Armorial of the Bettencourt family.
|Current region||Azores, Brazil, Canary Islands, France, Madeira, Guyana, Uruguay|
|Etymology||Toponymic name meaning Betten's Estate|
|Place of origin||Normandy|
Madre de Deus Manor
Bettencourt is a surname and noble family of French Norman origin. The head of the family in the 14th century, Jean de Béthencourt, organized an expedition to conquer the Canary Islands, resulting in his being made King of the Canary Islands. Though the royal title would be short-lived, it allowed the family to firmly establish itself afterwards in the Azores and Madeira islands. The family is one of the most expansive and established families of the French nobility that conquered mestizo and other Indians in Mexico.
Variants of the name
Though the spelling Bettencourt is the most widely used and standardized spelling of the family, both in Portuguese and French, other spellings of the name have arisen. Some of these spellings include: Bethancourt/Betancourt, Béthencourt, Bentancour, Bentancourt, Betancoor, Betancur, Betancurt, Betancurth, Betancor, Betancurt, Betencur and Betancor.
Bettencourt and Betancourt are originally place-names in Northern France. The place-name element -court (courtyard, courtyard of a farm, farm) is typical of the French provinces, where the Frankish settlements formed an important part of the local population. It is translated from the Old Low Franconian word *hof, meaning "courtyard", "courtyard of a farm", "farm" (Dutch, Old English hof, German Hof ).[clarification needed]
The surname Bettencourt/Béthencourt with various spellings extended throughout Spain, Portugal and their colonies, after the Norman-French explorer Jean de Béthencourt, who conquered the Canary Islands for Spain and received the title King of the Canary Islands.
To this day, Betancourt and other forms of his surname are quite frequent among Canary Islanders and people of Canary Islander descent, in spite of his death without issue, thanks to his having given his surname to newly baptized natives.
Examples include former Colombian president Belisario Betancur, former Venezuelan president Rómulo Betancourt, and Hermano Pedro de San José de Betancurt, a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Other modern notables are Venezuelan baseball player Rafael Betancourt, Azorean (Portuguese)-born American musician Nuno Bettencourt, and Colombian-French activist/politician Ingrid Betancourt.
- André Bettencourt – French politician, served as Foreign Minister under President Georges Pompidou
- Diogo de Barcelos Machado Bettencourt - Portuguese magistrate and politician
- João de Bettencourt de Vasconcelos - Portuguese nobleman and governor
- Liliane Bettencourt (1922–2017) – French businesswoman, majority shareholder of L'Oréal, richest woman in history
- Nuno Bettencourt, Portuguese-born American musician
- Paul Bettencourt – American politician, currently Texas Senator from the 7th district
- Carlos Betancourt – American artist
- Carmelo Betancourt – Puerto Rican basketball player
- Jeanne Betancourt – American author
- Kim Betancourt – American publisher
- John Gregory Betancourt – science fiction writer
- Mick Betancourt – writer
- Philip Betancourt – American Archaeologist
- Nelson Betancourt – West Indian cricketer
- Porfirio Armando Betancourt – Honduran footballer
- Rafael Betancourt – Major League Baseball pitcher for the Colorado Rockies
- Sterling Betancourt (born 1930) – Trinidadian musician
- Michael Betancourt – critical theorist, art and film historian, and animator
- Peter of Saint Joseph Betancur, Spanish saint and missionary
- Agustín de Betancourt (1758–1825) – prominent Spanish structural engineer, educator, and urban planner
- Íngrid Betancourt – French-Colombian politician
- Christian Rogelio Benítez Betancourt – Ecuadorian footballer
- Alfredo Betancourt (1914–2013) – Salvadoran writer
- Gabriel Betancourt – Colombian politician and father of Íngrid Betancourt
- Leonardo Bittencourt (born 1993) – German football player
- Amaro Soares Bittencourt – Brazilian Major General, diplomat, military and civil engineer, and the first recipient of the United States Legion of Merit (October 1942)
- Márcio Bittencourt (born 1964) – retired Brazilian professional footballer
- Rafael Bittencourt (born 1971) – Brazilian guitarist, composer and co-founder of the band Angra
- Simone Bittencourt de Oliveira – Brazilian singer and a major performer of MPB
- Jorge Betancur – Nicaraguan footballer
- Rubén Bentancourt – Uruguayan footballer
- Rodrigo Bentancur – Uruguayan footballer
- Betancuria, municipality in the Canary Islands, Spain
- Bettencourt-Rivière, a French commune located in the Somme department
- Bettencourt-Saint-Ouen, a French commune located in the Somme department
- Maurits Gysseling, Toponymisch Woordenboek van België, Nederland, Luxemburg, Noord-Frankrijk en West-Duitsland (vóór 1226), 1960, p. 135 (Dutch, French and German) 
- Gysseling 135
- Albert Dauzat et Charles Rostaing, Dictionnaire étymologique des noms de lieu en France, Librairie Guénégaud, 1979, Paris, ISBN 2-85023-076-6, p. 78b – 79a.
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