Independence from Spain, she held down the house. Eventually, she moved alone to Brazoria and hosted a boarding house which housed William Barrett Travis and Stephen F. Austin.


What kind of wood is the most Texan kind of wood to smoke BBQ with?

Texas-style BBQ most commonly refers to Central Texas BBQ, and in Central Texas, oak trees dominate the landscape. The ubiquitous trees create a perfect aroma and deep flavor that seeps deep within a brisket.


What kind of deer could you hunt in Texas without being on an exotic animal ranch?

Mule deer are very common in Texas and primarily thrive in the High Plains and the Trans-Pecos regions of West Texas. They live in a wide range of habitats from river bottoms to desert shrubs.


What allergy epidemic happens in the winter months in Central Texas?

In the months of January-March in Central Texas, the allergy epidemic known as cedar fever hits Central Texas. The allergy to the Ashe juniper, also known as cedar, does not cause an actual fever, but incessant sneezing and haziness that feels like one.


What does the phrase “Native Texan” mean?

The phrase “Native Texan,” in Texas, means not only that you were born in Texas but that you will not leave Texas. Texas is in your blood through and through, and there’s nothing that would pull you away.


Who said the famous line, “You may all go to H#$L and I will go to Texas.”

Davy Crockett uttered these famous and perfectly Texan words, not because he was a Native Texan, but because he lost his bid to serve in the US Congress on behalf of Tennessee. Crockett may have been born in Tennessee, but he died at the Alamo, and it doesn’t get more Texan than that.


What does “Texas” mean in Norwegian slang?

Texas Monthly reported finding out over the depths of the internet that, in Norwegian slang, Texas means “crazy” or “wild.” In context, they might describe reckless drivers as being “totally Texas.”


What is the historical connection between the term “maverick” and Texas?

Sam Maverick lived in San Antonio in the 19th century. The Mavericks had cattle, but they roamed unbranded, so whenever cowboys found an unbranded cow, they would call it a Maverick. Now the term has come to mean someone who breaks rules.


Why does cooking a brisket properly take up to 20 hours?

Brisket smoking takes a notoriously long time to do. The collagen in this tough meat breaks down at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and the meat will be more tender if this happens slowly.


What kind of rabbit are you most likely to encounter in Texas?

Rabbits are not as common in Texas as in other parts of the country, where they persistently nibble lettuce in one’s garden. The black-tailed jackrabbit, though, is native to Texas, where it prefers deserts and grasslands.


Where can you find Texas wild rice in the wild?

Texas wild rice is native to the state and only grows in the San Marcos River in Central Texas. The species is endangered due to loss of habitat and federally listed as endangered, though there are ardent efforts to preserve it.


What kind of sheep are native to Texas?

Bighorn sheep were native to Texas, but they died out by 1960. Recently, efforts have been made to reintroduce this species to select areas in West Texas. Now a herd of over 1,500 ranges the land.


Which song is representative of the unique sound of Texas Country music?

Born in Houston, Robert Earl Keen’s twangy, string-heavy country music has a distinctive Texas flavor. “The Road Goes on Forever” is one of Keen’s most popular songs. The artist wrote a memoir with the same title, which tells stories behind some of his songs.


Which of these '60s artists can claim Texas as their birthplace?

Janis Joplin doesn’t seem at first to be the quintessential Texas singer, but she was born and raised in Port Arthur, Texas, and played a circuit of clubs in Austin before moving out west to San Francisco.


Who were the Buffalo Soldiers in the period after the Civil War?

The term Buffalo Soldiers refers to six regiments of black troops who were added to the US Army in 1866, after the end of the Civil War. Native Americans gave them the name as a form of honor, connecting them with the revered buffalo.


While she’s not a native Texan, Georgia O’Keefe had strong Texas connections. Which of the following is one of these connections?

While she was born in Wisconsin and died in Santa Fe, Georgia O’Keefe was heavily influenced by Texas landscapes. She spent a period of her life teaching in Canyon and composed at least 50 paintings there.


What distinguishes the1900 Galveston Hurricane?

The 1900 Galveston Hurricane claims the notorious title of the most deadly natural disaster in United States history. When the Category 4 hurricane struck, it killed over 8,000 people and caused immense property damage.


What is the landscape like around the highest peak in Texas?

Guadalupe Peak, at 8751 ft, is the highest point in Texas, nestled in the Guadalupe Mountains. The landscape around the peak changes drastically with each curve of the trail, shifting quickly from desert to maple groves to pine forests.


Lady Bird Johnson was more than President Lyndon B. Johnson’s first lady. What is one of her major accomplishments?

Lady Bird Johnson expanded the role of first lady while her husband was in office. She pioneered the Highway Beautification Act, creating a system to enhance the beauty of America’s roadways, removing trash and adding scenic beauty, like wildflowers, to the road system.


What landform makes Monahans, Texas a destination for naturalists?

Monahans Sandhills State Park, on the outskirts of Monahans, Texas, stands out as an ocean of sand rolling in tan dunes. Nature lovers flock to the site to play in the sand, sliding down on disks, riding horseback or simply having a picnic and staring out at the open space.


If you had to guess what the official sport of Texas was, what would you wager?

The 75th Texas Legislature officially declared rodeo to be the official sport of Texas in 1997. George H. W. Bush signed the resolution into law. Rodeo traditions hearken back to the cowboy pastime that shaped the state and continues in the present.


What style of music was Selena the queen of?

Selena popularized Tejano music in the United States, crossing the boundaries between Tejano and pop and bringing the traditional style of music to a new generation. She was murdered at the top of her career.


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