Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.


Galveston (gălˈvəstən), city (2020 pop. 50,546), seat of Galveston co., on Galveston Island, SE Tex.; inc. 1839. The island lies across the entrance to Galveston Bay, an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico. Long causeways connect the city with the mainland, Houston, and Texas City. Once Texas's largest port, Galveston has been overshadowed by nearby Houston, whose port is linked to the gulf by a canal. Galveston remains a port of entry, however, and is also a destination for cruise ships. Oil refining and shipbuilding are major industries, and the city has metal fabricating, printing, seafood processing, and the manufacture of steel containers. It is also a beach and fishing resort, with its attractions enhanced by pink and white oleanders, bougainvillea, and other subtropical blooms.

The Spanish knew the bay and the island early; it was probably there that Cabeza de Vaca was shipwrecked in 1528. Settlement began in the 1830s. The natural port came gradually into its own despite scourges of yellow fever, hurricanes, and the occupation for a few months in 1862 by a small Union force. A 1900 hurricane resulted in thousands of deaths and left the city in ruins. Against future storms an enormous 10-mi (16-km)-long protective seawall was built; however, occasional hurricanes still can cause significant damage, especially on the portions of the island not protected by the seawall. Hurricane Ike (2008) was especially destructive.

Of interest are the Texas Heroes monument, the Rosenberg Library, several old homes, and a 142-acre nature and entertainment complex that includes a 10-story glass pyramid with rain forests and a bamboo forest. A Coast Guard base is in Galveston, as is the Univ. of Texas Medical Branch (including the Galveston National Laboratory) and a campus of Texas A&M Univ (including the Texas Maritime Academy).


See E. Larson, Isaac's Storm (1999).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
If Ike, the costliest storm in the state's history at the time, had hit just a little farther down the coast, sophisticated storm models show it would've sent an even more devastating swell of water into the heavily populated and industrialized Galveston Bay area.
history and we will lose the entirety of Galveston Bay."
But as the examples of Galveston, San Francisco, and many other disasters in American history show, local private and public responses are not only capable of, but almost always far more effective at, handling such crises.
"Some have stayed to try to pick up their cars from Galveston. Our situation isn't half as bad as theirs.
The long and bitter dispute at the Galveston Bay Refinery was over changes Marathon sought to long-standing policies at the refinery, which the company bought from BP Plc BP.L two years ago.
Visit the Galveston Railroad Museum (
Formerly the Galveston Beach Hotel, the property has concluded a multi-million dollar renovation that includes a total redesign of the lobby, food and beverage outlets, public spaces, meeting and event areas and guest rooms, as well as new furniture and decor throughout the hotel.
Surface water from Lake Livingston became available to the Houston Ship Channel area and the coastal area of Galveston in late 1976 [4].
It had been painted with the markings of the Galveston Gal, a tribute to the World War II fighter group of a Galveston native.
"As we move into the heart of hurricane season, the new location will put us in a much better position to react quickly should a natural disaster hit the Gulf Coast." The Galveston County Food Bank will also use a portion of the climate-controlled space to store donated foodstuff.
After a nine-hour flight from Heathrow to Houston, I was in Galveston to begin a six-day trip aboard Carnival Cruise Lines' largest ship, Magic, for a voyage around the western Caribbean from its new home port.

Full browser ?