Institute of Texan Cultures' Texans Series
The first Greeks to arrive in Texas were adventurers! Captain Nicholas was a young Greek pirate who sailed as a part of Jean LaFitte’s buccaneer fleet and settled on Galveston Island in 1842. Galveston became one of Texas’s leading seaports in the 19th century and attracted Greek settlers who worked as fishermen, sailors and merchants.
Later, some Greeks came to Texas to escape religious persecution and warfare. In 1923, the Lausanne Treaty ended fighting between Greece and Turkey that had been going on since 1919. The treaty forced people of Greek and Turkish descent to resettle to new areas based on their religious beliefs. 1.3 million Christian Greeks were expelled from Turkey, while 500,000 Muslims were forced out of Greece. Some of the Greeks that lost their homes and property moved to Texas.
Today, Greek communities can be found across Texas! Major cities, such as San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston, have large Greek populations, as well as Galveston, Waco, Austin, Wichita Falls, El Paso, Port Arthur, and San Angelo.