During the 19th century, Galveston became a major U.S. commercial center and one of the largest ports in the United States. It was for a time Texas' largest city, known as the "Queen City of the Gulf". It was devastated by the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, whose effects included flooding and a storm surge. The natural disaster on the exposed barrier island is still ranked as the deadliest in United States history, with an estimated death toll of 6,000 to 12,000 people. The city subsequently emerged during the Prohibition era as a leading tourist hub and a center of illegal gambling. This era ended in the 1950s.