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Texas History Timeline
Important Dates, Events, and Milestones in Texas
Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in Texas history.
Corn farmers settle near the Presidio in the area where the Rio Grande and Rio Conchos join around 1500 BCE. It is now believed to be the oldest continuously cultivated farmland in Texas. From 800–1500 BCE, the farmers and hunters build and occupy stone dwellings located southeast of Perryton on the northern edge of the Panhandle. Today this area is called the Buried City. By 1400 CE Texasm composed of numerous small tribes, the Caddo Confederacy establishes a agriculture-based civilization in east Texas. Today the Caddo Nation is a federally recognized tribe with its capital in Binger, Oklahoma.
Spanish missionaries were the first European settlers in Texas, founding San Antonio in 1718. Hostile natives and isolation from other Spanish colonies kept Texas sparsely populated until following the Revolutionary War and the War of Mexican Independence, when the newly established Mexican government began to allow settlers from the U.S. to claim land there. Texas negotiated with the U.S. to join the union in 1845.
16th Century Texas History Timeline
Early European Exploration and Settlement
1554 - Coronado dies. He is one of the first white men to
explore Texas, and leader of one of 20 Spanish explorations of the area.
17th Century Texas History Timeline
1629 - Jumano Indians requested Spanish missionaries from New Mexico to travel to the vicinity of present-day San Angelo and instruct the Jumanos about Christianity.
1682 - First Spanish mission, Corpus Christi de la Isleta, is established a few miles from present-day El Paso.
1685 - February 16 - French explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, looking for the mouth of the Mississippi River, lands in Texas by mistake. He establishes a colony, Fort St. Louis, on Garcitas Creek in present-day Victoria County.
March 19, 1687 - La Salle is killed by several of his own men at an unknown East Texas location.
January 1688 - Colonists at Fort St. Louis not felled by Indians, disease, poisonous snakes and malnutrition are finished off by Karankawa Indians.
1689 - April 2 - Spanish Gen. Alonso de León's expedition
finds the remains of Fort St. Louis. Fearing French intentions to lay
claim to Spanish territory, the Spanish begin establishing missions
and settlements in East Texas.
18th Century Texas History Timeline
1716-1789 -- Throughout the 18th Century, Spain established Catholic missions in Texas, and the towns of San Antonio, Goliad and Nacogdoches.
1716 - Spanish build a presidio, Nuestra Señora de los Dolores
de los Tejas, to protect the East Texas missions.
1745 - Missions at San Antonio are producing thousands of pounds of cotton annually.
1758 - March 16 - Santa Cruz de San Sabá mission near present-day Menard destroyed and eight residents killed by Comanches and their allies.
1759 - August - Spanish troops on a retaliatory raid are defeated by Indian residents of a large encampment at Spanish Fort in present-day Montague County.
1766 - Sept. 4 - Texas' first recorded hurricane strikes near Galveston.
1779 - Group of settlers led by Antonio Gil Ybarbo (sometimes
spelled Ibarvo or Y'barvo) establishes a civilian community near an
abandoned mission site; the new town is called Nacogdoches.
19th Century Texas History Timeline
1810 - Sept. 16 - Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costillo and several hundred of his parishioners seize the prison at Dolores, Mexico, beginning Mexico's struggle for independence from Spain.
1812 -August 8 - About 130-men strong, the Gutierrez-Magee
Expedition crossed the Sabine from Louisiana in a rebel movement against
Spanish rule in Texas.
1814 - June- Moses Austin dies, his son, Stephen F. Austin, receives authority to continue the colonizing effort.
1817-1820 - Jean Laffite occupied Galveston Island and used it as a base for his smuggling and privateering.
1818 - September 12 - A hurricane wrecks the fleet of pirate Jean Lafitte in Galveston.
1823 - Jan. 3 - Stephen F. Austin received a grant from the Mexican government and began colonization in the region of the Brazos River. Mexican officials approve Austin's plan to bring three hundred families into his colony. This group becomes known as the "Old Three Hundred."
Mid-1824 - Constitution of 1824 gave Mexico a republican form of government. It failed to define the rights of the states within the republic, including Texas
1826 - Dec. 21 - The Declaration of Independence of the republic of Fredonia is signed at Nacogdoches.
1827- January 31 - This so-called Fredonian Rebellion is an attempt by empresario Haden Edwards to separate his colony from Mexico. The rebels flee when approached by Mexican troops.
1829 - October - First of several large groups of Irish immigrants arrive to settle in South Texas.
1830 - April 6 - Mexican government stops legal immigration into Texas from the United States except in special cases. Relations between Anglo settlers and the Mexican government deteriorate.
1831 - Johann Friedrich Ernst, his wife and five children
are the first German family to arrive in Texas, settling in present-day
Revolution and the Republic of Texas
1837 - Republic of Texas is officially recognized by the United
States, and later by France, England, the Netherlands and Belgium.
1841 - June 20 - The Santa Fé Expedition, launched without Texas Congressional authorization by Pres. Mirabeau B. Lamar, leaves Central Texas on its way west to establish trade with and solidify Texas' claims to territory around Santa Fé. Members of group are taken prisoner by Mexican troops, marched to Mexico City and imprisoned. They are finally released in 1842.
1842 - The first seeds of large-scale German immigration to
Texas are sown when a German society, the Adelsverein, purchases land
for settlements in Central Texas.
Annexation and Statehood
1848 - Feb. 2 - Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed, ending the War with Mexico and specifying the location of the international boundary.
1854 - Two reservations are established for Indians in West-Central Texas: one for Comanches on the Clear Fork of the Brazos in Throckmorton County, the other for more sedentary Indian groups, such as Tawakonis, Wacos and Tonkawas, near Fort Belknap in Young County.
1858 - Sept. 15 - Southern route of the Butterfield Overland Mail crosses Texas on its way between St. Louis, Mo., and the West Coast. Service discontinued in March 1861 at the outbreak of the Civil War.
Secession and Civil War
Reconstruction to the 20th Century
1867-1870 - Congressional (or Military) Reconstruction replaces Presidential Reconstruction.
1868 - Large-scale irrigation begins in Texas when canals are built in the vicinity of Del Rio.
1869 - Nov. 30 - Texas voters approve a new state constitution.
1871 - May - Seven men in a wagon train are massacred at Salt
Creek, about 20 miles west of Jacksboro, by Kiowas and Comanches led
by chiefs Satanta, Big Tree, Satank and Eagle Heart.
1877 - Sept. - The El Paso Salt War is the culmination of
a long dispute caused by Anglos' attempts to take over salt-mining rights
at the foot of Guadalupe Peak, a traditionally Mexican-American salt
20th Century Texas History Timeline
1900 - Sept. 8 - The "Great Hurricane," destroys much of Galveston and kills 6,000 people there.
1901 - Jan. 10 - Oil found by mining engineer Capt. A.F. Lucas
at Spindletop near Beaumont catapults Texas into the petroleum age.
1920 - Large-scale agricultural irrigation begins in the High
1928 - June 26-29 - The Democratic National Convention is
held in Houston, the first nominating convention held in a Southern
city since 1860.
1935 - Two years after federal prohibition was repealed, Texas
voters ratify the repeal of the state's prohibition law.
1941-1945 - World War II.
1954 - Texas women gain the right to serve on juries.
1967 - Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
(MALDEF) is incorporated in Texas; its first national office is in San
1972 - The Sharpstown Scandal results in the conviction of House speaker Gus Mutscher and two associates for conspiracy and bribery
1974 - Jan. 8 - Constitutional Convention meets to attempt to write a new state constitution. However, the delegates, comprising the membership of the 63rd Legislature, become mired in divisive politics, and the convention adjourns on July 30, 1974, without a document.
1978 - William Clements becomes the first Republican governor of Texas since Reconstruction.
1979 -April 10 - Several tornadoes kill 53 in West Texas,
including 42 in Wichita Falls, and cause $400 million in damages.
1984 - Aug. 20-23 - The National Republican Convention is held in Dallas.
1985 - The Federal Home Loan Bank Board suspends deposit insurance for Texas savings-and-loan companies applying for state charters. Three years later, after uncovering widespread insider abuse at Texas lending institutions, federal regulators announce bail-out plans for many Texas thrifts and begin prosecution of S&L officials.
1988 - Houstonian George Bush is elected president of the United States.
1990 - Democrat Ann Richards becomes the first woman governor of Texas in her own right.
21st Century Texas History Timeline
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
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
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.