Houston was named after Sam Houston, general of the Texas army that won independence from Mexico, and president of the Republic of Texas. The city, largest in Texas and fourth largest in the nation, has experienced phenomenal growth since a small riverboat landing was established on Buffalo Bayou by the Allen brothers in August 1836. Today, SpaceCity USA is an industrial and financial hub for much of the state. Houston lies on I-10, a segment of the Ports to Plains Highway connecting the state's heartland to coastal ports.
Institutions of higher learning include Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Baptist University, Rice University, South Texas College of Law, South Texas Junior College, Texas Southern University, University of Houston, University of St. Thomas, and Universtiy of Texas Health Science Center.
Major annual events include the Freedom Over Texas in July; and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in March, the largest livestock exposition in the world. The Houston International Festival each April celebrates Houston's multiculturalism with a 10-day outdoor festival of multicultural music, dance, arts and crafts, and food.
Professional sports are presented throughout the year. Teams include the Houston Astros, baseball; Houston Rockets and the Houston Comets, basketball; Houston Texans, football; and the Houston Aeros, hockey.