The associated coat of arms for this name are recorded in J.B Rietstaps Armorial General. Illustrated by V & H.V Rolland's. This Monumental work took 23 years to complete and 85,000 coats of Arms are included in this work. This surname of VELASCO is of two-fold origin. It is an Italian ethnic name for someone from the Basque region in southern France and northern Spain. The inhabitants of this region are first recorded in Latin records as the VASCONES. It is also a medieval Spanish given name of Basque origin, derived from the elements BELA (crow) + SKO. Other spellings of the name include VELASCO, BELASCO, VELAZQUEZ, VASQUE and VAZ, LO VASCO, BASQUE, BASQ, VASCHETTI, VASCHINI, BASQUET, BASQUIN and BASCOUL. The name is also a Portugese habitation name from a place near Braga, so called because it was originally settled by Basques. Portugese surnames share many of the features of Spanish surnames, in particular Arabic and Visigothic influence. A notable feature of Portugese surnames is the class of religious names referring to festivals of the church or attributes of the Virgin Mary. One respect in which Portugese names differ from those of the rest of the Iberian peninsular, is that some were adopted at a comparatively late date and honour saints who did not give rise to surnames in other languages. Portugese names typically have the ending 'eiro'. VASCO da GAMA (circa.1469-1525) was the Portuges navigator, the first westerner to sail round the Cape of Good Hope to Asia. He early distinguished himself as a mariner, and was selected by King Emanuel I to discover a route to India round the Cape. The expedition of three vessels with 168 men left Lisbon in 1497, but was four months in reaching St. Helena. Despite hurricanes and mutinies he crossed the Indian Ocean, and arrived in Calicut in 1498. The ruler of Calicut soon became hostile, and VASCO had to fight his way out of the harbour. Portugese heraldry is characterized by the use of broad shields, quite often with borders. This is a practice dating back from earlier times when it was the practice for a man to enclose his arms with a border charged with single heraldic devices taken from the arms of his wife, or even sometimes with her complete arms arranged as a series of small shields.
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