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Handbook of Texas Online

The Great Texas Quiz, Part II

We had a record response to our online quiz number seven, the “Great Texas Quiz,” including participation from an increasing number of school groups. Congratulations to Shelli Spruiell's fourth-grade class at Marble Falls Elementary School and Mary Lou Ludwig's seventh-grade class at Wunderlich Intermediate School in Klein. Both classes answered all ten questions correctly, and they have each received a $50 gift certificate from the TSHA. If you did not get a chance to participate, the complete quiz collection may be found in our online archive.

We decided to pursue the “Great State” topic again, looking at additional dimensions of Texas “greatness,” including great people and places. As in the past, this is an open-book quiz, designed both to challenge and educate, but also to encourage innovative use of the Handbook of Texas Online, which has received over 40 million page views since it was launched. If you prefer, you may consult the printed New Handbook of Texas or Portable Handbook of Texas .

Our classroom and adult participants are learning that the “word search” power of the online Handbook is a great starting point for researching historical or other Texas topics of interest. If you are doing research on the Cherokee Indians, for example, you will find that there are 506 references to the “Cherokee” among our 23,000 Handbook entries.

We hope you have a "great" time doing our eighth Texas history quiz--good luck to all who give it a try!

The Questions

Question 1:

Great Texas Explorers. The first known explorers of Texas were actually the Clovis people of the Paleo-Indian Stage. They were followed many years later by the early European explorers, including five listed below. One of these explorers was shipwrecked on Galveston Island in 1528. He traveled inland and encountered three of his lost shipmates near what is thought to be the Guadalupe River. They traveled onward through present-day Mexico to the Pacific. His Relación was composed shortly after the journey ended in 1536, nearly 500 years ago, and effectively became the first literature of Texas. The surname of this prominent explorer literally means “the head of a cow.” Which explorer is it?

Alonso Álvarez de Pineda
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
Francisco Vázquez de Coronado
René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle
Alonso De León

Question 2:

Great Texas Missions. The Spanish explorations led to the founding of a series of missions which were an important part of the early settlement of Texas. Texas has focused recently on restoring many of the great missions, including the Alamo, otherwise known as the San Antonio de Valero mission. The following missions have also been restored. Which of these are located in the San Antonio area?

San José y San Miguel de Aguayo
Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción
San Juan Capistrano
San Francisco de la Espada
All of the above

Question 3:

Great Texas Empresarios. Stephen F. Austin is certainly the best-known of the Texas empresarios, but he was by no means the only one. The word “empresario” in Spanish means “agent” or “entrepreneur.” Under the Mexican Colonization Law of 1823, the empresarios generally received a set amount of acreage in return for settling an agreed number of families. Their role in Texas history is measured not just by the number of families that they attracted to the state, but also by the quality of leadership they provided.

The following five empresarios were active in the settlement of Texas. One of the five served initially as a translator and clerk to Stephen F. Austin. For the next thirteen years he was Austin's lieutenant, writing deeds, keeping records, and directing colonial activities during Austin’s absences. For his various services he received eleven leagues (49,000 acres) of land, including lands on Oyster Creek and Buffalo Bayou. He was active in raising significant capital for the Texas revolution in 1835 and 1836. Which empresario is it?

Green DeWitt
Samuel May Williams
Martín De León
Haden Edwards
Sterling C. Robertson

Question 4:

Great Texas Counties. The origin of the Texas county is found in the municipality, the unit of local government under Spanish and Mexican rule. Municipalities were rather large districts embracing one or more settlements and the surrounding rural territory. There were twenty-three of them by 1836, when Texas won her independence from Mexico. Texas has had 254 counties since the organization of Loving County in 1931. The largest county in square miles is located in the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas, and is also the site of Big Bend National Park. Which county is it?

Pecos County
Harris County
Brewster County
Presidio County
Rockwall County

Question 5:

Great Texas Lakes. The largest lakes in Texas do not rival Lake Michigan or the other Great Lakes of the north, which were generally formed as an aftermath of the last Ice Age. This did not deter some Texans, however, who for a combination of economic, flood control, and water supply reasons set out to build new lakes and reservoirs. In fact, the largest lake or reservoir in Texas is man-made. Construction began in 1964 and was completed in 1969. It is located on the Sabine River and covers about 180,000 acres. Which body of water is it?

Lake Travis
Lake Livingston
Lake Texoma
Amistad Reservoir
Toledo Bend Reservoir

Question 6:

Great Texas Forests. Texas is blessed with approximately 22 million acres of forest. In addition to oil and gas, the forests have been one of the state’s greatest natural resources, providing lumber for its growth and a thriving timber industry. By classification, there are five principal forest and woodland regions in the state, which are listed below. There are four national forests and five state forests in Texas. All of these are located in one of the regions below. Which region is it?

Post Oak
Cross Timbers
Cedar Brakes
Scattered Coastal Forests

Question 7:

Great Texas Railroads. Railroads played a major role in the history of Texas, particularly influencing its economic and industrial development, as well as the geography of its growing population. As late as 1850, the settled area of the state was largely confined to the river bottoms of East and South Texas, tied to the portions of those rivers that were navigable. Roads were poor and difficult, especially in wet weather. The railroads changed all of that, beginning in 1853. By 1879, Texas had 2,440 miles of completed track, and that increased by another 6,000 miles during the 1880s. By 1911, Texas became the state with the most railroad mileage, a position it still maintains.

The first successful railroad in Texas was organized by Gen. Sidney Sherman, one of the heroes of the battle of San Jacinto, with financial support from William Marsh Rice and other investors. It opened on September 7, 1853, running from Harrisburg (now a part of Houston) west to Stafford's Point. Which railroad is it?

Galveston and Red River Railroad
Texas and New Orleans Railroad
Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway
Washington County Rail Road
Houston and Great Northern Railroad

Question 8:

Great Texas Parks and Preserves. In addition to the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, Texas has two national parks and several other sites administered by the National Park Service, including those listed below. One of these, the first national park or preserve in Texas, includes more than 1,250 square miles of land and is thus slightly larger than Rhode Island. The Rio Grande flows for 107 miles along its southern boundary. It opened to the public in 1944. Which park or preserve is it?

Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Big Bend National Park
Big Thicket National Preserve
Padre Island National Seashore
Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River

Question 9:

Great Texas Olympians. Texas has been well represented in the Olympic games, with Texans winning gold medals in virtually every summer Olympic sport. Listed below are five gold medal winners from Texas, all of whom are women. One of them, a native of Port Arthur, captured two gold medals and one silver at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932 while setting a world record in the hurdles. She is certainly one of the best all-around female athletes in history, excelling in eight track and field events, baseball, basketball, and billiards. She tried golf for the first time in 1933 and soon qualified for the Los Angeles Open, a men’s PGA event. She went on to win 17 consecutive women’s tournaments and helped found the Ladies Professional Golf Association. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1953, but came back to win five tournaments in 1954. She died in 1956, at the age of 45, but not before financing a tumor clinic for the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Which great Texas Olympian is it?

Louise Ritter
Mary Lou Retton
Zina Garrison
Mildred Ella Didrikson (Babe) Zaharias
Jill Sterkel

Question 10:

Great Texas Sculptors. Texas has been blessed with great artists of all types, including great sculptors. A search of the online Handbook using the word “sculptor” provides 110 entries. The following are five of the best known. One of the first professional sculptors in Texas was born in 1833 and trained in Europe. She moved to Texas with her husband in 1872, where they bought Liendo Plantation. She also built a studio in Austin. Among her many revered works, she sculpted statues of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston, now in the state Capitol. Copies of the two statues are also in the United States Capitol. Which sculptor is it?

Allie Victoria Tennant
Gutzon Borglum
Bonnie MacLeary
Elisabet Ney
Pompeo Coppini