History of Texas
The first inhabitants of this land now called Texas arrived here around 10,000 BC; they hunted giant bison and mammoths, and over many centuries a wide variety of Indian cultures developed and flourished. These earliest Texans arrived across the ice bridge that once spanned from Russia to Alaska, and then traveled south to somewhat more temperate climates.
The Spanish began their conquest of Texas in 1519 when Alonso Alvarez de Pineda mapped the coastline. Cabeza de Vaca was shipwrecked off Galveston in 1528, would later be referred to by his discoveries in Texas as the “ Seven Cities of Gold” and the legend quickly grew.
looking for those“Cities” the Spanish explorer Coronado searched much of the southwest; he never found them, but Spain ‘s claim on land grew stronger and their first mission, the Corpus Christi de la Isleta, was established under present-day El Paso in 1682.
In 1685 La Salle, a French explorer, arrived along the coastline of the Mexican bay and he established Fort St. Louis on the edge of Matagorda bay. This was the first claim in Texas by the French. La Salle was later killed by his own men, and within five years of Indian attacks, and disease virtually decimated the French forces.
The beginning in 1690 of the Spanish established a large series of Catholic missions across the southwest. In 1718 the Mission of San Antonio, de Valero, (The Alamo) was established on land in present-day San Antonio and some of the original parts of this historic site still stand. Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821 and Stephen F. Austin, known as the ” Father of Texas “, received permission from the Mexican government to form a colony in southeast Texas; this was the first official Anglo-American settlement in the area. The years passed quickly and soon regional tensions escalated over cultural, political and religious differences between the newfangled American settlers and the Mexican government.
- Topschoolsintheusa: Guides to study in Texas, including geography, climate, economy, and tourism of the state.
- A2zcamerablog: Offers general information about Texas, covering history, population, economy and county list.
- Campingship: State outline of Texas, including geography location, state capital, brief history and a list of largest counties by area.
Mexico sent troops to tighten their control, and on October 2, 1835, the first battle of Texas independence, the Battle of Gonzalez took place.
On March 6, 1836 the historic Battle of the Alamo was over and all of Texas’ brave defenders (about 190) were killed by the Mexican army, estimated at 4,000 to 5,000 strong solders. Texas heroes killed included David Crockett, Jim Bowie and William B. Travis.
The Texas Declaration of Independence was enacted the same year and the final battle with Mexico, the Battle of San Jacinto (resulting in Texas’s independence from Mexico) took place near Houston; all mexican General Santa Anna’s force of 1,600 was killed or captured by General Sam Houston’s army of 800 Texans; only nine Texans died.
Sam Houston, a native of Virginia, became President of the Republic of Texas twice. Through his efforts, Texas was subsequently annexed to the United States as the 28th state on December 29, 1845.
During the American Civil War, Texas withdrew and joined the Confederate States of America. Several battles were fought on its soil and on June 19th, 1865, (as the war was drawing to a close), General Gordon Granger, commander of the American forces in Texas, arrived in Galveston and issued an order that the Emancipation Proclamationwas now in place, thus ending slavery in Texas.
After a period of Reconstruction, Texas was readmitted to the United States on March 30, 1870. On February 15, 1876, the current state’s constitution was ratified.
During its rich history, six flags have been flown there by Texas including those of Spain, France, the United Mexican States, the Confederate States of America, the Republic of Texas, and the United States of America. With all the history-changing events that have taken place in Texas, it’s no surprise that 11,621 historical markers have been found within its borders.
1500s – 1700s
- (1519) Alonso Alvarez de Pineda, Spanish explorer, mapped the Texas coastline
- (1528) Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca and crew were shipwrecked off Galveston and began exploration
- (1682) First Spanish mission, Corpus Christi de la Isleta, erected under present-day El Paso
- (1685) French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, landed in Texas by mistake while looking for the mouth of the Mississippi River. He established a colony, Fort Louis, in present-day Victoria County
- (1687) La Salle killed by his own men
- (1688) Colonists killed by Karankawa Indians
- (1718) San Antonio mission de Valero, (Alamo) founded in San Antonio
- (1731) Civil settlement, San Fernando de Bexar, established by a group of Canary Islanders
- (1766) First recorded hurricane in Texas struck near Galveston
- (1829) Several bands of Irish immigrants arrived in South Texas
- (1830) The Mexican government passed a law stopping legal immigration to Texas from the United States except under special circumstances.
- (1832) First bloodshed of the Texas Revolution took place in Velasco
- (1835) Texas Rangers organization formally established by provisional government
- (1836) Texas Declaration of Independence passed; The 13-day siege of the Alamo by Mexican troops led by General Antonio López de Santa Anna ended with all remaining defenders killed; approximately 350 Texas prisoners, including Commander James Fannin, were executed at Goliad; An 18-minute battle led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexican army at San Jacinto; agreements were signed, ending the Texas Revolution; the first leaders of the new republic were elected: Sam Houston as President and Lorenzo de Zavala, Vice President; the first Congress of the Republic of Texas met
- (1837) Republic of Texas officially recognized by the United States
- (1845) The American Congress passed the “Joint Resolution for the Incorporation of Texas into the United States”; Texas became the 28th state.
- (1846) Battle of Palo Alto, first major battle of the two-year Mexican War, took place near Brownsville
- (1848) Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signed the end of the war with Mexico in 1850. Texas gave up its claim to land, which included more than half of what is now New Mexico, about a third of Colorado, a corner of Oklahoma, and a small part of Wyoming
- (1861) Texas seceded from the Union; Sam Houston resigns as governor in protest
- (1865) Battle of Palmito Ranch fought near Brownsville after the official end of the Civil War, as word had not yet reached Texas that the war was over; General Granger went to Galveston to announce that slavery had been abolished
- (1865) Proclamation of Peace between the United States and Texas was issued
- (1869) New Texas State Constitution passed
- (1871) Seven men in the wagon train were massacred at Salt Creek, about 20 miles west of Jacksborough, Kiowas and Comanches led by chiefs Satantha, Big Tree, Satank and Eagle Heart
- (1884) Fence-cutting issues caused the Texas legislature to pass a law making fence-cutting a felony
- (1886) A hurricane damaged or destroyed every house in the port of Indianola, which was never rebuilt
- (1888) Austin Capitol dedicated
- (1894) Oil discovered in Corsicana by workers drilling for fresh water
- (1900) “The Great Storm”, (hurricane) the biggest natural disaster in human terms ever to hit North America, destroyed much of Galveston and killed over 6,000 people
- (1910) First military flight in a Wright Brothers aircraft took place in San Antonio
- (1918) Texas women won the right to vote in elections
- (1925) Miriam “Ma” Ferguson became the first female governor of Texas, she served as figurehead for her husband, former governor James E. Ferguson, who was prosecuted
- (1928) Democratic National Convention held in Houston
- (1936) Texas Centennial Exhibit opened at Dallas Fair Park
- (1937) Natural gas leak below London United School in Rusk County caused a massive explosion, estimated 296 students and teachers were killed
- (1943) Race riots in Beaumont led to a declaration of martial law
- (1947) French ship carrying ammonium nitrate on board exploded in Texas City Harbor, followed by another explosion the next morning – SS High Flyer; 600 people were killed and over 4,000 injured. The force of the explosions created a 15-foot tidal wave
- (1948) Lyndon B. Johnson elected US Senator
- (1953) Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first Texas-born President of the United States
- (1962) NASA opened the Staffed Spacecraft Center in Houston
- (1963) President John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas
- (1965) San Antonio native Ed White became the first American to walk in space
- (1966) Barbara Jordan of Houston became the first black woman elected to the Texas Senate; Charles Whitman killed 17 people on the University of Texas campus at Austin by shooting them from the observation veranda of the main building tower
- (1969) Apollo 11 Neil Armstrong astronauts broadcast the first words from the moon’s surface: “Houston, the Eagle has landed”
- (1971) NASA Lake Facility Houston/Clear Lake Facility renamed Johnson Lyndon B Space Center.
- (1984) Republican Native Convention held in Dallas
- (1988) George H.W. Bush chose the President of the United States
- (1993) Federal agents stormed a compound called Mount Carmel near Waco, where cult leader David Koresh and his followers, called Branch Davidians, reportedly kept a large cache of offensive weapons. The attack and subsequent fire killed four agents and 86 Squad Davidians; Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison became the first woman to serve as a US Senator from Texas
- (2000) Former Texas Gov. George W. Bush elected President of the United States
- (2001) Enron filed for bankruptcy protection
- (2003) Shuttle Columbia broke apart across southeast Texas as it descended to its scheduled landing, all crew members were lost
- (2004) Lance Armstrong won the sixth Tour de France
- (2004) George W. Bush re-elected US President
- (2005) Republican majority leader in US House of Representatives, Tom DeLay, indicted with criminal conspiracy by grand jury in Texas
- (2005) Hurricane Rita forced over 1 million to evacuate
- (2006) Two Enron executives convicted of conspiracy, fraud
- (2007) A gunman at the Johnson Space Center in Houston killed a male hostage, himself
- (2008) Hurricane Ike hit Texas Gulf Coast, caused major flooding, billions of dollars in damages
- (2009) Army Major Nidal Malik Hassan opened fire on associates at Fort Hood military base, 13 killed, 30 wounded
- (2011) Texas fires destroyed over 1 million acres, burned over 1,000 homes
- (2011) Rick Perry announced candidacy for Republican nominee in 2012 presidential race
- (2013) On Thursday, April 18, 2013, a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant on the edge of a small West Texas town killed at least 35 people, injured more than 170, leveled dozens and dozens of homes, and prompted authorities to evacuate half of their community of 2,800. West is a community of about 2,800 people, about 75 miles south of Dallas and 120 miles north of Austin.