This is a pretty bizarre piece of Texas history and not many people know about it. After the Battle of the Alamo and Texas won her independence, she became an independent nation from 1836-1845. Okay, this isn’t the unique fact. Lots of people know this part. It’s what happened next.
Fearing another war with the Mexicans, representatives of the new government went abroad to seek favor, and form close ties with other countries.
The young upstart republic opened foreign embassies in several countries. In 1839, France was the first to recognize Texas sovereignty and the new republic opened up an embassy in the Hotel de Vendôme in Paris. France opened up theirs in Austin and they exchanged ambassadors. There is still a commemorative plaque on the hotel wall today.
Next, Sam Houston sent the Texas Secretary of State to London and appealed to the Court of St. James and they opened an embassy at No. 4 St. James Street. They occupied the 2nd floor above a wine shop. There was also a brothel and a gambling den in the same building.
In 1845 when Texas joined the Union, the embassy was closed and they left town owing a $160 bill for unpaid rent.
Today, it’s the Texas Embassy Cantina and they serve Mexican food. I think this is very funny.
Among the countries to recognize Texas as a sovereign nation were Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands. They plus many other countries opened up embassies in Austin.
During the brief time we got to govern ourselves, Texas had four presidents:
- David G. Burnet
- Sam Houston (twice)
- Mirabeau B. Lamar
- Anson Jones