The surname of EMANUEL was a Jewish surname from the Hebrew given name of Imanuel meaning 'God is with us'. When traditional Jews were forced to take family names by the local bureaucracy, it was an obligation imposed from outside traditional society, and people often took the names playfully and let their imaginations run wild by choosing names which corresponded to nothing real in their world. No one alive today can remember the times when Jews took or were given family names (for most Ashkenazim this was the end of the 18th century or the beginning of the 19th) although many remember names being changed after emigration to other countries, such as the United States and Israel in recent years. The name was also a French surname used in the Middle Ages by Christians in honour of a minor 3rd century martyr. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. Emanuel I, also Manuel 'the Fortunate' (1469-1521) was the king of Portugal, succeeded John II in 1495. His reign, marred only by persecution of the Jews, was the golden age of Portugal. He prepared the code of laws which bears his name, and made his court a centre of chivalry, art and science. The discovery of Brazil and the expeditions encouraged by Emanuel, did much to make Portugal the first naval power of Europe and the centre of commerce. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General.
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