The name Ramirez is derived from Ramiro and means “son of Ramiro” which in turn means, “Judge” or “Warrior”. This name comes from the Visigoths, a Germanic tribe that entered the Roman Empire in 376 A.D. and settled in the Iberian Peninsula (present day Spain and Portugal) in the 5th Century. The name had multiple origin appearing first just before the Arabian invasion of Spain in 711 A.D. and also arising from several kings and counts in about the 9th and 10th centuries. In Portugal the name is spelled Ramires.
Gratian Ramirez is the first man in recorded history with this name. He lived in Spain in the beginning of the 8th century and some of the things told about him were obviously legendary, as you will read below.At the time of the Arabian invasion in 711 A.D. he left Madrid with his family and servants to a castle at he edge of Rivas, next to Jarama, so that he would not have to live under the government at Madrid. From his new home he would frequently visit the sanctuary of Atocha, located on the outskirts of the villa.One day he noticed an object had disappeared from the sanctuary so he looked all around for it and found it hidden in some weeds. Then he promised to build a worthy sanctuary on the very same spot. When he started the construction, the Moors, thinking that he was building a fortress against them marched out to the villa to stop his work. At first, Ramirez wavered in his project. Then he decided to continue building and got a large number of people together for self-defense. To his surprise his group defeated the Moors.They fled in a disorganized fashion while Ramirez and his people chased them all the way back to Madrid.When he returned to the sanctuary to give thanks for his victory over the moors, he found his wife and daughters, who had been beheaded, praying in the church without any sign of injury. He was filled with great joy. This legendary miracle, which was said to have taken place in 720 A.D., was carved on the portals of the church of Atocha and has inspired many poems. It was the theme of Lope de Vega’s drama, “El Alcaide of Madrid,” and Roja’s comedy, “La Patrona de Madrid.”