Recorded in many spellings including Espada, Espadero (Spanish), Espasa (Catalan), Espee (France), Spada (Italian), and the Rumanian and later Russian, Spatarul, this is an occupational surname for a professional soldier or more specifically a swordsman. The word was originally applied as well to one who instructed in the noble arts of fencing and duelling. The name derives originally from the Ancient Greek 'spatha' through the later Roman (Latin) 'spathe', words which described a two edged sword, perhaps without a point.This is almost a contradiction of the later meaning of the surname, since fencing and duelling in the 'Age of Chivalry' from the 15th century was conducted with weapons where only the point was used offensively. This is certainly one name which is fully reflected in the coat of arms, see below. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from relevant church registers include Maria de Espanedo of Valladolid, Spain, on May 14th 1611, and Joseph Maria Espada, at Asuncion, Mexico, on July 15th 1774. Other recordings include Lorenzo Espara at San Diego, California, on Septmber 29th 1781, and Martines Espado at Santa Maria La Redonda, June 2nd 1836. The coat of arms, granted in Italy, has the very distinctive and appropriate blazon of a red field charged with two crossed broadswords, proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Antonio Spada, which was dated July 7th 1578, a witness at San Babila, Milano, Italy, during the reign of Emperor Rudolf 11 of the Holy Roman Empire, 1576 - 1612. 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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