Our independent sovereign nation-the Republic of Texas -lasted 10 years, from March 2, 1836 to February 19, 1846. We were, for a time, a self-governing entity, free from both the United States and Mexico (although Mexico would dispute the boundaries). We also claimed a lot more land than we do today in statehood. Our first Congress convened in Columbia with Stephen F. Austin presiding as Secretary of State. Our first capital became Washington-on-the-Brazos and, after several moves, finally landed in Austin by 1839. We adopted the Lone Star Flag during this period. We also had a divided government. One faction was led by Mirabeau B. Lamar who represented the nationalists wishing to continue independence, remove Native Americans by force, and expand our western border all the way to the Pacific Ocean. In opposition, Sam Houston advocated a U.S. annexation of Texas and peace with Native Americans. Houston's statehood advocacy prevailed although only after his two, non-consecutive terms serving as President of the Republic. You can relive those early days by visiting the museums and historic sites at Washington-on-the-Brazos, considered the birthplace of Texas.