Houston is a city in Texas nestled near Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It reigns as the 4th city with the biggest population in the U.S. The city of Houston is best known for our sports teams like the Astros, Texans, and Rockets as well as our scorching hot climate. A lot of celebrities and famous people originate from this big city, including Dennis Quaid, Patrick Swayze, Beyonce and Hilary Duff. Houston, Texas also happens to be the world capital for many things like petroleum exploration, space exploration, and capital punishment. But before it became the city that we all know today, Houston also went through a long and tumultuous history before becoming a city.
Mexican Occupation and Sam Houston
In 1826, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna ordered the destruction of the very first settlement in Houston, Texas. Santa Anna was a Mexican general and he wanted to capture the Texas soldiers who were with Sam Houston. The city gets its name from Sam Houston, who later becomes the first president of the Republic of Texas. During the Battle of San Jacinto, just outside the city limits now, they captured Santa Anna. This led to the freedom of Texas in 1836, ten years after Santa Anna first started pursuing Sam Houston. Sam Houston is best known for his capture and defeat of Santa Anna. Aside from that, Houston also became governor of Tennessee, a U.S. senator, and governor of Texas.
The Allen Brothers
In August of 1836, just a few months after Texas became independent two brothers (The Allen Brothers) from New York decided to buy land near the Buffalo Bayou to establish a new town. They purchased over 6,600 acres of the land for a good investment at the price of $10,000. The two brothers founded Houston during that time.
Capital of Texas
After the Allen brother established the new town of Houston Texas, they lobbied for the Republic of Texas Congress to move the state capital to Houston. In exchange, they promised to provide a capitol building for the Congress. While it was the capital of Texas, James S. Holman was elected as the first mayor. However, two years later, Congress moved the capital to Austin. Up until now, Austin remains the capital of Texas.
Yellow Fever Epidemic in Houston
In the same year, the city of Houston experienced another problem. Yellow fever spread throughout the city due to the number of mosquitoes in the area. It claimed one person for every eight lives and continued to spread.
Railroad and Cotton Industry in Houston
Houston did not become a success overnight, although the Allen brothers hoped otherwise. Even though they started to advertise the town four days after its establishment, the city of Houston was off to a slow start. Its prime source of income was cotton products as well as the first railroad which arrived in 1953. Not long after this, the Civil War erupted and Houston became a safe place for Southerners. However, the city was also threatened when Union forces were able to capture Galveston Island.
Segregation in Houston
After the civil war, racial tensions in the neighborhood continued to rise. There was a mix of Hispanics and African Americans who resided in the area which the people weren’t used to. This led to a riot in 1917 because black soldiers were assigned and stationed in the city. Almost twenty people were killed in this riot.
The Trading Port in Houston
After the Civil War, a great hurricane and accompanying flood destroyed the ports in Galveston Texas. Because of this, Houston became the leading port in 1990. Although the Houston port was first built in 1840, it wasn’t until 1869 that it began receiving trade. By the 1980s, it was handling over 80 million shipments every year.
Discovery of Oil
Around the same time, in 1901, people discovered a large supply of oil available in the area. This led to an excellent opportunity for business and lead to significant industrial development for the city. It was thanks to the discovery of oil that the city expanded. While Houston mostly worked with lumber and cotton, it now had a new commodity to share.
World War II and Beyond
World War II introduced petrochemicals to the city of Houston. Petrochemicals come from natural gas or petroleum, and they remained highly important after the war ended. Thanks to the abundance of oil in Houston TX, the petrochemical industries remained in the city as well.
1960’s to Early 21st Century
Houston TX continued to expand into different fields. In the 1960s, the Manned Spacecraft Center opened as a command post for U.S. Astronauts. As such, the city of Houston became the capital of America’s space program. Aside from this, good things continued for Houston as the city had an economic boom during the 1970s. This was a result of their investments in the energy business. Energy was the biggest contributor to the economy, especially when the oil industry started to fail in the 1980s. It took almost a decade for the city to recover, but they were able to get back on their feet around the 1990s.
While beneficial to the community, this expansion into different fields also increased the pollution in the area. Other than this, flooding also became a problem that the city had to deal with.
Summary Of The History of Houston
Houston TX experienced a lot of ups and downs throughout the years. However, despite the problems, the city continued to grow. It didn’t just expand its borders, but it also dabbled in different industries until it became the nation’s capital for these industries. Setbacks have tried to stop the growth and progress of the city of Houston, but it always bounces back. Now, it is a sprawling metropolis with different successful businesses, and the city continues to grow and expand to this very day. Today, Houston is actually home to many attractions that tourists love to visit, as the city still holds a lot of history despite its continuous journey of progress. If you want to learn more about Houston Texas, make sure to check out the local business and tourists spots in the area including Diamond Exchange Houston :).