First of all I have to say that I am Spanish.
The etimological origin of the name is arabic. It is:
"Al Quantara" (you will find a city called this way in the north side of Egypt, at the Nile delta), and in fact it means "The Bridge".
There could be several different origins of our name:
- Arabic, like I explained above, from the arabic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, in 711.
- The Chivalry Order of Alcantara. It was a medieval military order fighting against the moors in central Spain. They eventully be successful to siege and take the village of Alcantara (Extremadura, Central-western Spain, near the Portuguese border) and the Order took the name of the village. More info: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01271b.htm
- Jew. In the XVI century the hebrews were forced to convert to cristianism or leave Spain. Some of them go away, but other stay here and took family names from different origins: colors, flowers, crafts, and the name of their villages.
Some small facts:
- The correct writing of the name is Alcántara (in Spanish). I think it is written without accent in Portugal.
- There are lots of towns in Spain called "Alcántara".
- Brazil got an emperor during XVIII century (if I am not wrong) and his name was Pedro de Alcantara. The family name spreaded both in Spain and Portugal.
- Lots of Spanish conquerors of America had our family name.
- There is a place in Sicily called Alcantara. It seems to be a kind of small canyon. It is not extrange because of the south of Italy was under Spanish rule during two centuries.
- There are more than a bridge in Spain called "Puente de Alcántara" (which is in fact a redundace, because "Puente" means also "Bridge").
- The arms of our familly are a silver sky with a bridge over a river, among the two green sides, and an small tower in the middle of the bridge.
- If you are interested to know more about the village of Alcántara, you can visit the address: http://www.ayto-alcantara.es/
(it seems not to work at this moment). It is the web site of the Town Hall of Alcántara.
Salute to all of you, cousins!
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