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ESPIRITU SANTO BAY. Espiritu Santo Bay, between San Antonio Bay and Matagorda Bay in extreme southern Calhoun County (at 28°21' N, 96°32' W), forms the barrier between Matagorda Island and the mainland. The bay is sixteen miles long and five miles wide. It is surrounded by low ridges and swales covered by grass and oaks, oyster reefs, and tidal flats of mixed mud, sand, and shell where blue-green algae predominate. The name, Spanish for "Holy Spirit," was applied by early Spaniards to several locations on the Gulf Coast, but in Texas it was most generally used to apply to the Matagorda Bay area, especially to what is now Lavaca Bay, which was also called San Bernardo Bay.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

"ESPIRITU SANTO BAY," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 25, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.