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Fourth Capital, Galveston

Galveston Island was the fourth capital of Texas. The Spanish discovered the island sometime in the 1500s. It wasn’t occupied by Europeans until the 1800s. Stephen F. Austin petitioned the Mexican Government in 1825 to establish Galveston as a port but the island remained unoccupied until 1830 when a Mexican customhouse was established. The Island came into play as a capital for only a very short period of time. After President Burnet and his cabinet had to escape Harrisburg on April 14 on a steamship, the ship came ashore at Galveston on April 26, 1836. They took refuge on the Island and made it the temporary capital of the new republic. Once news of the battle of San Jacinto reached Galveston, Mexican prisoners were sent there.

The painting was done by travel writer Charles Hooten who wrote an early account of the island in 1841. Image courtesy of Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas.