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Austin, Stephen
Born: November 03, 1793 in Austinville, Virginia, United States
Died: December 27, 1836 in Austin, Texas, United States
Other Names: Austin, Stephen Fuller
Nationality: American
Occupation: Colonizer
Britannica Student Encyclopedia: An A to Z Encyclopedia. Chicago, IL: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2015.
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2015 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.
Full Text: 

Stephen Austin was responsible for settling thousands of American colonists into Texas. At the time, the area was part of Mexico. Austin also played a large role in activities that led up to the Texas war for independence from Mexico. He is often called the father of Texas. Austin, the capital of Texas, was named in his honor.

Stephen Austin is called the father of Texas.
Stephen Austin is called the father of Texas.
The Life of Stephen F. Austin, by Eugene C. Barker; Cokesbury Press, 1925
The capital of Texas is Austin. It was named in honor of Stephen Austin.
The capital of Texas is Austin. It was named in honor of Stephen Austin.
Don Despain— MediaMagnet/SuperStock

Early Life

Stephen Fuller Austin was born on November 3, 1793, in Austinville, Virginia. His family moved to Missouri when he was 5 years old. There his father set up a lead-mining business and a general store. Austin went to Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. Then he returned home to work in his father’s businesses.

Role in Colonizing Texas

Economic troubles brought hard times to many Americans in 1819. Austin’s father lost his wealth. He decided to make a fresh start by bringing American families into a territory of Mexico called Texas. Austin’s father obtained permission from the Mexican government, but he died soon afterward, in 1821. Austin took over his father’s task. During the next ten years he brought more than 5,000 settlers into Texas.

For a while Austin tried to work with the Mexican government to address the needs of the American colonists. By the early 1830s, however, many colonists wanted to make Texas a separate Mexican state with its own government. Austin was unable to convince the Mexican government to allow that. Austin then wrote a letter to Texans telling them not to wait for approval. The letter told them to go ahead with their plans for a separate government. Mexican officials discovered Austin’s letter. He was thrown in prison until 1835.

Role in Texas Independence

In 1835 the Texas colonists began a fight to gain their complete independence from Mexico. Austin went to the United States to get help. In 1836 he returned to Texas. By then Texas had won its independence at the Battle of San Jacinto. Sam Houston defeated Austin for the presidency of the new republic. Houston appointed Austin secretary of state. Austin’s health broke down soon afterward. He died on December 27, 1836, in what is now West Columbia, Texas.

Source Citation   (MLA 8th Edition)
"Austin, Stephen." Britannica Student Encyclopedia: An A to Z Encyclopedia, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2015. Kids InfoBits, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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