Palmetto was founded in 1866 by Samuel Sparks Lamb and named in honor or his native state of South Carolina—the 'Palmetto State.' Water brought the first settlers and soon, yachtsmen and shippers discovered the allure of the mile-wide Manatee River. Fertile ground and a suitable climate attracted hearty young couples willing to accept the challenge of building a new community. In 1897, Florida's governor signed the charter declaring Palmetto a city in the Sunshine State. ... more.Palmetto and the region soon earned a reputation for its hospitality and abundant agricultural production. A nexus of modern highways, railroads, international airports and seaports puts the City of Palmetto in the very heart of Florida's most desirable place to live. Nearly 3 million Floridians live within a 50-mile radius of Palmetto, creating the state's most stable marketplace and work force. Nine public and private universities and colleges are within 45-minutes of the city, along with many of Florida's most noted attractions, museums and beaches.