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Palacios is a city in Matagorda County, Texas, United States. The population was 5,153 at the 2000 census.EtymologyPopular local legend states that the area was named Tres Palacios several centuries ago by shipwrecked Spanish sailors who claimed they saw a vision of three palaces on the bay. Historians believe it was more likely named for José Félix Trespalacios, an early Mexican governor of Texas. The town was originally called Trespalacios, but shortened its name due to a nearby post office already using the longer version.HistoryThe native inhabitants of the region were the Karankawa people, whose initial contact with Europeans came in the 16th century when Spanish expeditions first traversed their territory. In 1685, the area was explored by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, the leader of an ill-fated French settlement attempt whose flagship La Belle was wrecked in the bay the following year. In the 1820s, English-speaking settlers arrived and came into frequent conflict with the Karankawa, who were eventually driven out of the area.The future site of Palacios was ranch land until 1901, when it was put up for sale by the estate of the former owner, Abel "Shanghai" Pierce. The land was purchased by a development company, surveyed into lots, and with the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad and the establishment of the Texas Baptist Encampment, it rapidly grew into a seaside resort town. It was first settled as a community in 1903. City government was established in 1909, and by 1915, Palacios was home to more than 100 businesses, with a post office, library, weekly newspaper, numerous hotels, and churches, as well as a large entertainment pavilion built on a pier in the bay.Plan how to spend your time in Palacios and other destinations in United States using our United States trip planner.
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