When European explorers first came to the land we now call Texas, they were met by many different native tribes. One tribe, the Caddo, was a civilized tribe that welcomed them. The Caddoes used the word "tejas" which meant friend. The area soon became known as tejas or Texas by everyone. The Texas state motto of "friendship" also came from this. Texas became an independent country called the Republic of Texas on March 2, 1836 and became a state in the United States on Dec. 29, 1845.