28 November 2010

What is the origin of the Maduro name?

Maduro - ripe or mature in Spanish and Portuguese - was first attached to the family name Roiz in 16th century Portugal. (Roiz was the shortened form of the Spanish Rodriguez and Portuguese Rodrigues.) Two brothers, Diogo and Luis Roiz, used the name Roiz o Maduro - "Roiz the Elder" - probably to distinguish themselves from Diogo's grandson Diogo and son Luis. Sometimes the "o" was dropped, resulting in the name Roiz Maduro.

The Roiz family were Jewish Conversos, sometimes called New Christians or Marranos, those who had converted to Catholicism either by force or by choice. Many of these families continued to observe their Jewish traditions in secret but were often subjected to questioning and trial by the Inquisition. The 1612 Portuguese Inquisition archives record the arrest of Diogo Roiz o Maduro and two of his sons and a son-in-law. All except Diogo's son Antonio Roiz o Maduro were released. See the 29 Nov 2010 post for more about him.

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