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The place of origin of the Estrada surname

"...From the place of its name" - so say the origins of the surname Estrada and, in effect, there is a place in the North of Spain, close to San Vicente de la Barquera (nearest big city is Santander), a few kilometers from the Cantabrian Coast, that has that name and is recognized as the place where the surname originated.

The place is the property of the Marquis of Canillejas, Count of the Vega de Sella and Grandee (peer) of Spain, who descends from the Duque de Estrada family.

In 1992 the Tower of Estrada was declared a Landmark of Cultural Interest.



The Autonomous Community of Cantabria has published this touristic map of the Municipality of Val de San Vicente in which the Tower of Estrada is a tourist feature.


History and Art in the Municipality of Val de San Vicente, related to Estrada:

"Several interesting monuments from medieval times are conserved. The tower-fortress of the Estrada family, in Estrada, is a complex made up of a defensive tower, walls and a chapel, all from the VIII to the XIV centuries, with gothic elements like the pointed frontal access to the chapel.

From the XVI century we can cite as an example of civil arquitecture the mountain house of the locality of Estrada, which has been much reformed in later centuries."




There is a place in Galicia, Spain, near Santiago de Compostela, nearer Pontevedra and close to Portugal, that is called "La Estrada." Some people confuse this as the place of origin of the surname, but those who venture there are soon sorry for having wasted their time. In that instance, La Estrada means merely "The Road." 

La Estrada is on the main road maps (Estrada, the place, is not), so many Estrada who have searched for the place of origin have actually "found" the wrong place.


But the confusion goes further, as in Spain there are many places that carry that same name, as we can see from the table below:

Name: Category: County: Judicial District: Population in 1940:
Estrada Small Village Cervantes Becerrea 50
Estrada Small Village Monforte de Lemos (Marcelle) Monforte de Lemos 71
Estrada Small Village Pantón (Eiré) Monforte de Lemos 19
Estrada Small Village Pantón (Ferreira) Monforte de Lemos 18
Estrada Small Village Pantón (Mañente) Monforte de Lemos 18
Estrada Hamlet Puertomarín (Cortapezas) Chantada 6
Estrada Place Creciente (Ribera) La Cañiza 18
Estrada Place Gondomar (Donas) Vigo 32
Estrada Place Gondomar (Gondomar) Vigo 62
Estrada Hamlet Tomiño (Curras) Tuy 37
Estrada Place Tuy (Malvas) Tuy 92
Estrada Place Tuy (Randufe) Tuy 263
Estrada Place Val de San Vicente San Vicente de la Barquera 42
Estrada Hamlet Gueñes Valmaseda 46
Estrada (La) Small Village Agullana Figueras 49
Estrada (La) Small Village Cangas de Onís (Abamia) Oviedo 43
Estrada (La) Hamlet Aller (Boo) Lena 43
Estrada (La) Judicial District --- La Estrada 41.695
Estrada (La) Municipality La Estrada La Estrada 27.240
Estrada (La) Village La Estrada La Estrada 2.100
Estrada (La) Parrish La Estrada La Estrada 2.467
Estrada de la Trapa Place Salas (Linares) Belmonte 85



The land where the place of Estrada is located in Val de San Vicente has belonged to the Duque de Estrada family for many generations.  The Surname Dictionary of the Heraldic and Genealogical Encyclopædia clarifies the relationship between these two surnames:
"The surnames Estrada and Duque were separate in their origin and had independent parcels of land, deriving from them many branches without relationship or kinship. In ancient times, a branch of the Duque surname linked with a branch of the Estrada surname
(that owned the Estrada parcel of land), and that linkage was the origin of the formation of the powerful family with the composed surname Duque de Estrada."  In this instance Duque is not a nobiliary title, but a surname.


The coat of arms of the Duque de Estrada surname is one of alliance, so it includes those of the Estrada and Duque surnames (in that order, viewed from the front, Estrada left - Duque right). The coat of arms has the armor headpiece and crown of counts, which correspond to the title of Count of the Vega de Sella. The Count is a Spanish Grandee (a peer) by reason of his title of Marquis of Canillejas, therefore the headpiece, which for counts should normally be directed in a 45° angle to its right, is directed to the front. For some reason, probably because of the wealth derived from it, the family gives as much importance to the title of Count as to that of Marquis, which is heraldically superior.

The surname Duque de Estrada



The place is not found on the regular road maps and it is necessary to find it in the local road maps of the Partido de San Vicente de la Barquera (Zona: Saja-Nansa), or those with much detail of the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Urbanismo of Spain. The road that leads to Estrada has little traffic and the surface is not in good condition. However, in its time it seems to have been an important road. Picture taken in 1983.



Southern view of the Tower, in 1983

The Tower of Estrada c. 1983.

This tower in ruins is the birthplace of the surname Estrada. The place is close to San Vicente de la Barquera, in the North-Central coast of Spain. In 1983, the year this picture was taken, the emplacement was in ruins, including the chapel. The whole area was covered with vegetation.

According to historical evidence, this is the place where the surname originated in the last third of the First Millenium of our era, between the VIII and IX centuries, and from this place the children parted to spread the seed in the rest of Spain, Europe, the New World and all five continents.

This tower is the focal point of the surname.

The municipality of San Vicente decided to restore the emplacement as it was considered a place of cultural interest.
In the following linked articles you will be able to learn about this process.

Article about the Tower and its declaration as a place of cultural interest

The Tower in restoration

Virtual tour of the Tower's emplacement in 2004

Inauguration of the works, in 2006

Virtual tour of the Tower's emplacement in 2006



From all the roads that surround the place you can see the Tower of Estrada. It is a point that dominates its surroundings and whoever watched from its top, could easily know what happened all arround it.  View from the East.



There are some buildings in the place. Some are living quarters and most are agricultural service buildings. c. 1983.
The Tower is to the right of this house, seen from the South.


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