This Spanish and Portugese surname of SOLIZ was an occupational name for someone who prepared and sold salt. The name may also have applied to a spicer, which was an important occupation in the Middle Ages. The nobles and wealthy churchmen spent considerable money on mustard, aniseed, cinnamon, caraway, coriander and pepper to enable the cooks to spice meat which tended to spoil quickly in the absence of modern refrigeration. The name is also spelt SOLIS and SOLISS. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. Portugese surnames share many of the features of Spanish surnames, in particular Arabic and Visigothic influence. A notable feature of Portugese surnames is the class of religious names referring to festivals of the church or attributes of the Virgin Mary. One respect in which Portugese names differ from those of the rest of the Iberian peninsular, is that some were adopted at a comparatively late date and honour saints who did not give rise to surnames in other languages. Portugese names typically have the ending 'eiro'. 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. Portugese heraldry is characterized by the use of broad shields, quite often with borders. This is a practice dating back from earlier times when it was the practice for a man to enclose his arms with a border charged with single heraldic devices taken from the arms of his wife, or even sometimes with her complete arms arranged as a series of small shields. Juan Diaz de SOLIS (circa. 1470-1516) was the Spanish navigator who, seeking a westward route to India, followed the South American coast south, and discovered the Plate estuary.
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