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Galveston Island

Galveston Island is a barrier island on the Texas Gulf coast about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Houston. The entire island, with the exception of the little Village of Jamaica Beach, is within the city limits of the City of Galveston.

The island is about 27 miles (43 kilometers) long and no more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) wide at its widest point. The island is oriented generally northeast-southwest, with the Gulf of Mexico on the east and south, West Bay on the west, and Galveston Bay on the north. The island's main access point from the mainland is the Interstate Highway 45 causeway that crosses West Bay on the northeast side of the island. The far north end of the island is separated from the Bolivar Peninsula by Galveston Harbor, the entrance to Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel. Ferry service is available between Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula. The southern end of the island is separated from the mainland by San Luis Pass. The San Luis Pass-Vacek Toll Bridge connects the San Luis Pass Road on Galveston Island with the Bluewater Highway that leads south into the town of Surfside Beach.

The island was probably first discovered by Europeans in 1518, when Juan de Grijalva explored the Gulf Coast for the Spanish government, and was probably visited by Alonso Álvarez de Pineda in 1520. Galveston Island was variously known to Spanish navigators as Isla Blanca, San Luis Island, and Isla de Aranjuez.

The great storm of 1900 devastated the island, killing 5000 to 10,000 people, and prompted the construction of the seawall which protects the northern half of the island.

For high speed connections, here's a file that plays on Windows Media Player in 640 x 480 size.
Click on the picture to start the video.
 (See further down page for smaller file for those without high speed connection.)

Houses on the shore are built on stilts, to help protect against a hurricane.
Galveston Island house Galveston Island house
Here is a smaller video file for those on dial-up connection. Click on the picture to start the video.

click to start video