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This Spanish exclamation of surprise was first popularized by the Madrid flamenco dancer and singer, María Antonia Vallejo Fernández also known as La Caramba, in the 1780s. She performed a type of short satirical song called a tonadilla and ended her performance by shouting "¡caramba!," giving her the nickname. A couple centuries later, Bart Simpson brought "¡Ay, caramba!" into modern pop culture on the still-running show, The Simpsons. These were his first words and they became one of his most well-know catchphrases after "Eat my shorts!"
¡Ay, caramba! (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://simpsons.fandom.com/wiki/¡Ay,_caramba!