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For other uses, see Ortega (disambiguation).
Family name
Meaning "Urtica", "nettle," from a toponym
Region of origin Spain; from the Autonomous Communities of: Castile and León, Aragon, Navarre, La Rioja, Cantabria, Basque Country (autonomous community)
Language(s) of origin Spanish
Related names Ortego, de Ortega, Ortegón, Ortegada, Ortegal, Hortega, Ortiga, Ortigueda, Ortigueira, Ortigosa, Orreaga etc.

Ortega is a Spanish surname. In the 9th century a Saint Raymundo Ortega of Bejar was recorded to be in Salamanca, Spain. A baptismal record in 1570 records a de Ortega "from the village of Ortega". There were several villages of this name in Spain. The toponym derives from Latin urtica, meaning "nettle".

Some of the Ortega spelling variants are: Ortega, Ortego, de Ortega, Ortegada, Ortegal, Hortega, Ortiga, Ortigueda, Ortigueira, Ortigosa, Orreaga, etc. A cognate surname in Italian is Ortica, in Romanian Urzică, in French Ortie, all from Latin urtica.


Roberto Faure, coauthor of the Diccionario de Apellidos Españoles, states that Ortega is derived from the noun ortega, a spelling variant of the modern Castilian Spanish ortiga "nettle". The name of the plant is found as a toponym in various places in Spain, such as Ortega (Burgos), Ortega (Jaén) or Ortega (Monfero, A Coruña). Mexican author Gutierre Tibón advanced the alternative theory that the name derives from Ortún, earlier Fortún, from the Latin name Fortunius with an added suffix "-eca".[1] The Dictionary of American Surnames additionally states that the name may derive from ortega: "black grouse."

The first Bishop of Almería, Juan de Ortega, died in the early 16th century, while another early occurrence is found in the baptismal record of Phelpa de Ortega, dated 2 March 1570 at Santa Maria Magdalena, Valladolid, Spain, during the reign of King Philip II of Spain. Other early records are found in Carrión de los Condes, Palencia. The name subsequently appears throughout Spain, especially in Castile, Andalusia and Murcia, as well as México and Latin America.

According to the Diccionario de Heráldica Aragonesa by Bizén d'O Río Martínez, there were two Aragonese lines using the surname, one of which was infanzon. Both lines originated in Cinco Villas and bore coats of arms that were variants of each other. One line is in Gallur in the 18th century, and in Tauste in the 19th century. The other is attested from 1626 in various locations in Aragón.

Coats of arms[edit]

Ortega shield (quartered)

There were three arms-bearing families called Ortega. Their coat of arms were as follows:

  • In a field of blue, six bands of gold and a red border of gules with 10 saltire crosses of gold.
  • Divided horizontally, a gold fleur de lis on a blue background on the left side, and a black wheel on a gold background on the right. The entire shield has a silver border decorated with black ermine marks. These Ortegas were found primarily in Aragón at Gallur, Tauste, and originating in the Cinco Villas.
  • Divided in quarters, with the gold fleur de lis on blue in the upper left and lower right, and the black wheel on gold in upper right and lower left. This shield also has the silver ermine border. The full coat of arms includes a helmet with three ostrich feathers and an armored arm holding a sword, above a crown of the Count. These Ortegas came from the Carrión de los Condes in the province of Palencia, moving to Castresana de Losa in the province of Burgos, all in the autonomous community of Castile-Leon, later branching to other autonomous communities in Spain. This coat of arms can be found among the Ortegas in the New World, a line bearing titles of Condes de Ortigueira y Monterroso, Valle de Oploca y Santa María de Guadalupe del Peñasco.

People named Ortega[edit]


Artists and entertainers[edit]

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Fictional characters[edit]


  1. ^ Origen, Vida y Milagros de su Apellido (1946) Diccionario Etimologico Comparado De Nombres Propios De Personas (1986)
  • Gutierre Tibón: "Origen, Vida y Milagros de su Apellido (1946)," "Diccionario Etimologico Comparado De Nombres Propios De Personas (1986)"
  • Casa Editora de Genalogia Ibero Americana, A. B. (S. A.)
  • Roberto Faure: Diccionario de Apellidos Españoles
  • Bizén d'O Río Martínez: Diccionario de Heráldica Aragonesa
  • Bernard L. Fontana: "Entrada: The Legacy of Spain and Mexico in the United States"
  • Rick McCallister and Silvia McCallister-Castillo: Found under Etruscan in "Compilation and translations from French, Italian and Latin (1999)"
  • Charles Cawley: Medieval Lands Project - Asturias & Leon, Kings (2006–2008)

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