Ancient / Pre-Columbian History

225 million B.C. to 65 million B.C.

At least 16 types of dinosaurs roamed Texas from 225 million years ago to about 65 million years ago, at which time dinosaurs disappeared. . . . (more)

Caddo pottery found near Gilmer.
Caddo pottery found near Gilmer. Photo by Russell Bronson.

European Exploration and Development

 1598

April 30 - A ceremony of thanksgiving is held near present-day El Paso by Juan de Oñate, the members of his expedition and natives of the region. The Spaniards provide game and the Indians supply fish for a feast, Franciscan missionaries celebrate mass, and Oñate claims all land drained by the Rio Grande in the name of the King Philip II of Spain. . . . (more)

Presidio chapel at Goliad
The presidio chapel at Goliad. Photo by Robert Plocheck.

 

 

 

Revolution and the Republic of Texas

1836

March 6 – A 13-day siege of the Alamo by Mexican troops led by Santa Anna ends on this day with a battle in which all remaining defenders are killed. . . . (more)

Reenactment at the Alamo
A memorial service at Alamo Plaza. Photo by Eric Gay.

 

Annexation and Statehood

 1850

Nov. 25 – Texas' governor signs the Compromise of 1850, in which Texas gives up its claim to land that includes more than half of what is now New Mexico, about a third of Colorado, a corner of Kansas, the Oklahoma Panhandle, and a small portion of Wyoming in exchange for the United States' assumption of $10 million in debt; Texas keeps its public lands. . . . (more)

An early version of the U.S. Flag
An antebellum version of the U.S. flag at a Farmers Branch festival.

 

Secession and Civil War

1861

Feb. 13 – Robert E. Lee is ordered to return to Washington from regimental headquarters at Fort Mason to assume command of the Union Army. Instead, Lee resigns his commission; he assumes command of Confederate forces by June 1862. . . . (more)

union prisoners from Camp Ford, Tyler
Union prisoners from Camp Ford near Tyler. Library of Congress.

 

Reconstruction to the 20th Century

1866

Cattle drives, which had been occasional in the 1830s, sporadic during the 1840s and 1850s, and almost nonexistent during the Civil War, begin in earnest, mostly to markets and railheads in Midwest. They are at their peak for only about 20 years, until the proliferation of railroads makes them unnecessary. . . . (more)

branding cattle on the Texas prairie 'Branding Cattle on the Texas Prairie,' by James E. Taylor, 1867. Library of Congress.

 

 The 20th Century

1901 

  Jan. 10 - A gusher drilled by mining engineer Capt. A.F. Lucas at Spindletop near Beaumont catapults Texas into the petroleum age. . . . (more)

An oil field in Wichita County.
An oil field in Wichita County.