Gamal & Nasser: Suez Crisis Baby Names?

gamal nasser, dwight eisenhower, ike, 1960,
Dwight Eisenhower and Gamal Nasser, 1960

Egyptian politician Gamal Abdel Nasser became one of the primary leaders of Egypt following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.* He was elected president of the country on June 23, 1956.

A little more than a month after the election, on July 26, Nasser nationalized the 120-mile Suez Canal. Up to that point, the canal had been controlled jointly by Britain and France. Nasser did this in response to the U.S. and Britain withdrawing their offers to help finance the construction of the Aswan Dam, which was part of Nasser’s plan to improve Egypt’s economy and thereby modernize the country.

In late October and early November, forces from Israel, France, and Great Britain invaded Egypt. But the aggression was opposed by much of the rest of the world, including both the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and the three invading countries were pressured to withdraw from Egypt over the following weeks and months.

So, Gamal Nasser emerged victorious from the Suez Crisis. (It was now “clear that the old colonial powers, Great Britain and France, had been supplanted as the world’s preeminent geopolitical forces by the United States and Soviet Union.”) And in 1957, both Gamal and Nasser saw enough usage as baby names to debut on the U.S. baby name charts:

Year Usage of Gamal Usage of Nasser
1959 13 baby boys 6 baby boys
1958 8 baby boys 7 baby boys
1957 9 baby boys [debut] 7 baby boys [debut]
1956 unlisted unlisted

Many of these early Gamals and Nassers were born in New York and Illinois — likely New York City and Chicago specifically — and could therefore be babies born into Egyptian-American families.

Sources: SSA, BBC – History – British History in depth: The Suez Crisis, What was the Suez Crisis? – Ask History

*The revolution overthrew King Farouk, whose first wife was Farida.


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