Corpus Christi was founded in 1839 by Colonel Henry Lawrence Kinney as Kinney's Trading Post, or Kinney's Ranch. It was a small trading post to sell supplies to a Mexican revolutionary army camped about 25 miles (40 km) west. In July 1845, U.S. troops commanded by General Zachary Taylor set up camp there in preparation for war with Mexico, where they remained until March 1846. Approximately one year later, the city was named Corpus Christi and was incorporated on 9 September 1852.
The Port of Corpus Christi was opened in 1926 and the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station was commissioned in 1941.
The city suffered damage from Hurricane Celia in 1970 and Hurricane Allen in 1980.