With a population of 1.2 million, Dallas is the ninth most populous city in the United States and the third largest city in Texas. It is a major hub for business, finance, technology, and culture. Although Dallas is well poised to be a leader in many industries through the 21st Century, it still has ties to its colorful and interesting past.
The early establishment of Dallas
Hundreds of years ago, the area that we now call Dallas was populated by Caddo Native Americans. During the 16th century, the area became part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain as one of Spain’s territories.
In 1839, tradesman John Neely Bryan stumbled across the area, with the intention of establishing a trading post for Native American customers as well as permanent settlers. He plotted the area on the soon-to-be-built Preston Trail, then returned to his native Arkansas. While he was away, a treaty was made which removed all the existing Native Americans from north Texas. When Bryan returned, he found out that all of his Native American customers were gone. So he decided to put up a permanent trading post as well as a permanent settlement in November 1841, which is now present-day Dallas.
Dallas in the 19th and 20th century; the Texas Oil Boom
The Industrial Period (1874-1929) transformed Texas from a farming community into a major industrial center. The highlights during this period include the establishment of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad in 1880 that reached Dallas.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Texas saw some dramatic changes which greatly affected Dallas. Texas’ economy dramatically turned around due to the discovery of large petroleum reserves in the state’s eastern area. The Texas Oil Boom benefitted not only the state, but the entire country. Dallas became the financial hub for oil business in Texas as well as Oklahoma.
Also during this time, Mexicans came in droves from their home country to Dallas when their president, Porfirio Diaz, fell from power at the beginning of the Mexican Revolution. There, they began a permanent settlement as well as established their own businesses. Dallas’ economy continued to expand and became the center for trading cotton, grain, and even buffalo. Major banking institutions as well as insurance companies also did well.
During the second World War, Dallas converted into a war-time business and manufacturing center, supplying military trucks and jeeps. When the war ended, Texas continued on its growth track as it started to groom itself to be a major market for high-tech manufacturing. This period saw the establishment of companies such as LTV Corporation and Texas Instruments. Texas became the nation’s third-largest economic center during the 1950s. Today, Dallas has a strong presence in many international markets. Because of this, it is considered to be a “global city” or “alpha city” and is one of the few cities granted this status.
Dallas’ tale of national tragedy
Unfortunately not all of Dallas’ history was marked by success and peace. On November 22, 1963, the whole nation was devastated when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas while on a motorcade along with his wife, Jacqueline. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested in connection to the murder. He in turn was shot and murdered by Dallas nightclub operator Jack Ruby.
Rise as a major economic and technology hub
The 1970s was another period of economic growth. The real estate business was flourishing, with Dallas’ skyline dramatically changing with some of the most outstanding skyscrapers were built in the heart of the city. Dallas’ economy also greatly benefitted from another boom in the tech industry. Its computer and telecommunications business went into a vast expansion, making Dallas the “Silicon Prairie”. Dallas is still one of the economic powerhouses in the field of high- and new technology; its financial and industrial sectors still remain strong.
Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex
The Dallas County became part of the Dallas-Forth Worth metroplex, one of the biggest and fastest-rising metropolitan areas in the country. With its incorporation as one of the counties in the Metroplex, Dallas’ population soared further. The construction and rise of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport has made it one of the busiest world airports.
Aside from business and technology, Dallas also has a strong arts and culture community. Two of its most notable museums and theaters are the Dallas Museum of Art and The Winspear Opera House.
From its humble beginnings 150 years ago as a small settlement in the deep south, Dallas has grown tremendously. Now with over one million people calling it home, the future of Dallas remains promising and strong as it continues to lead the world in many markets and industries.