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"Araujo" redirects here. For the Napa winery, see Araujo Estate Wines.
Closeup of Araujia sericifera.

Araújo or Araujo or Arauxo (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐɾɐˈuʒu], Spanish: [aɾaˈuxo]) is a Galician and Portuguese surname. The surname Araújo is of toponymic origin derived from a place in the vicinity of the Miño River where a Crusader Knight of French Noble descent, Don Rodrigo Anes, was rewarded with reconquered Iberian lands during the Reconquista. The poisonous plant with white fragrant flowers known in Latin as Araujia sericifera was named after the botanist António de Araújo e Azevedo, 1st Count of Barca (1754–1817). The surname Araújo seems to be a habitational name in Portugal and can be found in and around Portuguese cities such as Coimbra, Elvas, Estremoz, Lisbon, Torre de Moncorvo, Monção, Serpa, Setúbal, and Vila Verde.


The progenitor of this surname Araújo is Rodrigo Anes, who was lord of the lands known as Araújo located in Southern Kingdom of Galicia in modern NW Spain close to the Miño/Minho river. This river marked the border between Kingdom of Galicia and Northern Portugal, which had been a part of the Kingdom of Galicia in the 12th century.

Rodrigo Anes, better known as Rodrigo Anes de Araújo, was descended from members of the royal families of the kingdom of France and the kingdom of Burgundy via a noble Knight named Jean Tiranoth. He was born around 1100 A.D., and in a battle at the River Lima, Portugal he defeated the first King of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques. Jean Tiranoth with a number of Burgundian and French crusaders had moved to Galicia to participate in the reconquesta of the Iberian Peninsula. It was very common for Frenchmen to participate in the reconquest of Spain and Portugal from Islamic control between the 8th and 14th centuries. Their reward for participating were reconquered lands.

Jean Tiranoth was a contemporary of Afonso Henriques the first King of Portugal and witnessed the separation of County of Portugal from the Kingdom of Galicia in 1139.

Rodrigo Anes de Araújo constructed the Castle of Araújo in the Kingdom of Galicia and married Doña Mayor Alvares de Aza, who was the daughter of a noble family which was somehow related to Rodrigo Anes de Araújo. Doña Mayor Alvares de Aza was the daughter of Don Rodrigo Alvares de Aza and Doña Maria Pires de Ambia. From this marriage descended the Araújo family of Kingdom of Galicia, who were lords of many houses in that Kingdom through marriage.

The Bishop of Malaca, João Ribeiro Gaio, wrote about the location of the ancient Araújo family cemetery in the following manner:

Através de Bitorinho

tem sepulcros já gastados

Araújos afamados

na terra que rega o Minho,

antigos, abalisados.

English Translation

Across the Bitorinho

lands watered by the Miño River

lies the graves of

the famous Araújos

ancient renowned Noblemen.

Later, in 1492, the Kingdom of Galicia along with other Kingdoms in the Iberian peninsula were united to become the Kingdom of Spain. Throughout Spain's colonial period between the 16th and 19th century a number of Galician Spaniards bearing the surname Araújo in the service of the King of Spain moved to colonize the territories of the Spanish Empire in North America and South America.

One of the grandchildren of Rodrigo Anes de Araújo known in Portuguese chronicles as Vasco Rodriguez de Araújo, decided to leave Spain and settle in Portugal, where he entered the service of the Kings of Portugal. Throughout Portugal's colonial period a number of Portuguese bearing the Araújo surname moved to settle Portugal's overseas empire.


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