The surname of CALLEJA is of Spanish origin and of two-fold meaning. It was a baptismal name meaning 'the son of Calle' and was originally derived from the Latin CALLIS, which also meant a street, and therefore was a topographic name for someone who lived beside a narrow path or a cattle track. In modern Spanish this 'calle' is the normal word for a street, but at the time when surnames were being formed it referred to something rather more modest. The name is also spelt Calle and Callega. After the Crusades in Europe, in the 11th 12th and 13th century people began, perhaps unconsciously, to feel the need of a family name, or at least a name in addition to the simple one that had been possessed from birth. The nobles and upper classes, especially those who went on the Crusades, observed the prestige and practical value of an added name, and were quick to take a surname. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards. A notable member of the name was Elias Plutarco Calles (1877-1945) the Mexican Political leader. A former schoolmaster and tradesman, he took part in the revolt against Porfiro Diaz in 1910, became governor of Sonora (1917-19) and secretary of the interior (1920-1924). He was president of Mexico from 1924 until 1928, then retired to become a landowner and financier, but founded the National Revolutionary party in 1929.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General. Registered in Spain.
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