History of Dallas
The area of present-day Dallas was originally inhabited by the Caddo people. In 16th century it was claimed as a part of Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain and later also claimed by the French, however in 1819, with the Adams-Onis Treaty, it was definitely made part of the Spanish territory, whose northern boundary was the Red River. When Mexico declared independence from Spain in 1821, Dallas became part of the state of Coahuila y Tejas. The Republic of Texas then declared independence from Mexico in 1836. Dallas was surveyed three years later and the city was officially founded in 1841. Four years later, the Republic of Texas officially became part of the Union and a U.S. state and Dallas County was established in 1846. Dallas was finally incorporated as a city in 1856.
The single most important event in the history of Dallas was the assassination of president John F. Kennedy on November 22 1963. The president was shot while passing through Dealey Plaza in his motorcade and was declared dead in the emergency room of the Parkland Hospital. This tragic event of the American history was memorialized by the Kennedy Memorial located nearby and by the Sixth Floor Museum of the Texas School Book Depository from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot the president.
Geography and Climate
Dallas extends to five counties: Dallas (of which it is the seat), Collin, Denton, Kaufman and Rockwall. The city, as well as the surrounding area, is flat, lying at 450 ft. to 550 ft. above sea level. The city was founded on the crossing of the Trinity River, the largest waterway in the city. The river is surrounded by levees which protect the city from flooding. The river was rerouted in 1920 and it has been basically just a drainage ditch ever since. The other significant body of water in Dallas is White Rock Lake, an artificial reservoir constructed in early 20th century. The lake and its park are popular recreational destinations for local residents. Other, although smaller lakes, include Bachman Lake, Lake Ray Hubbard, Mountain Creek Lake and North Lake.
Climate in Dallas is humid subtropical. The summers are warm but occasionally also very hot. Winters are mild, rarely very cold. Springs and autumns are mild and pleasant, although severe weather, especially hail and thunderstorms, are typical for springtime in Dallas. The city lies near the heart of the Tornado Alley and tornados actually pose the biggest natural threat.
The architecture in Dallas is predominantly modernist and postmodernist. Some of the notable buildings in the city include Reunion Tower, the JFK Memorial, Symphony Center, Dallas City Hall, Fountain Place, Comerica Bank Tower and Bank of America (the tallest building in the city).
In 2010, Dallas had a population of 1,197,816. The racial makeup was 42.4% Hispanic or Latino, 28.8% non-Hispanic White, 25% Black or African American, 2.9% Asian, 0.7% Native American and 2.6% biracial. Dallas is a major destination for Mexican immigrants, both legal and illegal.
Economy of Dallas
Historically, the economy in Dallas used to rely mostly on cotton and, later, on petroleum. In the 20th century the economy became more diversified and after the World War II it focused on communications, engineering and manufacturing. The region has a high concentration of telecommunication companies, such as Texas Instruments, Nortel Networks, Alcatel Lucent, AT&T, Ericsson, Fujitsu and many more. Real estate is also an important sector, although today not as much as it used to be in the 1980s.
Top companies with headquarters in Dallas include AT&T, Dean Foods, Texas Instruments, Southwest Airlines, Energy Future Holdings Corporation, Tenet Healthcare, Affiliated Computer Services, Energy Transfer Equity, Celanese and Atmos Energy. There are also many major companies with headquarters in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, such as 7-Eleven, Neiman Marcus, American Airlines, RadioShack, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Fossil and others.
Culture and Arts
Dallas has a rich cultural and artistic life. The Art District section in Downtown Dallas is home to the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Wind Symphony, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Dallas Opera and the Texas Ballet Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center and other important cultural institutions.
Deep Ellum, a district just east of Downtown, was a major jazz and blues hotspot in the 1920s and 1930s, when musicians such as Leadbelly, Robert Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson used to play there. Today, it is home to a large artistic community and also famous for many fine examples of the graffiti art.
As for the religion, Dallas is predominantly Protestant, with large Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist communities. It is also often considered to be the “Prison Ministry Capitol of the World,” due to its large prison ministry community. The Catholic Church is also strong in the city. Furthermore, Dallas has the largest Jewish population of all cities in Texas, as well as large LDS, Muslim, and Sikh communities. In addition, Dallas is believed to be the home of the world’s largest Christian LGBT church, the Cathedral of Hope.
Important annual events in Dallas include State Fair of Texas, the Red River Shootout (University of Texas at Austin versus University of Oklahoma, played at the Cotton Bowl), Cinco de Mayo festivities and Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.
Dallas has its own cuisine, based primarily on barbecue and authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes. Frozen margarita is probably the most famous product of culinary scene in Dallas.
Education in Dallas
Notable institutions of higher education in Dallas include Southern Methodist University in Dallas, University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas Baptist University, Paul Quinn College, Dallas Christian College, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical College, the University of North Texas at Dallas and others.
As for the sports, Dallas is home to the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Dallas Mavericks (NBA), Dallas Stars (NHL) and Texas Rangers (MLB).