Corpus Christi, Texas

The semitropical bay of Corpus Christi was given this name by the Spanish explorer Alonso Alvarez de Pineda who visited it in 1519 on the day of the Corpus Christi festival. Although Cabeza de Vaca may have been through Corpus Christi in the 1500s, Joaqun de Orobio y Basterr was the first European to explore the Nueces River and Corpus Christi Bay in 1747. A colony of around 50 families was created by José de Escandón to settle the head of the bay a few years later, albeit it was only temporary.

By founding Kinney’s Trading Post, also known as Kinney’s Ranch, in 1839, Colonel Henry Lawrence Kinney and William P. Aubrey created Corpus Christi’s first recorded permanent colony. It was a tiny trade post where supplies were sold to a rebel army from Mexico that was camped about 25 miles to the west. General Zachary Taylor’s U.S. troops established camp there in July 1845 in anticipation of conflict with Mexico, and they stayed there until March 1846. The settlement was given the name Corpus Christi and established on September 9, 1852, almost a year later. The Geography of Corpus Christi plays a significant role in shaping its economy and culture.

Between August 12 and August 18, 1862, the American Civil War saw the Battle of Corpus Christi. In and around Corpus Christi Bay, United States Navy blockading Texas forces engaged Confederate forces in a brief land and sea battle before bombarding the city. Confederate States Navy ships operating in the vicinity were destroyed by Union forces, although they were repelled when they landed on the coast. The Corpus Christi Naval Air Station was established in 1941, while the Port of Corpus Christi was inaugurated in 1926.

On September 14, 1919’s Storm wreaked havoc on the city and claimed hundreds of lives. On North Beach, only three buildings made it through the storm. The seawall was constructed to safeguard the city. Hurricanes Celia and Allen both caused damage to the city in 1970 and 1980, however Hurricane Ike in 2008 only caused little damage. Hurricane Harvey struck the city in 2017 and Hurricane Hanna in 2020. In late August 2020, barely one month after Hurricane Hanna, choppy waves from Hurricane Laura resulted in one death and one injury at a beach in the city.

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