Texas History Timeline
Key Events in Early Texas
Before 1500 -
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.
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 interim government was formed for the newly created Republic of Texas.
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.
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.
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.
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