FAMILY NAME HISTORY & ORIGIN
The Araneta family dates back from earlier times when aristocracy was still prevalent. The family traces their ancestral roots back to ancient times in Aragon Spain.
According to the historians, "Baron de Cobos" of Belchite, Aragon, one branch of this family established their household in the province of Gipuzkoa, in Vasconia, or known as "Pais Vasco". Basques, first known to history as natives of modern - day Navarre and Aragon in the first century BC are now predominantly found in an area known as the Basque Country. The Basques live on the western end of the Pyrenees Mountains on the Iberian Peninsula. down to the Bay of Biscay. For as long as anyone can remember, they have had seven provinces, the oldest is called Gipuzkoa ( Gu-iz-puzk-ko-ak ), which means "we whose language was broken".
The family dwelled mostly near the mountain, surrounded by valleys. Hence the name Araneta, with its etymology derived from the Basque term "aran", meaning valley, and in addition, the locative suffix "eta", which denotes a "place of". Thus, the initial bearer of the surname Araneta would have been someone who dwelled in a valley. There were very few towns in the Basque Country. People did not live in towns but in scattered farms, so most of the villages had not any "casco urbano". In the part of the Basque Country where the surname Araneta originated, surnames are not usually names of villages or towns, but the name of the house or farm. Families took as surname the name of their house, that is the reason of why Basque surnames used the "de" before them. For instance Fernando de Araneta means Fernando from the Araneta House.
During the Middle Ages, before the hereditary family name system was instituted, it was a practice to adopt a second name to be able to differentiate one individual from another with the same personal name. Surnames, as with languages in general, undergo spelling changes over time. This can be the result of exchanging letters which sound similar, or of scribes altering a name as it is recorded.
From the diverse unity which characterize Spain, came the distinguished Araneta family surname. Historians have studied available records to reveal the original family ancestral seat originated in Aragon, an ancient kingdom of Spain. One of the earliest records bearing the name Araneta is that of Martin de Araneta, who came from an aristocratic family of Basque origin. His name was recorded in the Castilian document dated 1227. Martin de Araneta was a Knight during the era of the Reconquest. He served and escorted Ferdinand III, king of Castile and Leon, in the conquest of Cordova, Murcia, Jean, and Seville from the Moors in 1217. He was granted innumerable amounts of lands when Ferdinand divided the conquered territories between his Knights, the Church, and the Nobility, whom he endowed with great latifundia. The era of the reconquest was completed in 1492, when the Moors lost Granada to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Religion had an important role in this age of reconquest, serving as a rallying point for military and political efforts which were a part of recovering Arab occupied territories.
According to Alberto and Arturo Garcia Garaffa, Basque scholars and historians from Vasco (Navarro), the Aranetas had ancestral homes in the valley of Gainza and Andoain in Gipuzkoa. A notable member of this household, Juan Francisco de Araneta, was ennobled in Gainza, circa 1683.
While the use of hereditary family names began in the Iberian peninsula on the thirteenth century, it was not until the sixteenth century that the practice became firmly established among the general populace. The Basque Country is filled with the heritage of families from aristocratic and noble origins, who in the ancient times of shields and swords, earned their nobility by protecting their king and country from foreign invaders. The Spanish Crown, in granting the family a decree of the coat-of-arms, recognized the nobility of the Araneta family. It is found in the compilation of "The Land of "Basque and Navarres" ( Vol. 10 page 91 Encieclopedia Heraldica Hispano - Americano by Alberto and Arturo Garcia Garaffa ).
REFERENCE: Historical Research & Archives Center
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