San Martino Coat of Arms / San Martino Family Crest
This French, Italian and Spanish surname of SAN MARTINO was from a medieval given name, a diminutive of Martin. This surname was derived from the Latin Martinus - from Mars, the God of War. A popular font name during the 12th and 13th centuries. It was also a metonymic occupational name for a smith or a nickname for a forceful person, rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form MARTULUS. The name has many variant spellings which include SAN MARTIN, MARTEL, MARTINI, MARTEAU, MARTELIER, MARTELLI, MARTIELLO AND MARTELET. A notable member of the name was Jose de SAN MARTIN (1778-1850) the Argentine soldier and statesman, the national hero of Argentina, born in Yapeyu. He played a great part in winning independence for his native land, Chile and Peru. He was an officer in the Spanish army (1789-1812), but helped Buenos Aires in its struggle for independence (1812-14). He raised an army in Argentina (1814-16), which in January 1817, he led across the Andes into Chile and defeated the Spanish at Chacabuco (1817) and at Maipo (1818), thus achieving independence for Chile. He became Protector of Peru, but resigned in 1822, and died in exile in Boulogne. 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.
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