Texas is the second most populous and the second-largest of the 50 states in the United States of America, and the largest state in the 48 contiguous United States. Geographically located in the South Central part of the country, Texas shares an international border with the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas to the south, and borders the U.S. states of New Mexico to the west, Oklahoma to the north, Arkansas to the northeast and Louisiana to the east. Texas has an area of 268,820 square miles (696,200 km2), and a growing population of 26.1 million residents.
Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth-largest in the United States, while San Antonio is the second largest in the state and seventh largest in the United States. Dallas–Fort Worth and Greater Houston are the fourth and fifth largest United States metropolitan areas, respectively. Other major cities include El Paso and Austin—the state capital. Texas is nicknamed the Lone Star State to signify Texas as a former independent republic and as a reminder of the state's struggle for independence from Mexico. The "Lone Star" can be found on the Texas state flag and on the Texas state seal today.
The Texas State Capitol, located in Downtown Austin, is the fourth building to house the state government of Texas. The capitol building contains the chambers of the Texas Legislature and the office of the governor. Originally designed in 1881 by architect Elijah E. Myers, it was constructed from 1882 to 1888 under the direction of civil engineer Reuben Lindsay Walker. A $75 million underground extension was completed in 1993. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. The Texas State Capitol building is 308 ft (94 m) tall.