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General Land Office established

December
22
1836

On this day in 1836, the General Land Office was established by the First Congress of the Republic of Texas. John P. Borden, the first commissioner, opened the office in Houston on October 1, 1837. He was enjoined by law to "superintend, execute, and perform all acts touching or respecting the public lands of Texas." Much of the early business of the office consisted of translating and registering Spanish and Mexican land grants, and issuing headrights, military bounties, homestead preemptions, and veteran donations. Extensive land grants have been used to fund the public debt and education and to develop railroads. Texas is the only public-land state with complete control over its public lands and over the proceeds resulting from the administration and sale of lands.

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