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Timeline of Texas History

Source: Lone Star Junction

Section 1: Early Exploration and Development

Before 1500 -- Prior to the arrival of the first European explorers, numerous tribes of the Indians of Texas occupied the region between the Rio Grande to the south and the Red River to the north.

Mid-1519 -- Sailing from a base in Jamaica, Alonso Alvarez de Pineda, a Spanish adventurer, was the first known European to explore and map the Texas coastline. November 1528 -- Cabeza de Vaca shipwrecked on what is believed today to be Galveston Island. After trading in the region for some six years, he later explored the Texas interior on his way to Mexico.

1540-1542 -- In search of the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado lead an expedition into the present southwestern United States and across northern Texas.

18 February 1685 -- Robert Cavelier, Sieur de LaSalle established Fort St. Louis at Matagorda Bay, and thus formed the basis for France's claim to Texas. Two years later, LaSalle was murdered by his own men.

22 April 1689 -- Mexican explorer Alonso de Leon reached Fort St. Louis, and found it abandoned, during an expedition planned to reestablish Spanish presence in Texas.

1716-1789 -- Throughout the 18th century, Spain established Catholic missions in Texas, and along with the missions, the towns of San Antonio, Goliad and Nacogdoches.

8 August 1812 -- About 130-men strong, the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition crossed the Sabine from Louisiana in a rebel movement against Spanish rule in Texas.

1817-1820 -- Jean Laffite occupied Galveston Island and used it as a base for his smuggling and privateering operation.

3 January 1823 -- Stephen F. Austin received a grant from the Mexican government and began colonization in the region of the Brazos River.

Mid-1824 -- The Constitution of 1824 gave Mexico a republican form of government. It failed, however, to define the rights of the states within the republic, including Texas.

6 April 1830--Relations between the Texans and Mexico reached a new low when Mexico forbid further emigration into Texas by settlers from the United States.

26 June 1832--The Battle of Velasco resulted in the first casualties in Texas' relations with Mexico. After several days of fighting, the Mexicans under Domingo de Ugartechea were forced to surrender for lack of ammunition.

1832-1833 -- The Convention of 1832 and the Convention of 1833 in Texas were triggered by growing dissatisfaction among the settlements with the policies of the government in Mexico City.


Section 2: Revolution and the Republic

2 October 1835 -- Texans repulsed a detachment of Mexican cavalry at the Battle of Gonzales. The revolution began.

9 October 1835 -- The Goliad Campaign of 1835 ended when George Collingsworth, Ben Milam, and forty-nine other Texans stormed the presidio at Goliad and a small detachment of Mexican defenders.

28 October 1835 -- Jim Bowie, James Fannin and 90 Texans defeated 450 Mexicans at the Battle of Concepcion, near San Antonio.

3 November 1835 -- The Consultation met to consider options for more autonomous rule for Texas. A document known as the Organic Law outlined the organization and functions of a new Provisional Government.

8 November 1835 -- The Grass Fight near San Antonio was won by the Texans under Jim Bowie and Ed Burleson. Instead of silver, however, the Texans gained a worthless bounty of grass.

11 December 1835 -- Mexicans under Gen. Cos surrendered San Antonio to the Texans following the Siege of Bexar. Ben Milam was killed during the extended siege.

2 March 1836 -- The Texas Declaration of Independence was signed by members of the Convention of 1836. An ad interim government was formed for the newly created Republic of Texas.

6 March 1836 -- Texans under Col. William B. Travis were overwhelmed by the Mexican army after a two-week siege at the Battle of the Alamo in San Antonio. The Runaway Scrape began.

10 March 1836 -- Sam Houston abandoned Gonzales in a general retreat eastward to avoid the invading Mexican army.

27 March 1836 -- James Fannin and nearly 400 Texans were executed by the Mexicans at the Goliad Massacre, under order of Santa Anna.

21 April 1836 -- Texans under Sam Houston routed the Mexican forces of Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. Thus, independence was won in one of the most decisive battles in history.

November 1839 -- The Texas Congress first met in Austin, the frontier site selected for the capital of the Republic.

11 August 1840 -- The Battle of Plum Creek, near present-day Lockhart, ended the boldest and most penetrating Comanche challenge to the Texas Republic.

June 1841 -- The Texan Santa Fe Expedition set out for New Mexico. Near Sante Fe, they were intercepted by Mexican forces and marched 2000 miles to prison in Mexico City.

5 March 1842 --A Mexican force of over 500 men under Rafael Vasquez invaded Texas for the first time since the revolution. They briefly occupied San Antonio, but soon headed back to the Rio Grande.

11 September 1842 -- San Antonio was again captured, this time by 1400 Mexican troops under Adrian Woll. Again the Mexicans retreated, but this time with prisoners.

Fall 1842 -- Sam Houston authorized Alexander Somervell to lead a retaliatory raid into Mexico. The resulting Somervell Expedition dissolved, however, after briefly taking the border towns of Laredo and Guerreo.

20 December 1842 -- Some 300 members of the Somervell force set out to continue raids into Mexico. Ten days and 20 miles later, the ill-fated Mier Expedition surrendered at the Mexican town of Mier.

29 December 1842 -- Under orders of Sam Houston, officials arrived in Austin to remove the records of the Republic of Texas to the city of Houston, touching off the bloodless Archives War.

25 March 1843 -- Seventeen Texans were executed in what became known as the Black Bean Episode, which resulted from the Mier Expedition, one of several raids by the Texans into Mexico.

27 May 1843 -- The Texan's Snively Expedition reached the Santa Fe Trail, expecting to capture Mexican wagons crossing territory claimed by Texas. The campaign stalled, however, when American troops intervened.


Section 3: Statehood and Beyond

29 December 1845 -- U. S. President James Polk followed through on a campaign platform promising to annex Texas, and signed legislation making Texas the 28th state of the United States.

25 April 1846 -- The Mexican-American War ignited as a result of disputes over claims to Texas boundaries. The outcome of the war fixed Texas' southern boundary at the Rio Grande River.

25 November 1850 -- In a plan to settle boundary disputes and pay her public debt, Texas relinquished about one-third of her territory in the Compromise of 1850, in exchange for $10,000,000 from the United States.

May 1852 -- The first Lone Star State Fair in Corpus Christi symbolized a period of relative prosperity in Texas during the 1850's. Organizer Henry L. Kinney persuaded Dr. Ashbel Smith to be the fair's manager.

29 April 1856 -- Backed by the US military, a shipment of 32 camels arrived at the port of Indianola. The resulting Texas Camel Experiment used the animals to transport supplies over the "Great American Desert."

1 February 1861 -- Texas seceded from the Federal Union following a 171 to 6 vote by the Secession Convention. Governor Sam Houston was one of a small minority opposed to secession.

22 October 1861 -- Advance units of the newly formed Brigade of General H. H. Sibley marched westward from San Antonio to claim New Mexico and the American southwest for the Confederacy.

1 January 1863 -- After several weeks of Federal occupation of Texas' most important seaport, the Battle of Galveston restored the island to Texas control for remainder of Civil War.

13 May 1865 -- The last land engagement of the Civil War was fought at the Battle of Palmito Ranch in far south Texas, more than a month after Gen. Lee's surrender at Appomattox, VA.

1866 -- The abundance of longhorn cattle in south Texas and the return of Confederate soldiers to a poor reconstruction economy marked the beginning of the era of Texas trail drives to northern markets.

30 March 1870 -- The United States Congress readmitted Texas into the Union. Reconstruction continued, however, for another four years.

17 January 1874 -- Coke-Davis Dispute ended peacefully in Austin as E. J. Davis relinquished the governor's office. Richard Coke began a democratic party dynasty in Texas that continued unbroken for over 100 years.

4 October 1876 -- The opening of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas marked the state's first venture into public higher education. Tuition totaled $10 per semester.

15 September 1883 -- The University of Texas opened its doors in Austin for its inaugural session. First courses were offered in the Academic Department and a Law Department.

16 May 1888 -- The dedication of the present state capitol in Austin ended seven years of planning and construction. The building was funded with 3,000,000 acres of land in north Texas.

20 January 1891 -- Based on a campaign platform calling for the regulation of railroads and big business, James Hogg took office as the first native-born governor of Texas.

10 January 1901 -- The discovery of "black gold" at the Spindletop oil field near Beaumont launched Texas into a century of oil exploration, electronics, and manned space travel.



Don Alberts (editor), Rebels on the Rio Grande, Albuquerque, NM, Merit Press, 1993

D. W. Baker (Compiler), A Texas Scrapbook, New York, A. S. Barnes & Company, 1875

Hubert Howe Bancroft, The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, Vol. XV: North Mexican States and Texas, 1153-1800, San Francisco, A. L. Bancroft & Co., Publishers, 1884; Vol. XVI: North Mexican States and Texas, 1801-1889, San Francisco, A. L. Bancroft & Co., Publishers, 1889.

Donaly E. Brice, The Great Comanche Raid, Austin, Eakin Press, 1987

John Henry Brown, History of Texas: 1685-1892, 2 Volumes, St. Louis, L. E. Daniell, 1892

__________, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas, Austin, L. E. Daniell, 1895

L. E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, San Antonio, Maverick Printing House, 1892

David C. Edmonds, Yankee Autumn in Acadiana, Lafayette, LA, The Acadiana Press, 1979

Odie Faulk, General Tom Green: A Fightin' Texan, Waco, Texian Press, 1963

John Salmon Ford, Rip Ford's Texas, Austin, University of Texas Press, 1963

Donald S. Frazier, Blood & Treasure: Confederate Empire in the Southwest, College Station, Texas A&M University Press, 1995

Bill Groneman, Alamo Defenders, Austin, Eakin Press, 1990

Martin Hardwick Hall, The Confederate Army of New Mexico, Austin, Presidial Press, 1978

__________, Sibley's New Mexico Campaign, Austin, University of Texas Press, 1960

Cleburne Huston, Deaf Smith: Incredible Texas Spy, Waco, Texian Press, 1973

John H. Jenkins and Kenneth Kesselus, Edward Burleson: Texas Frontier Leader, Austin, Jenkins Publishing Company, 1990

John Holland Jenkins, Recollections of Early Texas, The Memoirs of John Holland Jenkins, Austin, The University of Texas Press, 1958

Alvin M. Josephy, Jr., The Civil War in the American West, New York, Knopf, 1991

Francis Richard Lubbock, Six Decades in Texas, Austin, Ben C. Jones & Co. Printers, 1900

Joseph D. McCutchan (John M. Nance, ed.), Mier Expedition Diary, Austin, University of Texas Press, 1977

John M. Nance, After San Jacinto, Austin, University of Texas Press, 1963

Theophilus Noel, A Campaign From Santa Fe To the Mississippi, Shreveport, Shreveport News Printing Establishment, 1865. [Two separate reprints of this extremely rare original were published in the early 1960s.]

W. C. Nunn, Texas Under the Carpetbaggers, Austin, University of Texas Press, 1962

Noah Smithwick, The Evolution of a State, Austin, H.P.N. Gammel, 1900

Andrew J. Sowell, Rangers and Pioneers of Texas, San Antonio, Shepard Brothers and Company, 1884

William Preston Stapp, Prisoners of Perote, Philadelphia, E. B. Zieber, 1845

Ralph W. Steen, The Texas Story, Austin, The Steck Company, 1948

Richard Taylor (Richard Harwell, ed.), Destruction and Reconstruction: Personal Experiences of the Late War, New Youk, Longman Green and Co., 1955

Jerry D. Thompson, Henry Hopkins Sibley: Confederate General of the West, Natchitoches, Northwestern State University Press, 1987

__________, Westward the Texans: The Civil War Journal of Private William Randolph Howell, El Paso, Texas Western Press, 1990

Ron Tyler (editor-in-chief), The New Handbook of Texas, Austin, Texas State Historical Association, 1996

Herbert Weaver (editor), Correspondence of James K. Polk, 5 Volumes, Nashville, Vanderbilt University Press, 1975

Gifford White, 1830 Citizens of Texas, Austin, Eakin Press, 1983

__________, 1840 Citizens of Texas, Vol. 1: Land Grants, Austin, Self-Published, 1983; Vol. 2: Tax Rolls, St. Louis, Ingmire Publications, 1984.

J. W. Wilbarger, Indian Depredations in Texas, Austin, Hutchings Printing House, 1889

Ernest William Winkler (editor), Journal of the Secession Convention of Texas, Austin, Austin Printing Company, 1912

John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge, LSU Press, 1963

Dudley G. Wooten (editor), A Comprehensive History of Texas: 1685-1897, 2 Volumes, William G. Scarff, Dallas, 1898


This page was last updated July 30, 2004.