Mendoza (name)

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Mendoza is a Basque surname, also occurring as a place name.

The name Mendoza means "cold mountain", derived from the Basque words mendi (mountain) and (h)otz (cold) + definite article '-a' (Mendoza being mendi+(h)otza). The original Basque form with an affricate sibilant (/ts/, Basque spelling /tz/) evolved in Spanish to the current form.


The Towerhouse of Mendoza (Basque Country, Spain). Built in the thirteenth century as a residence of the House of Mendoza.

Records of the Mendoza family can be traced back to the Middle Ages in Alava, in the Basque Country, Spain. It is believed that the family descends from the ancient Lords of Llodio (Alava), where the original patronymic house would have been. The Mendozas belonged to the local nobility, and branched out into different family lines early on.

The most distinguished branch of the family originated in what nowadays is known as the village of Mendoza, near Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country; the village takes its name after the family. A certain scion of this family, Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza, distinguished himself in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1218), where he probably served under Navarrese banner. He was responsible for building the ancestral home of the family, the Tower of Mendoza, which still stands. This branch of the family entered the service of the Kingdom of Castile during the reign of Alfonso XI (1312-1350), and took active part in the Reconquista, where they quickly acquired extensive land holdings in Castile and southern Spain through military and political service. The members of the House of Mendoza intermarried extensively with the Castilian nobility, and the family has many descendants nowadays, with numerous nobility titles attached to it. The line of the Dukes of the Infantado formed one of the main branches of the family.

Another branch of the family was based in Laudio, 50km northwest from Vitoria-Gasteiz. The family got involved in the medieval bloody War of the Clans. Finally, in Erandio, a baserri exists under the same name. Its original name "mendotza" developed to "mendontze" in the 1890s, "mendoche" in the 1920s, "mendotxe" in the 1980s to the restored original of "mendotza" being the current.[1] The surname spread quickly through Castile during the Middle Ages. With the discovery of America, many of its members would emigrate to the Americas, where the surname is common.

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  1. ^ "Toponimia de Erandio".