Goliad, Texas

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Goliad, Texas
Historic district of downtown Goliad, Texas; the Von Dohlen Building is named for an early settler.
Historic district of downtown Goliad, Texas; the Von Dohlen Building is named for an early settler.
Motto: "Birthplace Of Texas Ranching"[1]
Location of Goliad, Texas
Location of Goliad, Texas
Coordinates: 28°40′N 97°24′W / 28.667°N 97.400°W / 28.667; -97.400Coordinates: 28°40′N 97°24′W / 28.667°N 97.400°W / 28.667; -97.400
Country United States
State Texas
County Goliad
 • Total 1.5 sq mi (4.0 km2)
 • Land 1.5 sq mi (4.0 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 164 ft (50 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 1,908
 • Density 1,272/sq mi (477/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 77963
Area code(s) 361
FIPS code 48-30080[2]
GNIS feature ID 1358133[3]
Website http://www.goliadtx.net/

Goliad is a city in Goliad County, Texas, United States. It had a population of 1,975 at the 2000 census. Founded on the San Antonio River, it is the county seat of Goliad County.[4] It is part of the Victoria, Texas, Metropolitan Statistical Area. Goliad is located on U.S. Highway 59 (Future Interstate 69W), named also for the late U.S. Senator Lloyd M. Bentsen.


The chapel at the Presidio La Bahia


In 1747, the Spanish government sent José de Escandón to inspect the northern frontier of its North American colonies, including Spanish Texas. In his final report, Escandón recommended the Presidio La Bahia be moved from its Guadalupe River location to the banks of the San Antonio River, so it could better assist settlements along the Rio Grande.[5] Both the presidio and the mission it protected, Mission Nuestra Señora del Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga, likely moved to their new location in October 1749. Escandón proposed that 25 Mexican families be relocated near the presidio to form a civilian settlement, but he was unable to find enough willing settlers.[6]

With the conclusion of the Seven Years' War in 1763, France ceded Louisiana and its claims to Texas to Spain.[7] With France no longer a threat to the Crown's North American interests, the Spanish monarchy commissioned the Marquis de Rubi to inspect all of the presidios on the northern frontier of New Spain and make recommendations for the future.[8] Rubi recommended that several presidios be closed, but that La Bahia be kept and rebuilt in stone. La Bahia was soon "the only Spanish fortress for the entire Gulf Coast from the mouth of the Rio Grande to the Mississippi River".[9] The presidio was at the crossroads of several major trade and military routes. It quickly became one of the three most important areas in Texas, alongside Béxar and Nacogdoches.[9] A civil settlement, then known as La Bahia, soon developed near the presidio. By 1804, the settlement had one of only two schools in Texas.[10]

In early August 1812, during the Mexican War of Independence, Mexican revolutionary Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara and his recruits, called the Republican Army of the North, invaded Texas.[11] In November, the invaders captured Presidio La Bahia.[12] For the next four months, Texas governor Manuel María de Salcedo laid siege to the fort.[13] Unable to win a decisive victory, Salcedo lifted the siege on February 19, 1813, and turned toward San Antonio de Bexar.[14] The rebels controlled the presidio until July or August 1813, when José Joaquín de Arredondo led royalist troops in retaking all of Texas.[15] Henry Perry, a member of the Republican Army of the North, led forces back to Texas in 1817 and attempted to recapture La Bahia. The Mexicans reinforced the presidio with soldiers from San Antonio, and defeated Perry's forces on June 18 near Coleto Creek.[15]

The area was invaded again in 1821. The United States and Spain signed the Adams-Onís Treaty, giving all rights to Texas to Spain. On October 4, the 52 members of the Long Expedition captured La Bahia. Four days later, Colonel Ignacio Pérez arrived with troops from Bexar; Long surrendered.[16] By the end of 1821, Mexico had achieved its independence from Spain, and Texas became part of the newly created country.[17]


In 1829, the name of the Mexican Texas village of La Bahía was changed to Goliad, believed to be an anagram of Hidalgo (omitting the silent initial "H"), in honor of the patriot priest Miguel Hidalgo, the father of Mexico's independence.[18]

On October 9, 1835, in the early days of the Texas Revolution, a group of Texans attacked the presidio in the Battle of Goliad. The Mexican garrison quickly surrendered, leaving the Texans in control of the fort. The first declaration of independence of the Republic of Texas was signed here on December 20, 1835. Texans held the area until March 1836, when their garrison under Colonel James Fannin was defeated at the nearby Battle of Coleto. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, then President of Mexico, ordered that all survivors were to be executed. On Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836, in what was later called the Goliad Massacre, 303 were marched out of the fort to be executed, 39 were executed inside the presidio (20 prisoners were spared because they were either physicians or medical attendants); 342 men were killed and 28 escaped.[19]

In 1829, Goliad was the birthplace of the famous Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza, commander against the French Army in the battle of Puebla, now celebrated as Cinco de Mayo on May 5, 1862.[20]

The Texas gunfighter King Fisher lived for a time in Goliad before moving to Eagle Pass in Maverick County.

1902 tornado[edit]

The 1902 Goliad, Texas tornado outbreak devastated the town, killing 114 people, including Sheriff Robert Shaw. It is tied for the deadliest tornado in Texas history and the 10th-deadliest in the United States.[21]


The San Antonio River flows through Goliad.

Goliad is located at 28°40′N 97°24′W / 28.667°N 97.400°W / 28.667; -97.400 (28.669, -97.392).[22]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2), all of it land.


As of the census[2] of 2000, 1,975 people, 749 households, and 518 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,294.3 people per square mile (498.4/km²). There were 877 housing units at an average density of 574.7 per square mile (221.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.44% White, 6.08% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 14.99% from other races], and 2.53% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 49.72% of the population.

Of the 749 households, 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.7% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.8% were not families. About 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the city, the population was distributed as 26.3% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 20.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,200, and for a family was $33,438. Males had a median income of $28,889 versus $20,167 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,997. About 19.7% of families and 23.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.5% of those under age 18 and 17.6% of those age 65 or over.


The Goliad Independent School District [1] serves Goliad.


  • The Texas Mile, a weekend motorsports racing festival, used to be held at the Goliad Airport near Berclair, TX, but the field has since been reclaimed by the Navy as a training field. The event is now held in Beeville, TX, at a local airport.
  • Goliad Market Days (held on the second Saturday of every month) is an event where produce, arts and crafts, and other retail items are sold.

Notable Residents[edit]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Goliad has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[23]


  1. ^ "City of Goliad Texas". City of Goliad Texas. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ Roell (1994), p. 13.
  6. ^ Roell (1994), p. 14.
  7. ^ Weber (1992), p. 198.
  8. ^ Chipman (1992), p. 173.
  9. ^ a b Roell (1994), p. 15.
  10. ^ Roell (1994), p. 19.
  11. ^ Almaráz (1971), p. 159.
  12. ^ Almaráz (1971), p. 164.
  13. ^ Roell (1994), p. 20.
  14. ^ Almaráz (1971), p. 168.
  15. ^ a b Roell (1994), p. 21.
  16. ^ Roell (1994), p. 23.
  17. ^ Weber (1992), p. 300.
  18. ^ Jeri Robison Turner, "GOLIAD, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hjg05), accessed April 16, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  19. ^ Hardin (1994), pg. 174
  20. ^ "ZARAGOZA, IGNACIO SEGUIN," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fza04), accessed April 15, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  21. ^ Texas State Historical Commission, Goliad Tornado of 1902 Historical Marker 
  22. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  23. ^ Climate Summary for Goliad, Texas

External links[edit]