Elm Street at night, January 1942
Preceded by thousands of years of varying
people inhabited the Dallas area before Spanish colonists claimed the territory of Texas in the 18th century as a part of the
Viceroyalty of New Spain. Later, France also
claimed the area but never established much settlement.
In 1819, the
Adams-Onís Treaty between the United States and Spain defined the
Red River as the northern boundary of
New Spain, officially placing the future location of Dallas well within Spanish territory.
 The area remained under Spanish rule until 1821, when Mexico declared independence from Spain, and the area was considered part of the Mexican state of
Coahuila y Tejas. In 1836, Texians, with a majority of Anglo-American settlers, gained independence from Mexico and formed the
Republic of Texas.
Warren Angus Ferris surveyed the area around present-day Dallas.
John Neely Bryan established a permanent settlement near the Trinity River named Dallas in 1841. The
origin of the name is uncertain. The general consensus is that the city was named after either
Dallas, Scotland or after
Sen. George Mifflin Dallas of
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Other potential theories for the origin include his brother,
Commodore Alexander James Dallas, as well as brothers Walter R. Dallas or James R. Dallas.
 The Republic of Texas was annexed by the United States in 1845 and
Dallas County was established the following year. Dallas was formally incorporated as a city on February 2, 1856.
With the construction of railroads, Dallas became a business and trading center and was booming by the end of the 19th century. It became an industrial city, attracting workers from Texas, the South, and the Midwest. The
Praetorian Building of 15 stories, built in 1909, was the first
skyscraper west of the Mississippi and the tallest building in Texas for some time. It marked the prominence of Dallas as a city. A racetrack for Thoroughbreds was built and their owners established the Dallas Jockey Club. Trotters raced at a track in
Fort Worth, where a similar Drivers Club was based. The rapid expansion of population increased competition for jobs and housing.
In 1921, the Mexican president Álvaro Obregón along with the former revolutionary general visited downtown Dallas's Mexican Park in
Little Mexico, the small park was located on the corner of Akard and Caruth Street, site of the current Fairmount Hotel.
 The small neighborhood of
Little Mexico was home to the Hispanic population that had come to Dallas due to factors like the American Dream, better living conditions or the
On November 22, 1963, President
John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Elm Street while his motorcade passed through
Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas. The upper two floors of the building from which alleged
Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy, the
Texas School Book Depository, have been converted into a historical museum covering the former president's life and accomplishments.
On July 7, 2016,
multiple shots were fired at a peaceful protest in downtown Dallas, held against the police killings of two black men from other states. The gunman, later identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, began firing at police officers at 8:58 p.m., killing five officers and injuring nine. Two bystanders were also injured. This marked the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the
September 11 attacks. Johnson told police during a standoff that he was upset about recent police shootings of black men and wanted to kill whites, especially white officers. After hours of negotiation failed, police resorted to a robot-delivered bomb, killing Johnson inside
El Centro College. The shooting occurred in an area of hotels, restaurants, businesses, and residential apartments only a few blocks away from