The Cities of Texas – Part 1

The State of Texas is home to nearly 28 million people which means that it is the second most populous State in the USA. Many Texans now live in the cities and of 2010 of all the 20 largest US cities six can be found in Texas. The largest city with just over 2 million people is Houston which makes it the 4th largest in the country. It is located in the far South-East of the State and it is the largest city in the Southern United States.

The city was first settled in 1836 and was named after General Sam Houston who was the President of the Republic of Texas.  Although the city is 40 miles away from the Gulf of Mexico one of the major reasons for its original growth was that its port had access along the Buffalo Bayou to the sea. The city grew quickly as the port was used to export cotton that was grown in the surrounding area. In the early year a lot of the population came from the slave trade who worked in the fields and also as domestic help in the cities.

The Port of Houston

The port was located on Buffalo Bayou and was linked to Galveston Port on the coast. Spurred on by the discovery of oil in the region in 1901 seven years of digging resulted in the opening of the deep-water Port of Houston in 1914. The population of the city grew as more oil was discovered in the region. The city became the home to the Texas Medical Centre and the NASA Johnson Space Centre. Today the port ranks first across the nation in terms of water borne tonnage it handles, and the city now has a wide industrial and economic base.

The second largest city is San Antonio which is found inland in the southern half of the state. It was the first settlement in Texas and today its population of nearly one and half million inhabitants makes it the 7thn largest city in the United States. It was originally created by the Spanish to ward off the French who were settling in Louisiana. During the 1830s conflicts with Mexico the city was at the centre of many battles for independence. The most famous battle at the Alamo took place in 1836 where around 250 Texans attempted to defend the fort against 1500 Mexican soldiers.

The city has grown as a result of its close proximity to the cattle industry. Its growth was encouraged by the building of the rail links to Houston and Fort Worth and during the following the years its industrial base has widened with the military, healthcare, the Civil Service, the financial services and tourism playing a major role in its economic success. Its significance as a cultural centre is huge, as many millions of tourists are attracted into the city each year to visit the Alamo, and to also view the oldest buildings in Texas. The city is currently one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.

The site of The Alamo

Dallas is the 9th largest city in the United States with a population of just under 1,200,000 people. It is located in the North-East of the State and initially grew due to its closeness to the cotton and oil industries. It was also at the centre of numerous rail links that converged on the city. It was a result of the growth of the rail roads at the end of the 19th century that saw Dallas initially grow. Dallas soon became a trading and business centre with workers starting to pour into the city and its first sky scraper, the Praetorian Building was built in 1909.

By 1925 Texas was producing a third of the Nation’s cotton and a third of this was coming from within 160km of Dallas. The city was then boosted further with the discovery of oil in the area in the

1930s. The city continued to grow as more and more industries came into the area.

The City nowadays benefits from tourism and is seen as one of the best cities in the country to visit.