Sousa (surname)

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Family name
Brasão dos Sousa do Prado.png
Coat of arms associated to Sousa (do Prado branch) surname
Meaning toponymic (from the name of a river); literally "stones, rocks"
Region of origin Portugal
Related names de Sousa, Souza, de Souza, D'Souza

Sousa (European Portuguese: [ˈso(w)zɐ]), Souza, de Sousa (literally, from Sousa), or de Souza is a common Portuguese-language surname, especially in Portugal, Brazil, East Timor, India (among Catholics in Bombay, Mangalore and Goa), and Galicia.[1] In Africa, the name is common among people with Portuguese and Brazilian roots in Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Angola, São Tomé and Príncipe, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique.

Etymology and history[edit]

The name was originally a toponym, denoting a river in Northern Portugal, from the Latin Saxa, meaning rocks. Sometimes the spelling is in the archaic form Souza or de Souza, which has occasionally been changed to D'Souza. The Spanish equivalent of this surname is Sosa.

During the colonial era, the Portuguese built forts along Brazilian and West African coastal areas for trade, many of which were later used for the slave trade. They also had children with local women, and the children were given their fathers' last names.

Some Afro-Brazilians who returned to Africa also carry this last name. Among those are the Tabom people, descendants of Francisco Félix de Sousa, a white man from Salvador, Bahia, in Brazil, once the richest man in West Africa due to his involvement in its slave trade.[citation needed]

A prominent family carrying the spelling "de Sousa" emigrated from Portugal to Goa during 1956, before moving to Hong Kong. This was followed by a third relocation in the mid-1960s, to Melbourne, Australia. The family donated their property in Hong Kong to Franciscan nuns.[citation needed]

Notable people sharing a variation of the surname Sousa[edit]

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See also[edit]

  • Sosa, the Spanish equivalent