Recorded in the spellings of de Mendoza, Mendoza, and Mendonca, this is an aristocratic locational surname of Spanish origins. It derives from a place in the province of Alva, the translation being the 'cold mountain' from 'mendi, a mountain, and 'otz - cold. The original nameholders were the governors of the province of Granada, and highly influential in the creation of the Spanish Empire in the Americas. Pedro de Mendoza, (1487 - 1537), the famous explorer, was the founder of Buenos Aires in 1530, and probably more than any other person, responsible for the spread of Christianity and the Iberian culture throughout South America. Other examples of early recordings of this famous name taken from civil and religious registers include Maria Juliana de Mendoza, at San Miguel, Arcangel, Mexico, on December 9th 1717, and Maria Espinosa Mendoza at Santa Catarina, Mexico, on July 12th 1781. Manual Mendoza was christened at the Santa Clara Mission, California, on July 2nd 1785, and Mary Martha Mendosa, at Los Gatos, Santa Clara, on September 21st 1879. The coat of arms has the blazon of a silver field, charged with a crescent chequy of gold and black, inside a blue border, with a semee of eight besants. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Garcia Pedro de Mendoza, which was dated 1440, christened at Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz, Spain, during the reign of King John 11 of Spain and Aragon, 1425 - 1479. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.