This Italian surname of LEOPOLDO was originally from a German personal name composed of the elements LIUT (people, tribe) and BOLD (bold, brave). The form of the first element has been affected by the influence of the name Leonard. This was not a common name in the middle ages, although many churches were dedicated to St. Leonard, the patron saint of captives. The surname is also borne by Ashlenazic Jews, as an adoption of the German surname. The origins of Italian surnames are not clear, and much work remains to be done on medieval Italian records. It seems that fixed bynames, in some cases hereditary, were in use in the Venetian Republic by the end of the 10th century. The typical Italian surname endings are 'i' and 'o', the former being characteristic of northern Italy. The singular form 'o' is more typical of southern Italy. LEOPOLD I (1640-1705) was the Holy Roman emperor, from 1658, born in Austria. He was the second son of the Habsburg emperor Ferdinand III and the Infanta Maria Anna of Spain. He became king of Hungary (1655) and Bohemia (1656) and was elected emperor in 1658 in succession to his father. For most of his reign he was at war either with Turks over Hungary, or with the France of Louis XIV. As the agricultural depression of southern Italy worsened towards the end of the 19th century, people began to escape to the New World. The exodus started in earnest in 1887 with Brazil and other parts of Latin America being the original destinations. By 1893, the economy had improved in the United States and people headed there from Italy in greater and greater numbers. In 1898 there were more Italian immigrants to the USA than from any other country. In the post war era, more than a quarter of Italians left the country for a new life. They joined a flood of immigrants to America which was averaging a million a year in the pre war years. During the 1920's, life in Australia was good, and from Italy there came a huge wave of immigrants, fleeing from poverty in their own country. They grew fruit and vegetables in Victoria, and cut sugar cane in Queensland. Commerce flourished in the cities. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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