2 The Early History of Galveston.
Location: Thirty-six miles along the coast from southwest to northeast.
The South Channel separates the island from Pelican Island, and forms the
Latitude Galveston Bar, 39 18' N.
Longitude Galveston Bar, 94 47' W.
In 1518 Don Juan de Grijalva explored the gulf coast as far as the
Santander River. Two years later Alonzo Alverez de Pineda was nine
months exploring the gulf coasts. In 1827 an expedition was sent by Panfilio
de Nunez, Governor of Florida, which was wrecked on an island called
Malhardo, which was situated near the mouth of the Espiritu Santo or Holy
Spirit River. Whilst many believed this to have been the Mississippi River,
others claimed that one of the rivers near Galveston was also called by this
name and that Malhardo was Galveston. The island which was described
as being the prison place of Cabeza de Vaca and his companions, from
which Nunez and Oviedo escaped, resembled all other gulf isles. One hundred
years ago they were still sand keys and visited by bands of Indians,
and no proof can be adduced from the description which tallied with that
of all the islands on the Texas and Louisiana coasts. Perhaps the name
which was given in 1685, and which held good for over 100 years, is the
La Salle called Galveston Island, which he discovered, in honor of the
French King, "San Louis," a name it retained for many years. As late as
1821 the island was called San Louis by a New Orleans newspaper. The
Spaniards, however, when they acquired Texas with Mexico, called the
island Culebra or Snake Island, and the small sister isle then in existence
to the east Little Culebra Island. The name of San Loulis Island after 1825
was applied to the island west of Galveston Island./ The name of Galveston
Island was given after Lafitte called his settlemenT lalveztown in 1819.
The small Culebra island Lafitte renamed Campeachy. Galveston asfS not
named directly in honor of Bernado de Galvez, Governor of Mexico. 4-t--as
called the town in the territory of Galvez, which was a quartel or garrison
fort on the Trinity River, near Liberty, named after the famous governor.7
Said Galvez was the home of the Alcalde, who presided over the Trinity
River, the Bay of Galvez and its islands. New Orleans was called after the
territory of Orleans, in which it was located. The Spanish name, "Snake
Island," was given because the islands were infested by thousands of snakes.
~tan 1835 a hurricane filled up the pass through which Lafitte sailed his
Dyer, Joseph O. The early history of Galveston, by Dr. J. O. Dyer. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24651/. Accessed March 8, 2014.