This surname of SICILIANO was an Italian and Spanish name for someone from the island of Sicily, which formed part of the kingdom of Aragon from 1282 to 1713. The name is also spelt SICILIANO and SICILIANI. Sicily is a large island in the Meditterranean separated from the 'toe' of Italy by the Strait of Messina. It has been in Italian possession since 1860; in ancient times it was colonized by the Greeks. The capital is Palermo. 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. In 1851 the gold rush in New South Wales hit the region, and the effect on the whole of Australia was so great that it heralded a new era. Ships carrying new prospectors arrived daily from continental Europe, America and China. 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. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France.
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