The surname of ARRIAGA was a Basque topographic name for someone who lived on a patch of stony soil, derived from the element ARRI, meaning stone. There are several places so named, for example in the provinces of Alava, Biscay and Navarre, and they have all contributed to this name. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. A notable member of this name was Juan Crisostomo ARRIAGA (l806-l826) the Spanish composer. He was a child prodigy, his first opera "Los Esclavos Felices" was produced in l820. He became Assistant Professor at the Paris Conservatoire in l824. Although he died at the age of twenty his compositions show remarkable maturity. Manoel Jose de ARRIAGA (l840-l9l7) was a Portugese statesman. He took part in the revolution of l9l0 which overthrew King Manuel ll, and was the first elected President of the Republic (l9ll-l9l5). The name is also spelt ARRIGO. 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.
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