Created in 1710, Capas is among the oldest towns of Tarlac together with Bamban (1710), Paniqui (1574) and Tarlac (1686). Its creation was justified by numerous settlements which were already established in the river banks of Cutcut River since the advent of the eighteenth century. The settlements belonged to the domain of Pagbatuan and Gudya; two sitios united by Capitan Mariano Capiendo when he founded the municipality.
Historical records suggest three versions on how Capas got its name. The first version, as told, was originated from capas-capas, the “edible flower” similar to that of the caturay or the melaguas that abundantly grew along the Cutcut river banks. The second version, accordingly, was adapted from a “cotton tree” called capas, in Aeta dialect. The third version suggested that it was derived from the first three letters of the surnames of the town’s early settlers, namely: Capitulo, Capitly, Capiendo, Capuno, Caponga, Capingian, Caparas, Capera, Capunpue, Capit, Capil, Capunfuerza, Capunpun, Caputol, Capul and Capan. Assertively, they were called “caps” or “capas” in the local language.
Between 1946-1951, registered barangays of Capas were Lawy, O’Donnell, Aranguren, Sto. Domingo, Talaga, Sta. Lucia, Bueno, Sta. Juliana, Sampucao, Calingcuan, Dolores and Manga, which were the 12 barrios during Late President Elpidio Quirino issued the Executive Order No. 486 providing “for the collection and compilation of historical data regarding barrios, towns, cities and provinces.”
Today, Capas constitutes 20 barangays including all 12 except Calingcuan was changed to Estrada, Sampucao to Maruglu, Sto. Domingo was divided in two and barangays such as Sta. Rita, Sto. Rosario, Cristo Rey, Cubcub, Cutcut I & II, and Talaga were added.