Cordero, also found in the Portuguese form 'Cordeiro', is probably either a baptismal name of endearment or it is a nickname and if so one of slightly robust medieval origins. Eitherway it derives from the Latin 'cordus' meaning 'young' plus 'aries' - the ram, and the translation is either 'the little lamb' or the 'young ram' or possibly the 'son of the ram!'. There are claims that the name is a descriptive metonymic for a shepherd, and this is a possibility, except that usually shepherds look after all the sheep, not just the young lambs as suggested by the name. 'Robust' surnames which relate to extremes of prowess in the area of sociability, were proudly born in the medieval period, and many have survived to this day, although the origin meaning is now forgotten. What is certain is that nameholders held many important posts in both Spain and Portugal, the coats of arms granted to 'Cordero de Castille' being per fesse red and green, in chief a gold castle with three turrets, implying that the name holder was of great strength and able to resist all attackers, whilst in base are two white arab horses palewise, implying speed and wisdom. Early recordings in the Iberian Peninsula of Spain and Portugal include on March 16th 1618, Gabriel Castro Cordero, the son of Pedro Cordero, christened at St Nicholas de Bari, Valladolid, Spain, and Maria Cordero, christened at Aguilar de Campos, Valladolid, on October 25th 1654. An early recording in America is that of Pedro Cordero, who married Maria Antonia Valuenza at Santa Barbara, California, on May 26th 1820. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Antonio Cordero, which was dated May 1st 1511, married at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, during the reign of King Ferdinand V of Castille and Spain, 1479 - 1512. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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