Díaz (surname)

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Pronunciation Spanish: [ˈdiaθ], in Latin America: [ˈdias]
Region of origin Spain, Portugal
Meaning "Son of Diego"
Other names
Variant(s) Diaz (anglicized), Dias (Portuguese variant)

Díaz is a common Spanish surname with multiple meanings in multiple languages. First found in Castile, where the name originated in the Visigoth period, the name accounts for about 0.17% of the Spanish population, ranking as the 14th-most frequently found surname in both 1999 and 2004[1] compared to the most popular Spanish surname of those years.

Variants and related names[edit]

There is minor evidence that Díez may be equivalent to Díaz, in the form of Spanish language listing of most frequent surnames in 1999 Spain (OcioTotal 1999). However, a 2008 in-press academic manuscript about Spanish naming in 2004 suggests otherwise, listing statistics for "Díaz" and "Díez" separately (Mateos & Tucker 2008).

In relation to descent from the Biblical names James and Jacob, it has been surmised that Díaz is a derivation of Diego from Iago (Smith 1986), Sant Iagus. A second source suggests Díaz as being derived from a Gothic form of the paternal genitive of Dia, as in "Dia's child", or Diag, Diago or Diego (Dixon 1857). Dias translates into "son of Jacob".

The surname is cognate with the Portuguese language surname Dias.


Díaz and the anglicized form Diaz appear to be surnames only, without evidence for use as given names. Use of Diaz may arise through Anglicization of Portuguese language Dias, as in the case of Bartolomeu Dias.

Many examples of the surnames Díaz exist among historically notable people as a patronymic of Diego. Among the earliest such examples is El Cid, whose real name was Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, and whose father's given name was Diego (Catholic Encyclopedia 1913).

There is at least one instance of use as a single name, the former Norwegian rap artist Diaz, who was born to a Spanish father and Norwegian mother; his birth name was "Andrés Rafael Díaz".[citation needed]


In Latin America Díaz was among the top 25% of surnames in use based on a study conducted in 1987 by the Institute for Genealogy and History for Latin America (De Platt 1996, pages 31–32).

Spanish surnames, including Díaz, are found more abundantly in Southern Italy than other non-Italian surnames as a result of the domination of Italy by Spain during the 17th century (Fucilla 1949).

The following matrix contains available information on the frequency of this surname in various countries across a span of years.

Country 1880–1889 1960–1969 1990–1999 2000–2009
Australia 2002: 0.008% (rank ?)(c)
New Zealand 2002: 0.002% (rank ?)(c)
Spain 1999: 0.74% (rank 14)(a) 2004: na% (rank 14)(b)
United Kingdom 1881: na% (rank 23,037)(c) 1998: 0.001% (rank 10,773)(c)
United States 1964: 0.047% (rank 335)[2] 1990: 0.084% (rank 99)(d)
1990: 0.014% (rank ?)(c)
2000: 0.18% (rank 73)(d)

Reference codes, see #References: (a)=OcioTotal 1999, (b)=Mateos & Tucker 2008, (c)=Longley, et al., (d)=United States Census Bureau 1995, (e)=United States Census Bureau 2000

Several assessed countries have shown no instances of this surname, among these being Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Scotland (Bowie 2003; Longley, et al.).


Arts and entertainment[edit]

Politics and military[edit]

  • Adam Perez Diaz (1909-2010), the first Hispanic elected to the Phoenix City Council and also the first Hispanic to serve as Phoenix's Vice-Mayor
  • Armando Diaz (1861–1928), Italian General and a Marshal of Italy during World War I
  • José E. Díaz (1833–1867), Paraguayan general, hero of the Paraguayan War
  • Porfirio Díaz (1830–1915), Mexican soldier, politician, dictator who served seven terms as President of Mexico, President of Mexico following the French intervention in Mexico
  • Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (c. 1043 – 1099), better known as El Cid, or Rodrigo, Castilian nobleman and military leader in medieval Spain
  • Domingo Díaz Arosemena (1875-1949) Panamanian politician and president from 1948-1949



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mateos & Tucker 2008, OcioTotal 1999
  2. ^ Rank 16 among Hispanic-Americans (De Platt 1996, pages 15–16)

External links[edit]