The surname of ESPLIN was a French and Spanish topographic name for someone who lived by a prominent thorn-bush, derived from the Old French word ESPINE, and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form SPINA. It may also have been a name given to a person who lived in or near an area overgrown with such bushes. The name has numerous variant spellings which include LEPINE, DELEPINE, ESPINE, ESPINAS, SPINO, SPINI, SPINETTI and ESPINOS, to name but a few. 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. 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. A notable member of the name was Vincente de ESPINEL (1551-1624) the Spanish writer, born in Ronda. He served as a soldier in France and Italy, meeting with some of the adventures related in his 'Life of Marcos de Obregon' (1618). After his return to Spain he took holy orders. He also published a volume of poems (1591). He was, if not the inventor, the improver of the ten-line stanza, and added the fifth string to the guitar. America was colonized by peoples from all over the world in a very short period of time, and mostly, in the case of French immigrants they have stayed together in Louisiana. Of the early immigrants to America the French have fared the worst in respect of their names, chiefly because of the difficulties experienced by the Americans in pronouncing them correctly. Many have been translated into English names.
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