When first explored by Europeans, the island was an Akokisa site. The Karankawa tribe used it for hunting and fishing. Pirate Jean Laffite established a settlement here in 1817. During the Texas Revolution, the harbor served as the port for the Texas Navy. Early years gave the city many firsts in Texas: first Roman Catholic convent, first electric lights and first medical college. In 1900, the island was devastated by a hurricane. A seawall was built two years later. Galveston is home to the University of Texas Medical Branch, Texas A&M University at Galveston and Galveston College. Many boats are available for bay or offshore fishing. Make reservations at Piers 18 and 19 and Galveston Yacht Basin. For more information, call 888/425-4753 or visit Annual events include Mardi Gras! Galveston in February, FeatherFest and The Grand Kids Festival in April, AIA Sandcastle Competition and Juneteenth in June, Lone Star Motorcycle Rally in November and Dickens on the Strand in December.