inland port city, seat (1836) of Harris county, southeastern Texas, U.S., linked by the Houston Ship Channel to the Gulf of Mexico and the Intracoastal Waterway at Galveston, 51 miles (82 km) southeast. It is the state's largest city, and its skyscrapers rise from the unrelieved flat Gulf Coastal Plain, which has an altitude of 41 feet (12 metres). The first settlement in the area, Harrisburg (1826), was destroyed in April 1836 by the Mexican general Antonio Lpez Santa Anna in pursuit of Sam Houston and the Texas Army. A week later, outside the present city at the Battle of San Jacinto, Santa Anna was captured, and Texas was freed. In August 1836 New York land speculators, the brothers Augustus C. and John K. Allen, bought a site near burned-out Harrisburg and began advertising the place as the future great interior commercial emporium of Texas. Two months later John Allen persuaded the first Congress of the Republic of Texas, in session at Columbia, to move to his town, named for the first elected president, Sam Houston. The maneuver was later denounced, and the government stayed there only two years (183739). Mud-bogged and beset by yellow-fever epidemics, the town grew slowly as a cotton-shipping port; during the Civil War it became a haven for blockade runners. Briefly threatened in 1862 when federal forces captured Galveston Island (which was soon recaptured by the Confederates), Houston, in 1863, became the headquarters for the Confederacy's Trans-Mississippi Department (Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona). The city developed as a rail centre, with 12 railways by 1891; and, after the Galveston hurricane and flood in 1900, it emerged as the state's leading port. The first dock was built in 1840, and widening and deepening of Buffalo Bayou (now part of the Houston Ship Channel) was begun in 1869. By the early 1980s the port, third largest in the United States in tonnage moved, was handling more than 80 million tons of foreign, coastal, and canal shipping annually. Oil, discovered in the area in 1901, brought considerable industrial development, triggering the city's expansion and prosperity. Houston is now a leading oil and petrochemical centre, the focal point for networks of natural gas pipelines, and an aerospace research and development centre. Immense resources of oil, natural gas, sulfur, lime, salt, and water have created one of the world's greatest concentrations of industries along the ship channel. Southeast near Clear Lake, 22 miles from the city's downtown area, is the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (1961), which is the command post for the flights by U.S. astronauts. The area around Houston is also important for rice, cotton, and cattle. Astrodome, Houston, Texas, 1965. Among the many colleges and universities in the area are Rice University (1891), the University of Houston (1927), Houston Baptist University (1960), Texas Southern University (1947), and the University of St. Thomas (1947). The Texas Medical Center (organized 1945) is an immense complex of hospitals, medical schools (including the Baylor College of Medicine ), and research institutions. Houston is one of the few American cities having a professional symphony orchestra and resident professional companies in ballet, opera, and theatre. The Houston Civic Center includes the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts (opened in 1966 and the home of the Houston Symphony Orchestra , the Grand Opera Association, and the Ballet Foundation), the National Space Hall of Fame, and the Alley Theater (1968). The city's Astrodomain, a lavish entertainment complex built in the 1960s, includes the Astrodome, a plastic-domed, air-conditioned stadium (see photograph) that is home to the Astros (professional baseball team), the Astrohall (a large exhibition centre and the site of livestock shows, rodeos, and the circus), and the Astroworld (a theme amusement park). Hermann Park is the site of the Zoological Gardens, the Museum of Natural Science, and the Burke Baker Planetarium; other notable institutions in Houston include the Museum of Fine Arts and the Contemporary Arts Museum. The Houston Intercontinental Airport was opened in 1969. Inc. 1837. Pop. (1990) city, 1,630,864; Houston PMSA, 3,321,926; Houston-Galveston-Brazoria CMSA, 3,731,029; (1994 est.) city, 1,702,086; (1995 est.) Houston PMSA, 3,710,844; Houston-Galveston-Brazoria CMSA, 4,164,393.
Meaning of HOUSTON in English
Britannica English vocabulary. Английский словарь Британика. 2012