Institute of Texan Cultures' Texans Series
In the 1600s and 1700s, the English began to colonize the Gulf Coast area. Between 1628 and 1642, 58,000 immigrants came to America from Great Britain, and by the end of the 1700s, 60% of all Americans were of English birth or descent.
Unfortunately, English colonizers were not very successful in Texas. Many of the early English settlers who came to Texas returned to England because they did not like the wild and rough conditions. Those who did stay left their mark. They gave us apple pie and many childhood games such as leap frog, tag, jump rope and pitching horseshoes.
The English in Texas were responsible for helping the arts and literature get started. English actors and musicians brought a bit of culture to the West with traveling theater and musical programs.
English Common Law formed the basis for much of Texas’s legal system and replaced many of the Spanish laws. From William Travis, who began as a lawyer in Austin’s Colony, to Judge Roy Bean, who represented “the law west of the Pecos,” lawyers in Texas adapted English Laws.