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    13 Things You Should Know If Your Last Name Is García

    It's one of the most popular names in the Spanish-speaking world — but where does it come from, and what does it mean?

    1. The Garcías are the bosses of Spain; in that country, it's the most common last name.

    Alfanje / Via

    2. Around 1.5 million Spaniards have the surname García, which means there are 32 Garcías per every 1,000 residents.


    3. It's popular on the other side of the Atlantic, too. As of 2010, García was the sixth-most common last name in the United States.


    When you consider that the main last names are Smith (1), Johnson (2), Williams (3), Brown (4), Jones (5), Miller (6), and Davis (7), this is quite a big deal. And it is steadily climbing the ranks. In 1990, García was only the 18th-most popular name. In 2000 it was eighth. At the time of the next US census in 2020, who knows?

    4. Meanwhile, it's the fourth-most popular name in Latin America.

    5. You're not doing too badly in the world rankings either: It's the 46th-most popular last name.

    6. Its origins date back to Lower Navarre, a historical region in the French Basque Country.

    Mtiedemann / Via

    Today, this area is known as the Atlantic Pyrenees.

    7. And the first references to this last name date back to...


    It's in this year — around the time the Vikings killed the emissary of an English king, ushering in the Viking Era — that someone named García signed his name on an official document. It's the first time the name appears in the written record.

    8. But its origins are so remote that its origin is not at all clear; the most common theory is that it derives from "gaztea" or "gartzia," which means "young" in the Basque language.

    Famveld / Getty Images

    According to Euskaltzaindia (the Royal Academy of the Basque Language), García is a medieval Basque male first name based on the Basque adjective "gaztea" (young).

    As a last name, it began to be used as an identifying mark when, within the same family, the father and one of his descendants shared a first name: The older one was called Zaharra (old, older) and the younger one was called Gartzea.

    9. Competing theories suggest it could come from a Germanic word for "war" — so, meaning young warrior — or from the Visigothic words "garxa" or "garcha," meaning "graceful prince."

    Alaric Enters Athens in 395, by A. Stewart, 1915. / Via

    10. If you've ever wondered what your medieval coat of arms would look it is.

    Heraldicablog / Via

    Though it should be pointed out that, due to the different lineages of García, there is no single coat of arms and there are numerous variations.

    11. There is a town called García in Nuevo León, Mexico.


    It was actually its governor, himself a García, who gave the town its name.

    12. Whatever the name's owner might have to say on the matter, García ought to an acute accent on the "i."

    At least, it should if you're spelling it the Spanish way. The Catalonian version often lacks an accent. And in countries beyond Spain, it varies. The actor Andy García spells it with an accent. The late rock star Jerry Garcia didn't.

    13. And, lastly, there are 8,176,462 people with the last name García in the world. That's more than the population of Austria, Honduras, or Bulgaria!

    Global / Via

    This post was translated from Spanish.

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