About This Place
Palacios ( /pəlæʃəs/ pə-lash-əs) is a city in Matagorda County, Texas, United States. The population was 5,153 at the 2000 census.
Popular local legend states that the area was named Tres Palacios ("Three Palaces") 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. The name is pronounced to rhyme with "splashes," unlike the original Spanish pronunciation.
The 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.