Heritage, Winter 2004 Page: 3
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GENERAL LAND OFFICE TRIVIA
** The Spanish archives section of the Land Office is the depository of records of 4,200
Spanish and Mexican land grants; valid grants of those lands cover 26,280,000 acres within the
present boundaries of Texas.
** Texas is the only public-land state with complete control over its public lands and the proceeds
resulting from the administration and sale of lands. As of 1992 the General Land Office
was the management agency for 20.5 million acres of state lands and mineral-right properties,
including submerged lands out to 10.3 miles in the Gulf of Mexico.
*:* The archival map collection maintained by the General Land Office consists of more than
50,000 maps, sketches, and documents dating from the 1820s.
** To encourage settlement in 1825, the State Colonization Law granted families who
planned to farm and raise stock up to one league of Texas land (4,428.4 acres). Single men were
offered one fourth of a league. Settlers still had to pay a sum to the government, in addition to
obtaining a survey and land title. In the end, they spent about $150 for the over-4,000 acre plot.
:* Mexican citizens could purchase as much as 11 leagues of public land, for a price. A league
of grazing land cost $100 and irrigable farmland sold for $200 a league.
* Those who brought in the new settlers-empresarios-received five leagues for every hundred
families (up to a maximum of 800) they brought in as colonizers.
* In 1844, Texas submitted a treaty of annexation to the United States Congress. Under its
terms, Texas would have given 175 million acres of public land to the U.S. government in
exchange for the assumption of $10 million of Texas debt. Congress rejected the treaty saying the
public domain was not worth that amount of money. So, when Texas was annexed to the U.S. in
1845, the state retained both its debts and its public land, making it the only state besides the
original 13 colonies, to enter the Union with control over its public land.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Winter 2004, periodical, Winter 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45372/m1/3/: accessed November 12, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.