Galveston Island on the Gulf coast of Texas was occupied by Karankawa Indians when it was first discovered by Europeans. It was not until the nineteenth century, however, that the first settlement was established by Jean Laffite in 1817.
It was not until the early 1830s that the first settlements were established at Galveston. During the period of the Texas Republic, however, the city soon prospered into a major seaport, and became the base for the Navy of the Republic of Texas.
The town was the site of the Battle of Galveston, fought midway through the Civil War on 1 January 1863. In the combined land and sea battle, the Confederates reclaimed the town and the island from several months of Federal occupancy.
Galveston was leveled in 1900 by a hurricane and flood in which five to seven thousand lives were lost. As a result, a seven mile seawall was constructed to help protect the island from future storms.