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), with an estimated population of 50,180 in 2015, is the county seat of surrounding Galveston County and second-largest municipality in the county.It is also within the Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area at its southern end on the northwestern coast of the Gulf of Mexico.The Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca and his crew were shipwrecked on the island or nearby in November 1528, As Anglo-Americans migrated to the city, they brought along or purchased enslaved African-Americans, some of whom worked domestically or on the waterfront, including on riverboats.In 1839, the City of Galveston adopted a charter and was incorporated by the Congress of the Republic of Texas.The city subsequently reemerged during the Prohibition era of 1919–1933 as a leading tourist hub and a center of illegal gambling nicknamed the Free State of Galveston until this era ended in the 1950s with subsequent other economic and social development.Much of Galveston's economy is centered in the tourism, health care, shipping, and financial industries.

Galveston's first European settlements on the Galveston Island were built around 1816 by French pirate Louis-Michel Aury to help the fledgling Republic of Mexico fight for independence from Spain, along with other colonies in the Western Hemisphere of the Americas in Central and South America in the 1810s and 1820s.Its position on the natural harbor of Galveston Bay along the Gulf of Mexico made it the center of trade in Texas.It was one of the nation's largest cotton ports, in competition with New Orleans.In the late 1890s, the government constructed Fort Crockett defenses and coastal artillery batteries in Galveston and along the Bolivar Roads.In February 1897, the USS Texas (nicknamed Old Hoodoo), the first commissioned battleship of the United States Navy, visited Galveston.

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