100 Cuban Last Names With Meanings And History

Georgia Stone
Feb 16, 2024 By Georgia Stone
Originally Published on Oct 28, 2020
Cuban flag raised in a pole along the baywalk.
Age: 0-99
Read time: 9.0 Min

Cuba is one of the loveliest countries on the planet; its inhabitants come from all over the world, and their origins and heritages are reflected in their surnames.

You'll find Spanish surnames alongside ones originating from Portugal or Italy, and all are rich and laden with meaning. If you've ever met someone of Cuban descent, though, you may have noticed that they may have multiple surnames, so how does a Cuban last name work?  

Those of Cuban ancestry often favor compound names taken from both their mother and their father. In other words,  if a man with the last name of Madera has a child with a woman with the surname Roque, their child might have the surname Madera-Roque, Madera Roque, or Madera y Roque (where the "y" means "and"). The man's surname (or surnames) typically comes first. If one or both parents have compound surnames themselves, then their child's surname may also be a combination of both compound surnames.

Now that we know a little bit about how the Cuban compound surnames work, let's dive into a list of 100 of our favorite surnames from Cuba, both common and less so!

For more last name ideas, take a look at these Greek last names and these Native American last names.

10 Most Popular Cuban Last Names

A Cuban red car on road

Some surnames are more widespread than others. Let's take a look first at some of the family names most commonly found in Cuba!

1. Rodríguez (Spanish origin), meaning "son of Rodrigo." Rodrigo itself means "powerful" or "famous."  This is the most common surname found in Cuba (and indeed, one of the most ubiquitous in the United States as well).

2. Pérez (Spanish origin), meaning "son of Pedro," which is a form of Peter. The name Peter means "stone," or "rock."

3. González (Spanish origin), meaning "son of Gonzalo." The name Gonzalo means "battle."

4. Hernández (Spanish origin), meaning "son of Hernando." Hernando itself is a version of Fernando, which means "brave voyager."

5. García (Spanish and Portuguese origin), a family name of unknown origin, but that may mean "bear."

6. Martinez (Spanish origin) meaning "son of Martin." Martin itself comes from the Roman God Mars, the patron of war.

7. Fredrick (English origin), a compound name coming from the root words for "peace" and "strength" or "power."

8. Fernández  (Spanish origin), meaning "son of Fernando." As mentioned above, Fernando means "brave voyager."

9. López (Spanish origin), meaning "son of Lope." The name Lope means "wolf."

10. Álvarez (Spanish origin), meaning "son of Alvaro." The meaning of Alvaro is unclear, but it may mean "guardian."

Cuban Surnames Rooted in Nature

If you're looking for a last name perfect for a nature lover, look no further than this list of surnames from Cuba with origins in the natural world.

11. Amaral (Portuguese origin) meaning "vineyard." From the Latin 'amarus', or "bitter," which refers to the taste of wine.

12. Arce (Spanish origin) meaning "stone."

13. Arenas (Spanish origin) meaning "sand."

14. Ayala (Basque origin) meaning "a pasture along a hill."

15. Balmaseda (Basque and Spanish origin), meaning "a valley full of vineyards." An alternate spelling is Valmaseda.

16. Bazán (Basque origin), meaning "brambles," or "a place of brambles."

17. Castaneda (Spanish origin), meaning "chestnuts."

18. Ibarra (Basque origin), meaning "meadow" or "valley."

19. Jardinez (Spanish and French origin), a family name meaning "gardener," or "one who lives by a garden."

20. Madera (Spanish origin), meaning "wood" or "wooden."

21. Marin (Spanish and Catalan origin), meaning "one who lives by the sea" or "one who comes from the sea." Related to Marés.

22. Mirabal (Spanish and Aragonese origin), meaning "one who gazes upon the valley." An alternate spelling is Miravalles.

23. Montalván (Spanish origin), meaning "white mountains." Related to Montalbán.

24. Mora (Catalan, Portuguese, and Spanish origin), meaning "mulberry." Related to Moreira, meaning "mulberry tree," or "mulberry grove."

25. Ojeda (Spanish origin), meaning "foliage," or "a mass of leaves."

26. Pereira (Portuguese origin), meaning "pear tree," or "a grove of pear trees." An alternate spelling is Pereyra.

27. Pomares (Spanish origin), meaning "orchard." A variant spelling is Pomales.

28. Rivas (Catalan origin), meaning "shore" or "riverbank." Related to Rivera.

29. Roque (Spanish and Catalan origin), a surname meaning "rock."

30. Silveira/Silvela (Portuguese origin), meaning "woods," or "land densely populated by woods."

31. Valverde (Spanish origin), meaning "the green valley."

Cuban Surnames Related to Animals

Some of our favorite family names from Cuba are those that come from the animal kingdom; let's look at a few!

32. Bernal (Catalan and German origin), meaning "strong as a bear."

33. Beltrán (German origin), meaning "bright raven."

34. Cisnero (Spanish origin), meaning "swan."

35. Corzo (Spanish origin), meaning "deer," or specifically "the European roe deer."

36. Delfín (Italian origin), meaning "dolphin."

37. Falcón (French and English origin), a last name meaning "falcon."

38. León (Spanish origin), meaning either "lion," or "legion," as in a Roman legion.

39. Ortega (Spanish origin), meaning "grouse" or "quail."

Cuban Royalty And Royalty-Adjacent Surnames

Some people have a last name that evokes images of royalty and nobles. Here's a list of a few you may find in Cuba.

40. Bartelemi (French origin), meaning "one who owns an abundance of land."

41. Basílio (Italian and Portuguese origin), meaning "royal." Traditionally, this was a name given only to those of high birth.

42. Coronado (Spanish origin), meaning "one who has been crowned."

43. Infante (Spanish origin), a family name meaning "child." This was a title given only to the firstborn sons of royalty or nobles.

44. Reyes (Spanish origin), meaning "kings." Related to Rey, meaning the singular "King," and Reyna, meaning "Queen,"

45. Aragón (Basque origin), with an uncertain meaning, potentially "valley." Made famous by Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII.

46. Castilla (Spanish origin), meaning "castle." Derivatives include Castillo, Castello, and Castro, the latter of which was made famous by Fidel Castro, the Cuban dictator.

Cuban Occupational Surnames

Occupational names, like Smith, Carpenter, or any others found in the United States, are pretty common, and those in Cuba are no exception! Here are a handful of Cuban surnames we particularly enjoy.

47. Armas (Spanish origin), meaning "weapons," or "arms."

48. Cabrera (Spanish and Catalan origin), meaning "goatherd." It may also be used to refer to a place where goats live.

49. Ferrer (Spanish origin), meaning "smith," or "blacksmith." It comes from the Latin word for "iron." Related to Herrera.

50. Marrero (Spanish origin), meaning "stone mason," or "one who hammers stones."

51. Obregon (Portuguese origin), meaning "worker." Related to Obrador.

52. Revuelta (Spanish origin), meaning "a revolutionary." This name is thought to have been given as a reward to the leader of a battle against invaders.

53. Zayas (Basque origin), meaning "watchman" or "guardian."

Cuban Names Related to Locations

One of the most common class of surname from Cuba is those related to locations, both man made and natural; here are a few below.

54. Acosta (Portuguese and Spanish origin), meaning "one who lives by the coast or shore."

55. Aldana (Basque origin), a family name meaning "a place along a hillside" or "a place on a slope."

56. Arroyo (Spanish origin), meaning "a pathway or channel used for irrigation."

57. Avila (Spanish origin), meaning "a city dweller," or "one who came from the town."

58. Betancourt (Portuguese and German origin), from the name "Betto" and the word "court" or "yard."

59. Borges (Catalan origin), meaning "bourgeoisie" or "one who lives in town."

60. Borja (Spanish origin), meaning "tower."

61. Calderín (Asturleonese origin), meaning "cauldron" or "crater."

62. Cortina (Spanish origin), meaning "a yard, field, or farm garden."

63. Cuevas (Spanish origin), meaning "cave."

64. Destrade (Spanish origin), a family name meaning "a paved road." An alternate spelling is Estrada.

65. Despaigne (Spanish and French origin), meaning "one who comes from Spain."

66. Escalante (Spanish origin), meaning literally "ladder," but referring to a hillside that has been terraced.

67. Labrada (Spanish origin), meaning "farmland," or "land that has been cultivated and tilled."

68. Lago (Spanish origin), meaning "lake," or "one who lives by the lake."

69. Medina (Spanish and Arabic origin), meaning "city."

70. Miranda (Spanish and Portuguese origin), meaning "an outlook," or "a place with a view."

71. Sevila (Spanish origin), meaning "valley."

72. Valladares (Spanish origin), meaning "a fortress wall" or "bastion."

73. Vega (Spanish origin), meaning "one who lives in the meadow."

74. Villanueva (Spanish origin), meaning "the new country house," or "the new homestead."

Cuban Personality And Appearance Surnames

amazing last names with meaning

Many surnames found in Cuba are themselves adjectives, meant to describe a person's personality or appearance. Here are some we especially like.

75. Alliegro (Italian origin), a surname meaning "cheerful," "happy."

76. Amoros (Spanish origin), meaning "one who is full of love."

77. Bello (Spanish and Italian origin), meaning "attractive" or "handsome."

78. Delgado (Spanish origin), a family name meaning "slender," or "slim."

79. Galves (Spanish origin), meaning "one who triumphs."

80. Ledesma (Spanish origin), meaning "broad" or "large."

81. Rojas (Spanish origin), meaning "red."

Cuban Surnames Related To Religion And Faith

Religion and faith have historically been important to many who live in Cuba. Here we can see a list of family names with faith-based meanings.

82. Aparicio (Spanish origin), meaning "a holy apparition."

83. Ascencio (Spanish and Italian origin), meaning "ascension," as in the ascension of Christ.

84. Batista (Spanish and Portuguese origin), meaning "baptist." An alternate spelling is Bautista.

85. Benavídez (Spanish origin), meaning "the son of God's servant."

86. Benítez (Spanish origin), meaning "the son of Benito," which itself means "blessed one."

87. de la Fe (Spanish origin), a family name meaning "one of faith."

88. Leyva (Spanish origin), meaning "one who administers the law," referring specifically to Christian law.

89. Santamaría (Spanish origin), meaning "Saint Mary."

90. Santana (Spanish origin), meaning "Saint Anne," the mother of Mary.

91. Vives (Catalan origin) meaning, "may you have a long life," which was traditionally used as a blessing.

Less Common Surnames From Cuba

While "uncommon" may be subjective, there are some names that can be found in Cuba less frequently than others.

92. Avellaneda (Spanish origin) meaning "hazel forest," or "a grove of hazel trees."

93. Blanco (Spanish origin), meaning "white."

94. Cañizares (Spanish origin), meaning "one who lives by the reeds."

95. Céspedes (Spanish origin), meaning "grass," or "peat moss."

96. Desnoes (Spanish and French origin), meaning "walnut," or "one from a walnut forest."

97. Galiardo (Italian origin), meaning "powerful," "strong," or "vigorous."

98. Mijares (Spanish origin), meaning "a field of millet or grain."

99. Saavedra (Galician origin), meaning "an ancestral hall."

100. Sarduy (Basque origin), meaning "apple tree."

Kidadl has lots of great names articles to inspire you. If you liked our suggestions for Cuban last names then why not take a look at these Slavic last names, or for something different take a look at these Cuban baby names.

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Written by Georgia Stone

Bachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

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Georgia StoneBachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia is an experienced Content Manager with a degree in French and Film Studies from King's College London and Bachelors degree from Université Paris-Sorbonne. Her passion for exploring the world and experiencing different cultures was sparked during her childhood in Switzerland and her year abroad in Paris. In her spare time, Georgia enjoys using London's excellent travel connections to explore further afield.

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