This Spanish and Jewish surname of ARIAS is of uncertain origin. The Spanish surname has been explained as a patronymic, either from the medieval personal name ARES, which was originally of Germanic origin. Why the surname was adopted by Sefardic Jews is a mystery. The name is also spelt ARIUS and AIRES. In Spain identifying patronymics are to be found as early as the mid-9th century, but these changed with each generation, and hereditary surnames seem to have come in slightly later in Spain than in England and France. As well as the names of the traditional major saints of the Christian Church, many of the most common Spanish surnames are derived from personal names of Germanic origin. For the most part these names are characteristically Hispanic. They derive from the language of the Visigoths, who controlled Spain between the mid-5th and early 8th centuries. Noteworthy persons of the name include Benito ARIAS (1527-98) the Spanish theologian and linguist, born in Fregenal de la Sierra. He became a Bededictine monk and was delegate to the council of Trent (1562-64). He edited for Philio II the famous Antwerp Polyglot edition of the Bible (1568-73). Oscar Sanchez ARIAS, born in 1940 is the Costa Rican politician. He was educated at Essex University and the London School of Economics. He returned to Costa Rica and started a law practice before entering politics. He was elected president of Costa Rica in 1986, and was the major author of a Central American Peace Agreement aimed at securing peace in the region and particularly in Nicaragua. When the first immigrants from Europe went to America, the only names current in the new land were Indian names which did not appeal to Europeans vocally, and the Indian names did not influence the surnames or Christian names already possessed by the immigrants. Mostly the immigrant could not read or write and had little or no knowledge as to the proper spelling, and their names suffered at the hands of the government officials. The early town records are full of these mis-spelt names most of which gradually changed back to a more conventional spelling as education progressed.
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