Showing posts from May, 2022

Geography of War - The Battle of Thermopylae

The Battle of Thermopylae (Greco-Persian Wars) Date:  Summer 480 BC Modern Location:  Central Greece Combatants:  Persian Achaemenid Empire (led by King Xerxes I) vs. Greek city-states (led by Sparta's King Leonidas) Summary:  In 490 BC, forces under Persia's King Darius the Great were halted during his attempt to control all of the Greek city-states at the Battle of Marathon - a rare defeat for the successful empire-builder.  Ten years later, Darius' son and successor personally led an even larger army in an attempt to subdue the unruly population which had created a coalition of forces led by the soldiers of Athens and Sparta.  While an accurate count of Persian soldiers will never be known, it is likely the force numbered close to one hundred thousand at the time of attack, with reinforcements of similar numbers on their way.  Against this onslaught, Sparta's King Leonidas formed a band to delay the invasion, including 300 of his own hoplites (trained soldiers equipp

Galveston County - Conclusion and a New Beginning

And so we've come to the end of our tour through Galveston County.  I hope you've enjoyed the journey and learned something new, and maybe even found a reason to get out and discover some of these communities for yourself.  Each town has such an interesting history and if you take the time to strike up some conversations, more often than not you'll love meeting the people that you encounter.  I've learned a lot over these months, and I'd love seeing your comments about what you'll remember most.  What was your favorite place, and did a particular event or person stand out to you?   As I look forward to the next phase of the Geographist blog, I've been trying to find a new topic to study and share.  So for the next several months it will be my goal to continue studying the past, but this time we'll dive into some military history.  Each culture has had memorable conflicts - battles that have changed the very course of civilization.  Many times the outcome

Galveston County - Galveston (Part 3: Hurricane to Modern Day)

The changes that were brought about by the hurricane that hit Galveston on September 8, 1900 simply cannot be overstated.  Formerly the largest city in the state of Texas, the most important port city along the Gulf Coast other than New Orleans was also home to the most mansions, millionaires, and modern amenities.  With a population over 36,000 people on an island that only rose 5' above sea level, the 120 mph winds were only the second-most destructive element of the hurricane.  A storm surge lifted the sea 15' in advance of the arriving storm, catching the sleeping city unaware, drowning thousands, and cutting off residents from the mainland.  Without any method of communication, it was two days before anyone was able to reach Houston in order to request aid for the ruined island community.  Bodies were so numerous that burial was impossible, and attempts were made to dump both humans and animals into sea.  After those remains once again washed ashore, massive funeral pyres

Galveston County - Galveston (Part 2: Independence to the Golden Era)

Welcome back to our continuing story of Galveston.  If you haven't already read Part 1 I'd encourage you to do so (after all, this post will still be here when you finish).  We left off with the Port of Galveston serving as an important location during the Texas war for independence in 1836, but a permanent city had not been established since the destruction of Jean Lafitte's Campeche settlement.  That all changed when a group of investors led by a former Canadian fur trader by the name of Michael B. Menard purchased land on the east end of Galveston Island for $50,000 to lay out a new town near the island's port.  By 1839 Galveston was born, incorporated by the Republic of Texas. Growth happened rapidly, as the largest port west of New Orleans was already a major immigration point by then.  A railroad bridge connecting the island to the mainland bolstered the value of Galveston's port by allowing the direct transfer of goods between railcars and oceangoing ships. 

Galveston County - Galveston (Part 1: Discovery to Independence)

To all of you who have been along for the entire tour of Galveston County, thank you for joining me for the trip!  We've finally reached the final stop, and because the city of Galveston, TX is a city with far too much history and too many stories to tell in one post we will take our time telling the tale of this fascinating location.  With a population of 54,774 according to the 2020 US Census, the county seat is the southernmost point of Galveston County and takes up the majority of Galveston Island.  Only 41.05 square miles of the total 211.72 are on land, leaving quite a bit of offshore territory.  Although the city is only 7 feet above sea level, it is protected from the Gulf of Mexico by a seawall that rises approximately 17 feet and extends for over 10 miles.  Separating FM 3005 (known as Seawall Boulevard) from the drop down to the beach is a strip of concrete that is said to be the longest continuous sidewalk in the world at 10.3 miles. When Spanish explorer Alvar Núñez Ca