As it is well known, the “de Acuña” name is the Castilian translation of the “da Cunha” name of Portuguese origin.What is less well known it the source of the “de Acuña”heraldry. “Cuhna” (in Portuguese) or “Cuña” (in Spanish) means a WEDGE, like those iron wood-cutting wedges used to facilitate chopping wood. As a matter of fact, the original coat of Arms of the“da Cunha” family represents nine azur wedges, three by three, on golden background.The Coat of Arms of the Spanish de Acuña descendents has, in addition, a white fringe around it with 5 small shields of Portugal (in pure heraldic terms : “De oro, las 9 cuñas de azur, puestas 3, 3 y 3; la bordura de plata cargada de los cinco escudos de Portugal”).
In first quarter of the XIIth century Gutierre Peláez, a noble knight (of Gascon origin, according to several sources), accompanied Count D. Henrique in the conquest ofPortugal.Camoens, the poet, praises Count Gutierre, as one of the 12 knights that conquered Portugal.As a trusted and faithful advisor to D. Henrique, he received many lands and privileges.
His son, Count Pelayo Gutierrez, served as well the king of Portugal (Portugal separated from the Kingdom of Leon in 1143).He was, according to the chronicles of his time, a “balerosisimo caballero y muy esforzado”,brave and arduous knight, and found himself fighting along his king in numerous battles against the Moors.During the siege of Lisbonne in 1147, he managed to stick at night iron wedges in several places around the city walls, so that the infidels could not exit from the city and so that Christians could better make them endure the siege.In the aftermath of the conquest of the city, Count Pelayo earned his name da Cunha and his coat of arms, as well as the castle of Torresnobas.
It is his son Fernando Peláez who first bore the name and patronyme of Señor da Cunha
I found this information from a XVIIth century manuscript at the University of Geneva (Switzerland) 10 years ago “Lucero de la Nobleza Española”, the author himself quoting contemporary and aancient royal chronicles.
Greetings, Alfonso Sartorius, direct descendent from the de Acuña family of Baeza in Spain.