German Texans: Land, Freedom, Community

Texas is still part of Mexico when the first German pioneers arrive here in the 1820s. They came by the thousands, then tens of thousands – German immigrants weary of the growing oppression in their homeland but hopeful they could start a productive new life elsewhere.

Between 1865 and 1900, about 40,000 Germans arrived in the Lone Star State; the single largest European immigrant group at the time. One of the most significant imports they brought was their culture: an appreciation for classical music and opera; Brahms and the accordion; social traditions like singing societies and biergartens; the German language; a deep belief in the importance of public education and the trades; an abiding love for freedom and equality; and a social fabric that was more about community than the individual.

Nearly 200 years of German cultural heritage continues today. At dozens of sites across Texas, this mobile tour will put you on that steamship as it leaves port in Germany … crosses the wild Atlantic … and enters Galveston Bay. We’ll experience the uncertainty and excitement of early frontier settlements. And we’ll explore the many ways German-Texans have influenced the state’s culture, politics, medicine, literature, architecture, and more — all through the real places and people expressing that influence today!