If you’re a native Texan, you may have never paid attention to those ubiquitous “Drive Friendly—The Texas Way” signs. However, if you’re a transplant like me, when you first encountered one, the sign may have struck you as unusual and, well, friendly! There is a story behind that slogan that goes deep into the heart of Texas.
The Origin of the Name “Texas”
“Texas” is derived from the word “tejas,” which was once widely used by the indigenous inhabitants of what is now east Texas. According to Phillip L. Fry and the Texas State Historical Association, the most common meaning of the word “tejas” was “friends.” In fact in John Wesley Arnn III’s book Land of the Tejas: Native American Identity and Interaction in Texas, he writes:
Many Texans today recognize the term “tejas” as a Caddoan word for friend. But as early as 1691, a Spanish friar named Fray Francisco Casañas de Jesús María, living among the Asinai Caddo, recorded that the word “tejas” referred to an “ancient” alliance that integrated dozens of diverse groups across the region through political, economic, and social ties.
When the Spanish arrived, they adopted our familiar spelling of the word and …
Read more at the Texian Partisan
(The opinions in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Southern Nation News or SN.O.)