Recorded as De Vegas, Vegas, Venegas, Benegas (Spanish), Viegas (Portugese), and possibly others, this is a surname which is probably of pre Christian Spanish origins. If so it may either locational from any of the places called Vega or Vegas, although the famous Los Vegas in the USA is not a candidate, being later than even the most recent surnames, or it could possibly be early Germanic. The Germans, through their infamous tribes the Huns and the Goths, in the 5th century defeated the Romans who at the time held most of Spain, until in turn they themselves were expelled by the Moors. Vega means a farm, and hence would have been topographical for somebody who lived at a farm in a fertile plain or valley. Residential surnames are usually "from" names. That is to say that they were surnames given to people who had left their original homes to move somewhere else, and were most easily identified by being called after that place. The surname is also a heraldic surname, with several coats of arms. Perhaps the best known has the blazon of a red field charged with a gold eagle displayed. Compared with British records, where the majority of surnames can be traced in public records back to to the Medieval period from the year 1066, Spain did not become a unified country until the 16th century, and Portugal whilst unified, was for centuries so poor that records are at best erratic or non existent. However at least with this surname we have a number of church recordings. These include Melchor de Vega at the church of Nuestra Sendra de la Antigua, Valladolid, Spain, on November 25th 1590, and Antonio Viegas and his wife Maria di Carmen who were baptism witnesses at Lisbon, on June 13th 1865.
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