Houston is the fourth biggest city of the United States. Located in the Harris County in southeastern Texas and quite close to the Gulf of Mexico, the moniker of the city stems from an honorable commander named Sam Houston, who led the Texan troops to achieve independence during the San Jacinto Battle. In the dawn of its existence, the city grew slowly since its economy was primarily based on cotton transportation. Today, this is one of the country's major cotton producing regions. By 1869, thanks to the improvement of its canals and the development of railroad, the burg became a transportation linkage towards southeastern Texas. Currently, Houston's harbor ranks among the first port facilities in handling overseas goods and merchandise. As far as tourism is concerned, the city sports a dynamic blend of imagination, talent and first-class attractions that turns this city into a sought-after tourist destination worldwide. Its roughly 2 million people stands for one of the most upbeat and joyful populations across the U.S. This is one of the few U.S. cities featuring performing and ballet companies of its own, as well as an opera house and a symphonic orchestra. All residents feel proudly about those artistic companies and kindly drag newcomers and visitors to enjoy the graciousness of a ballet performance, the passion of the opera and the latest theatricals. A good complement for all this art is the array of museums and galleries visited by over 4 million people every year. Downtown Houston got a new lease on life with the grand opening of Bayou Square, new restaurants -many of them have won international awards- and musical entertainment to cheer nights in the region. There're also lots of shopping malls and stores at your beck and call. Family relatives traveling together can have a great time at the AstroWorld and WaterWorld, as well as in Houston's Space Center in the south and Moody Gardens at Galveston featuring a huge pyramidal aquarium and two halls for IMAX shows. In the northern part of town, travelers will find Trader Village, one of the country's largest markets and the fabulous Mercer Arboretum Sanctuary. Houston can be reached by air, sea or land. For those who like flying, the George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the William P. Hobby Ellington Field are both close at hand. Arriving at Houston is just the beginning of a new sensation, even though it might not be your first time ever in the city.


When Christopher Columbus's flagship, the Santa Maria, ran aground on Haitian reefs in 1492, the crew used its timbers to construct Fort Navidad, the island's earliest European structure. It was later destroyed by Arawak Indians.