A Spanish surname, Cardenas comes from Latin terms ‘cardinus’ and ‘carduus’ which means goldfinch, vines or thistle. The spelling variations for Cardenas include Cardena, Cardenes, de Cardena, Cardo, de Cardehnas and de Cardo. The original Cardenas families came from northern Spain coming from the island of Sicily. Many resettled in the Americas into regions of Nicaragua, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico. In England there are Cardenas families in the city of London, the Channel Islands and north to Lancashire and Cheshire counties. Within the United States the original Cardenas families settled in Texas, California, New Mexico, Florida, Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma. Famous: Luis Ernesto Cardenas (Mexican chemist for co-inventing the first oral contraceptive), Lazaro Cardenas (president of Mexico), Adan Cardenas (president of Nicaragua), Carlos Cardenas (footballer from Bolivia), Leo Cardenas (baseball player from Cuba), Rocio Cardenas (actress from Mexico) and Luis Cardenas (champion cyclist from Colombia).