Uncovered Texas

Galveston


West Galveston Island


Earliest known inhabitants of this area were the now extinct Karankawa Indians, alleged to be the only American tribe to practice cannibalism in rituals. Cabeza de Vaca was shipwrecked near here in 1528, and is credited as the first European to visit the island. He, and other explorers including La Salle, are known to have touched land in this area without harm from the Karankawas. However, buccaneer Jean Lafitte was not well received by the Indians and a major battle was engaged between the pirates and the natives. Stage coach service was once established between Galveston and Freeport, with West beach as highway, and a ferry at San Luis Pass. This area was a significant point of debarcation for slave traders who were prohibited from sailing directly into Galveston City's harbor although a major slave market existed there. Near the turn of the century a railroad carried hundreds of visitors to a race track near the center of the island, and an important lace manufactory was located here. The West Island is an important site for migratory shore birds, with more than 95% of America's species inhabiting the area during the year. Since 1957 West Island has rapidly become a major recreational and resort area with hundreds of leisure homes fronting Gulf, canals and bay.

Galveston, Texas

Galveston County

Year Erected: 1967

Marker Type: 27" x 42"

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