Madam Speaker, on this day 212 years ago, the Father of Texas, Stephen F. Austin, was born. Austin, only 27 years of age, organized, financed, and led the first legal colony of Americans to settle a portion of Mexico called Tejas, or Texas as we call it.

In 1822, 300 families entered Texas, this fantastic frontier on the plains of civilization. Although the settlers were loyal to Mexico, a new Mexican Government soon began abolishing the civil rights of the colonists, so Austin went to Mexico to voice concerns over the abuses, but he was imprisoned for over 2 years.

After finally being released, Austin and other Texans decided to go their own way. Texas declared independence from Mexico. Thousands of well-trained Mexican troops poured into Texas to stop the rebellion. The outnumbered Texas volunteers and settlers fought and died at the brutal battles of Goliad and the Alamo, but ultimate victory occurred at the battle of San Jacinto in 1836. Austin and others, like Crockett, Travis, Bowie, and Houston, finally won the day for freedom. Texas was free, a new nation, a new republic. The rest, they say, is Texas history.