Texas History

Texas History

1500s – 1700s

  • (1519) Alonso Alvarez de Pineda, a Spanish explorer, mapped the Texas coastline
  • (1528) Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and crew were shipwrecked near Galveston and began exploration
  • (1682) The first Spanish mission, Corpus Christi de la Isleta, established near present-day El Paso
  • (1685) The French explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, landed in Texas by mistake while searching for the mouth of the Mississippi River. He established the colony, Fort St. Louis, in present-day Victoria County
  • (1687) La Salle killed by his own men
  • (1688) Colonists killed by the Karankawa Indians
  • (1718) The San Antonio de Valero mission, (the Alamo) founded in San Antonio
  • (1731) The civilian settlement, San Fernando de Bexar, established by a group of Canary Islanders
  • (1766) The first recorded hurricane in Texas struck near Galveston


  • (1829) Several groups of Irish immigrants arrived in South Texas
  • (1830) The Mexican government passed a law stopping legal immigration into Texas from the United States except in special cases
  • (1832) The first bloodshed of the Texas Revolution took place at Velasco
  • (1835) The Texas Rangers organization officially established by the provisional government
  • (1836) The Texas Declaration of Independence adopted; a 13-day siege of the Alamo by Mexican troops led by Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna ended with all the remaining defenders killed; about 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; treaties 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 convened
  • (1837) The Republic of Texas officially recognized by the United States
  • (1845) The U. S. Congress passed a “Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States”; Texas became the 28th state.
  • (1846) The Battle of Palo Alto, the first major battle of the two-year Mexican War, took place near Brownsville
  • (1848) The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signed ending the War with Mexico in 1850. Texas gave up its claim to land that included more than half of what is now New Mexico, about a third of Colorado, a corner of Oklahoma and a small portion ofWyoming
  • (1861) Texas seceded from the Union; Sam Houston resigned as governor in protest
  • (1865) The 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 traveled to Galveston to announce that slavery had been abolished
  • (1865) A proclamation of peace between the United States and Texas was issued
  • (1869) A new Texas State constitution adopted
  • (1871) Seven men in a wagon train were massacred at Salt Creek, about 20 miles west of Jacksboro, by Kiowas and Comanches led by chiefs Satanta, Big Tree, Satank and Eagle Heart
  • (1884) Fence-cutting problems 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) State capitol in Austin dedicated
  • (1894) Oil discovered at Corsicana by workers drilling for fresh water


  • (1900) The “Great Storm,” (hurricane) the greatest natural disaster in human terms ever to strike North America, destroyed much of Galveston and killed over 6,000 people
  • (1910) The first military air flight in a Wright brothers’ plane took place in San Antonio
  • (1918) Texas women won the right to vote in elections
  • (1925) Miriam “Ma” Ferguson became Texas’ first woman governor, she served as a figurehead for her husband, former Gov. James E. Ferguson who was impeached
  • (1928) Democratic National Convention held in Houston
  • (1936) The Texas Centennial Exposition opened at Dallas’ Fair Park
  • (1937) A natural gas leak beneath the London Consolidated School in Rusk County caused a massive explosion, estimated 296 students and teachers were killed
  • (1943) A race riot in Beaumont led to a declaration of martial law
  • (1947) A French-owned ship carrying ammonium nitrate exploded in the Texas City Harbor followed by another explosion the next morning – the 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 U. S. Senator
  • (1953) Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first Texas-born President of the United States
  • (1962) NASA opened the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston
  • (1963) President John 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 at the University of Texas campus in Austin, shooting them from the observation deck of the main-building tower
  • (1969) Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong transmitted the first words from the surface of the moon: “Houston, the Eagle has landed”
  • (1971) The NASA Houston/Clear Lake facility is renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
  • (1984) Republican Nat Convention held in Dallas
  • (1988) George H.W. Bush elected president of the United States
  • (1993) Federal agents stormed the compound called Mount Carmel near Waco, where cult leader David Koresh and his followers, called Branch Davidians, had reportedly been storing a large cache of assault weapons. The assault and ensuing fire killed four agents and 86 Branch Davidians; Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison became the first woman to serve as U.S. Senator from Texas


  • (2000) Former Texas Gov. George W. Bush elected President of the United States
  • (2001) Enron filed for bankruptcy protection
  • (2003) Space shuttle Columbia broke apart across southeastern Texas as it descended toward its planned landing, all crew members were lost
  • (2004) Lance Armstrong won sixth Tour de France
  • (2004) George W. Bush re-elected U. S. 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) Gunman at Johnson Space Center in Houston killed male hostage, self
  • (2008) Hurricane Ike struck Texas Gulf Coast, caused major flooding, billions of dollars in damages
  • (2009) Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on fellow soldiers at Fort Hood military base, killed 13, injured 30
  • (2011) Texas wildfires destroyed over 1 million acres, burned over 1,000 homes
  • (2011) Governor 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 the small Texas town of West killed at least 35 people, wounded more than 170, leveled dozens and dozens of homes and prompted authorities to evacuate half 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.
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