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The three additional East Texas counties that join with other regional government councils are Chambers County (Anahuac), Liberty County (Liberty) and Walker County (Huntsville), all three in geographic proximity to the Houston metropolitan areas.
Outside of the Greater Houston area the average population density is around 18–45 per square mile (7–12 per km²), with the population density near the Big Thicket dropping below 18 people per sq mi.
East Texas is often considered the westernmost extension of the Deep South.
The predominant cultural influence comes from customs and traditions passed down from European-American and African-American Southerners who settled the region during the mid and late 19th century.
Bald cypress and Spanish moss are the dominant plants in bayous.
If distance presents a problem, try joining a Texas genealogy mailing list for the locality and perhaps you will locate someone in the area who can do a newspaper lookup for you.
According to the Handbook of Texas, the East Texas area "may be separated from the rest of Texas roughly by a line extending from the Red River in north central Lamar County southwestward to east central Limestone County and then southeastward towards eastern Galveston Bay", though most sources separate the Gulf Coast area into a separate region.
Another popular, somewhat simpler, definition defines East Texas as the region between the Trinity River, north and east of Houston, (or sometimes Interstate 45, when defining generously) as the western border, the Louisiana border as the eastern border, the Oklahoma border as the northern border, and extending as far south as Lufkin, Texas.
African Americans were first brought to the area as enslaved workers for the plantations.
These influences are noticeable in the sub-dialect of Texan English that is spoken throughout the region.