What is the origin of the last name Pereira?

The last name Pereira has its origins in Portugal and is derived from the Latin word "peregrinus," meaning "pilgrim" or "stranger." It is a common surname in Portuguese-speaking countries, especially in Portugal and Brazil. The name was likely given to families who were pilgrims or newcomers in a particular region. Over time, various branches of the Pereira family have spread to different parts of the world, making it a significant surname in many diverse cultures.

Countries of origin for the last name Pereira

Pereira is a last name of Portuguese origin, commonly found in Portugal, Brazil, and other Portuguese-speaking countries. It is derived from the Portuguese word “pereira” which means “pear tree.” The name is a toponymic surname, indicating that it originated as a name given to individuals who lived near or had an association with a pear tree.

The surname Pereira can be traced back to as early as the 9th century, making it a name with a long history. It is believed to have originated in the northern region of Portugal, particularly in the Minho and Trás-os-Montes provinces, where pear trees were abundant. Over time, individuals with the last name Pereira migrated to other parts of Portugal and eventually to other Portuguese colonies and territories, leading to the widespread distribution of the surname.

One notable historical figure with the last name Pereira is Afonso de Albuquerque, a Portuguese naval general and viceroy of India during the 16th century. Albuquerque played a significant role in the Portuguese Empire’s expansion into Asia and is often referred to as one of the greatest military strategists of his time.

In Brazil, the surname Pereira is quite common, reflecting the country’s historical ties to Portugal. Many Portuguese immigrants who settled in Brazil carried the last name Pereira, contributing to its prevalence. Today, individuals with the last name Pereira can be found in various regions of Brazil, including Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Minas Gerais.

As with many other surnames, the spelling and pronunciation of Pereira can vary across different countries and even within regional dialects. In English-speaking countries, it is often anglicized as Perry or Perryman. The surname has also been adopted by individuals of non-Portuguese descent, potentially through marriage or other familial connections.

The popularity of surnames can change over time and across different regions. While Pereira may not be as well-known as certain other Portuguese surnames, it still holds significant historical and cultural value. The association with the pear tree and its connection to nature and agriculture adds a touch of symbolism to the name, evoking images of fertility, abundance, and rootedness.

In conclusion, the last name Pereira is of Portuguese origin and has a long history dating back to at least the 9th century. It is a toponymic surname meaning “pear tree” and is associated with individuals who lived near or had a connection to pear trees. The widespread distribution of the surname can be attributed to Portuguese migration and colonization. Today, Pereira is commonly found in Portugal, Brazil, and other Portuguese-speaking countries. While its popularity may vary, the name still carries cultural and historical significance, representing a connection to nature and the agricultural heritage of Portugal.

Interesting facts about the last name Pereira

  • The surname Pereira is of Portuguese origin and is one of the most common surnames in Portugal.
  • Derived from the Latin word “peregrinus,” meaning “pilgrim” or “foreigner,” the surname Pereira possibly indicates a family’s connection to travel or migration.
  • It is believed that the surname Pereira was adopted by many Sephardic Jews during the Spanish Inquisition as a way to hide their Jewish heritage and blend into Portuguese society.
  • Pereira is also a common surname in Brazil, where it was brought by Portuguese settlers during the colonial period.
  • The surname is frequently found in other Portuguese-speaking countries such as Cape Verde, Angola, and Mozambique, due to historical ties with Portugal.
  • In the United States, the surname Pereira is most prevalent in states like California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, which have large Portuguese and Brazilian immigrant populations.
  • Notable individuals with the surname Pereira include Brazilian footballer Ricardo Pereira, American artist and writer Lucy Pereira, and Portuguese politician Diogo Freitas do Amaral, whose full name includes Pereira.
  • There are variations of the surname Pereira, including Perera and Periera, which are predominantly found in Sri Lanka and other South Asian countries due to historical Portuguese influence.
  • The coat of arms associated with the surname Pereira typically features symbols representing strength, protection, and loyalty.
  • The name Pereira is often used as a street name in Portuguese-speaking countries, serving as a tribute to historical figures or families with that surname.

Name Rank


There are around 29898 people with the last name Pereira in the US

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