Galveston was named after Bernardo de Galvez. He was the governor of Spanish Louisiana. After 1779, when Spain entered in the American Revolutionary War, Galvez recruited Spaniards, Creoles, Native Americans, and African-Americans and fought against the British during the war.
Galveston is home to the Moody Gardens and the headquarters of the Moody National Bank.
On the evening of September 7 1900, winds arose that heralded the arrival of a hurricane that struck the island early in the morning of September 8 and lasting through to September 9, 1900. Wind speed reached up to 155 mph, although no one knows for sure because the anemometer blew off of the National Weather Service building. The island was devestated and an estimated 6,000 to 12,000 people were killed. See the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900.
Previous to the major storm, Galveston was a beautiful and prestigious city, and was known as "the New York of the South." Only the nation's wealthiest were allowed to live here. Many people say that had it not been for the Storm of 1900, Galveston would be one of the nation's biggest and most beautiful cities.
A warning was given by Isaac Monroe Cline, which may have prevented the deaths of many more people. Because of the storm, the Galveston Seawall was built, the entire grade of Galveston was raised, the Commission Form of City Government was formed, women received greater roles in public affairs, and the Houston Ship Channel was built.
The storm also caused survivors to move inland, into the city of Houston. Although Galveston is a anchor city for the Houston Metropolitan Area, it has largely been overshadowed by the city of Houston.
Many Houstonians have beach houses in Galveston or elsewhere in Galveston county. Houstonians sometimes go into beach houses during the summer, or simply drive to Galveston to enjoy the local beach.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 539.6 km² (208.4 mi²). 119.5 km² (46.2 mi²) of it is land and 420.1 km² (162.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 77.85% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 57,247 people, 23,842 households, and 13,732 families residing in the city. The population density is 478.9/km² (1,240.4/mi²). There are 30,017 housing units at an average density of 251.1/km² (650.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 58.66% White, 25.49% African American, 0.42% Native American, 3.21% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 9.73% from other races, and 2.41% from two or more races. 25.77% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 23,842 households out of which 26.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.6% are married couples living together, 16.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 42.4% are non-families. 35.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.30 and the average family size is 3.03.
In the city the population is spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 11.3% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 93.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $28,895, and the median income for a family is $35,049. Males have a median income of $30,150 versus $26,030 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,275. 22.3% of the population and 17.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 32.1% are under the age of 18 and 14.2% are 65 or older.