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Surname Zabala - Meaning and Origin

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Zabala: What does the surname Zabala mean?

The last name Zabala is of Spanish origin and has its roots in the region of Basque Country. It is derived from the Basque word meaning “frontier”. Traditionally, it was used as a surname to denote someone who had ancestral ties to the borderlands of Spain and France. It is also believed to be related to the Galician-Portuguese word “zabal” which refers to a “hollow” or “valley”.

This surname is widespread throughout Spain and Latin America, particularly in countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Guatemala. It is one of the most commonly seen surnames in these countries.

Those who bear this surname tend to be proud of their Basque heritage and of being descended from the ancient residents of the Basque region. Because of this, many families have held on to various traditional Basque practices and beliefs. For example, Basque folklore and traditional music are still popular among those with this surname.

The name Zabala may have evolved over time and taken on different meanings or spellings in different countries. In Mexico, for instance, the name is sometimes spelled “Sabala”. Regardless, those who carry the last name of Zabala are typically proud to list their Basque heritage among their distinguishing traits.

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Zabala: Where does the name Zabala come from?

The last name Zabala is mostly found in the Hispanic world. It is especially common in parts of Northern and Central Spain, in particular the Autonomous Region of Galicia located in the Northwestern corner of the Iberian Peninsula. It is also prevalent throughout Latin America, particularly countries like Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Argentina, Columbia, and Ecuador. In the United States, the surname Zabala is most commonly found among the Spanish speaking and Latin American communities, though it is somewhat distributed throughout the nation.

The etymology of Zabala is believed to have been derived from the small Basque municipality of Zabal, which is located in the province of Álava, Spain. The original bearer may have hailed from this region and took the name with them when they ventured elsewhere. It is also possible the name was derived from the Basque word “zabal”, meaning “wide”, which was used to define people who had a certain physical characteristic or attribute.

Historically, the Zabala surname has become somewhat widespread over the years, often used to honor respected members of the family. Throughout much of the Hispanic world, those that share the same name tend to honor their Spanish heritage and celebrate it through family gatherings, reunions and special holidays.

Today, the last name Zabala is found all across the world, though its roots remain embedded in Hispanic culture. It is a wonderful reminder of the strong links and influences of Spanish heritage throughout the world.

Variations of the surname Zabala

The surname Zabala is of Galician-Portuguese origin and there are multiple variants and spellings of the surname. Some of the variants include:

- Sabala/Saballa

- Zabal/Zaballa

- Zabaleta

- Zabalain

- Xabala

- Jabala

- Zabalburu

- Zabalbeiti

- Zabalzar

Other surnames of the same origin are:

- Abila

- Alzai

- Muzabe

- Orejuela

- Onate

- Sadaba

- Sanabria

- Albalat

- Algarra

- Salabarria

- Zabalondo

- Zabarburu

- Zabarrieta

- Zabarte

- Zubillaga

The variants of Zabala can be found in countries such as Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Argentina, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Spain, Ecuador, and Peru. Zabala is a fairly common surname in Mexico and Guatemala, while in Spain it is more commonly known as Zabaleta. In the Basque Country, the variants Zabalburu, Zabalbeiti, and Zabalzar are more common.

The variant Jabala is also a fairly common family name in modern day Morocco. This variant is derived from an Arabic root which means "praise" and is most likely a cultural adaptation from the original Galician-Portuguese form.

Famous people with the name Zabala

  • Metina Zabala: an American film and television actress who has appeared in various TV show episodes such as Charmed, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and Dharma and Greg.
  • Alejandro Zabala: an Argentinian soccer player who plays for the Chilean Primera División club Audax Italiano.
  • Fernando Zabala: a Venezuelan-born Spanish entrepreneur who heads the Circulo Singular, a non-profit group that campaigns for a more circular economy in Spain.
  • Gaston Zabala: an Argentine politician who has served as a member of legislature of Buenos Aires Province since 2015.
  • Celeste Zabala: an Argentinian pop singer and actress who released four albums between 1974 and 1981 and starred in the 1980 film En la cama con Ava Gardner.
  • Victor Zabala: a Peruvian politician who was a founding member of the left-wing UNPP party and once ran for the office of the mayor of Lima.
  • Ignacio Zabala: a Spanish sculptor and painter who is known for producing bronze sculptures of iconic Spanish historical figures.
  • Paul Zabala: a Philippine-born American scientist and engineer who is currently working as a research professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Arizona.
  • Enrique Zabala: a Spanish footballer who represented Osasuna, Real Valladolid, and Celta Vigo from 1998 to 2005.
  • Alejandra Zabala: a Mexican fashion designer who won the “Best Winner of 2009” award at Miami Fashion Week and is currently the creative director of the Mexico City-based fashion house, La Pista.

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