La Bahía, literally "the bay," is a term with multiple meanings in Texas history. Various sites on the Gulf Coast were so designated. The Spanish came to use the name as a short form of La Bahía del Espíritu Santo, or Bay of the Holy Spirit, now called Matagorda Bay and Lavaca Bay, bounded by present Calhoun, Victoria, Jackson, and Matagorda counties. (In 1519 Alonso Álvarez de Pineda called the Mississippi River the Río del Espíritu Santo, and others extended the name to the bay.) The official application of the name to Matagorda and Lavaca bays occurred during the Spanish search for the French colony planted by René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle.
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