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Why Texas Titles Are Different

Terry I. Cross, Mineral Title Examination (2007)

The title of this paper begs the question: “Different from What?” The most obvious answer is “different from other jurisdictions,” and that is the primary screen criterion for the various issues referenced below. Some aspects of Texas titles are necessarily unique because of the unique history of Texas. However, there are some aspects of Texas title law that, even if not unique, are “different” than what you might have expected. And in a few instances, abrupt changes in the law leave us with results that are different than they used to be.

II. Six Flags -- Grants From Sovereigns

Texas has existed as a political unit under four different sovereigns that made grants of lands within the present borders of the State of Texas: Spain, Mexico, Republic of Texas and the State of Texas. While France disputed Spain's ownership claims, it made no grants. From 1691 to 1822, Texas was a Spanish province. From 1823 to 1835, Texas and Coahuila were a Mexican state. From 1836 to 1845, Texas was a republic. Since 1845, Texas has been a state of the United States. Texas' secession from the Union in 1861 resulted in a sixth flag but did not affect prior land grants or the ownership by Texas of unappropriated land. However, Confederate veterans were given scrip for land grants from the State of Texas in recognition of their service to the Confederate States of America.1