Recorded in the spellings of Gallego, Gallegos, Galego, Gallico, and Gallicchio, this is a regional surname for a person who originated from the province of Galicia in Spain. Curiously the true origin of the surname may be German or Vizigoths, since in the 5th century a.d., the Goths and the Huns swept across Europe, conquering the Roman Empire and ultimately arriving in Spain. There they stopped for several centuries only leaving when they were ultimately defeated by the Moors and the Franks. Many of todays popular Spanish and Portuguese surnames such as Gonzales and Ramirez are reminders of this time in ancient history, and this surname is probably from the same period. The word 'gall' in most ancient languages means 'foreigner', and derives from the Latin 'gallus', although the word was also used to mean a cockerel. It seems most likely that the provincial name 'Gallicia' did recall a period in history when the area was taken over by invaders. In the former kingdom of Austro-Hungary there is a province called 'Gallicia', but this is an 18th century creation, and much too late to have provided any nameholders. Examples of the surname recording include Herrera Gallego, at Esquevilla de Esqueva, Valladolid, Spain, on November 26th 1598, Candida Gallicchio, of Calvera, Potenza, Italy, on November 19th 1646, and Pedro Gallegos, at Santa Maria Magdalena, Valladolid, Spain, on September 16th 1691. The coat of arms most associated with the surname has the blazon of per pale silver and red. In the first quarter a red lion rampant, in the second a tower proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Francisca Gonzales Gallego, which was dated October 7th 1553, born at Nuestra Senora de la Antigua, Valladolid, Spain, during the reign of King Charles 1st of Spain, Emperor of Mexico, 1516 - 1556. 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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