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It seems that this surname had its origin from the Palace of Camauda, of which makes mention Gonzalo Argote de Molina, which is in the Kingdom of Navarre in land of the Basques, corrupted from Camanda to Camoens, from where they passed to Galicia and then to Portugal. Some say this surname came from a bird named Camão, others from the Castle of Camoens, old in the Kingdom of Galicia, next to Cape Finisterre.
The first one that can be found with this surname and from whom there is any notice was Vasco Pires de Camões (mentioned at the Chronicle of Dom João I by Fernão Lopes, C. II, C. 43). He followed the parciality of King Peter of Castile against his brother Henry II of Castile, and for that reason passed to Portugal, at the time of King Ferdinand I of Portugal, also for following in Galicia, from where he held, his side in the pretension he had for the Crown of Castile against Henry II, the Bastard. King Ferdinand gave him in the Kingdom of Portugal for his services the Alcaidarias-Móres of Alenquer and Portalegre, the Villages of Sardoal, Punhete, Mação, Amêndoa and the Council of Gestaçô, and the estate farms and lands that Infanta Beatriz or Brites, his sister, had at Estremoz and Avis, and made him one of the first Noblemen of his Council, which he later all lost. Vasco Pires de Camões followed the party of Beatrice of Portugal and Castile at the time of King John I of Portugal and against him, and was arrested at the Battle of Aljubarrota, and Aires Pires de Camões, his cousin, for what he lost the lands he had in the Kingdom of Portugal, remaining only the lands he had at Estremoz and other assets he had at Alenquer and Lisbon, from which his descendants made some Majorats, mostly at Avis and at the City of Évora, where they possessed many rent, retaining the patronymic Vaz. Gandara, in Armas y Triunfos de Galicia, Chapter 27, fl. 297 / p. 584, says that the Camões descend from Vasco Rodríguez de Caamaño, son of Fernán García de Caamaño, for Vasco Peres de Camões is thought to be the same he calls Vasco Fernández de Caamaño, second son of Fernán García de Caamaño and his wife Constanza Suárez de Figueroa, whose ancestry, with the de Caamaño surname, can be seen at the book said.
Aires Peres de Camões, following the party of King John I of Portugal, was a Captain of a galley of the fleet that left from Porto against the coast of Galicia, from where the General was the Count de Trastamara.
The coat of arms they bear is in a green field a serpent neck and head in gold that leaves from between two rocks in silver, touched in red, and for Timber the same serpent of the shield, or its head. It seems to have allusion to the serpent of Cadmus or to the animal they call caiman, which is a lizard (see Orozco in Thezouro).
- Manuel José da Costa Felgueiras Gaio, Nobiliário das Famílias de Portugal, Título Camoens
- Cristóvão Alão de Morais, Pedatura Lusitana, Camões
- Luís Vaz de Camões, Os Lusíadas, Porto Editora (Commented Edition), p. 31-2