This surname of ZAPATA is a French occupational name for a shoemaker or cobbler. The name was derived from the Old French word SAVATIER. This was an important occupation in the life of medieval Europe, and in the cities the craftsmen were restricted by guild laws. Shoemakers who made shoes, were often forbidden to mend them. This deliberate policy of protection for their members allowed only those members to fulfill their craft. The name may also have applied to someone who shod horses, the practice of nailing iron plates or rim shoes to the hoofs of horses was in regular use during the Middle Ages. Other spellings of the name include SAVETIER, SABBATIER, SABATHIER, SAVATTARO, ZAVATTARO, ZAVATTARI, CIOBOTARO and CIOBUTARO to name but a few. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. Emilianao ZAPATA (1879-1919) was the Mexican revolutionary, born in Anencuilio, Mexico. He became a sharecropper and local leader, and after the onset of the Mexican Revolution he mounted a land distribution programme in areas under his control. Along with Pancho Villa, he fought the Carranza government, and was eventually lured to his death as the Chinameca hacienda. French, or rather Norman French, was the language of the aristocracy and the upper classes in England at the time fixed surnames were being developed, it is therefore not surprising that many of our well-known family names are derived from French words. Originally only Christian or personal names were used, and although a few came into being during the 10th century, surnames were not widely used until much later, when people began to realize the prestige of having a second name.
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