Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Little Galveston History

Galveston Island was first inhabited by members of the Karankawa and Akokisa Nations who called it “Auia”. In 1528 the Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca was shipwrecked on the island which they called Isla de Malhado “Island of Doom”. From here he began his famous trek to Mexico. During the charting of the Gulf Coast in 1785 the Island was named Galvez-town in honour of the Count of Galvez and this name stuck.

The first European settlement was established in 1816 by the pirate Louis-Michel Aury who used the island as a base of operations for his support of Mexico’s rebellion against Spain. In 1821 pirate Jean Lafitte (or “Laffite” as he spelled it) took over the island. Lafitte organized the island into a pirate kingdom and named himself as the head of Government.

In 1825 the new Congress of Mexico established the island as the Port of Galveston. In 1836 4,600 acres of land on the island was purchased by a Canadian and that area eventually became the City of Galveston.

During the Civil War the city was the site of the Battle Of Galveston where on January of 1863 Confederate troops expelled Union troops from the city. The port soon became one of the major cotton ports of the nation.

In 1900 the city was devastated by an un-named hurricane, which killed an estimated 8,000 people. This hurricane is documented as the worst natural disaster in the history of the USA and prompted the building of a seventeen foot high seawall to protect the city from future storms.

In 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall at Galveston as a Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds. Much unrepaired damage from this hurricane remains today.


Map picture

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