This Spanish surname of PIZZA was a nickname for a small person, originally derived from the Italian word 'piccino' (small). Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. The name has many variant spellings which include PICCIN, PIZZINI, PICCINNI, PIZZZOLO, PIZARRO and DEL PIZZOLO. In the 8th century, Spain fell under the control of the Moors, and this influence, which lasted into the 12th century, has also left its mark on Hispanic surnames. A few names are based directly on Arabic personal names. The majority of Spanish occupational and nickname surnames, however, are based on ordinary Spanish derivatives. 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. A notable member of the name was Gonzalo PIZARRO (c.1506-1548) the Spanish conquistador, half-brother of Francisco PIZZARO. He accompanied him in the conquest of Peru, and did good service when the Indians besieged Cuzo (1535-36), and in the conquest of Charcas. In 1539 he undertook an expedition to the east of Quito, and endured fearful hardships.
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