During the ’60s and ’70s, a slew of Africa-inspired baby names debuted in the U.S. baby name data. These included traditional African names (e.g., Abayomi, Ayanna), names taken from African and African-American public figures (e.g., Lumumba, Levar), and — the focus of today’s post — African place names, particularly country names.
Here are all the African country/region/kingdom names I’ve spotted in the SSA data so far. (I didn’t omit Chad, even though it coincides with the English name Chad.)
Moses Shattuck and Naomi Weatherbee of Brookline, New Hampshire, were married in 1802 and had a total of 6 children:
Roxanna, b. 1803
Asia, b. 1804
Africa, b. 1807
Europe, b. 1809
America, b. 1810
Mary, b. 1812
All the continent-children are boys.
In fact, I believe all four names — Asia, Africa, Europe and America — cover the known world of 1802. At that time Australia was considered part of Asia, America hadn’t yet been split into North and South, and Antarctica wouldn’t be discovered for another couple of decades.
These days continent names are considered girl names, not boy names. Asia and America see heavy yearly usage, Africa and Australia are uncommon but not unheard of, and Europe and Antarctica are nearly non-existent.
Source: Shattuck, Lemuel. Memorials of the Descendants of William Shattuck. Boston: Dutton and Wentworth, 1855.
According to data from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística, the most popular baby names last year were Lucia and Hugo.
Here are Spain’s top 20 girl names and top 20 boy names of 2013:
1. Lucia 2. Maria 3. Paula 4. Daniela 5. Martina 6. Carla 7. Sara 8. Sofia 9. Valeria 10. Julia 11. Alba 12. Claudia 13. Noa 14. Marta 15. Irene 16. Emma 17. Carmen 18. Laura 19. Ana 20. Ainhoa
1. Hugo 2. Daniel 3. Pablo 4. Alejandro 5. Alvaro 6. Adrian 7. David 8. Mario 9. Diego 10. Javier 11. Lucas 12. Nicolas 13. Manuel 14. Marcos 15. Iker 16. Sergio 17. Izan 18. Jorge 19. Carlos 20. Martin
I found this list via Name News by Clare, who said:
So many names I’d never have guessed (and, in some cases, have never heard of) here, like Alvaro, Ainhoa, Aitana, Leire, Nerea, and Ainara.
I agree. I also didn’t expect to see the boy names Aitor (35th), Asier (58th) or Unai (60th). Or the girl name Africa, which was 68th — way more common in Spain than here.
(Aitana, Leire, Nerea, and Ainara ranked 26th, 28th, 31st and 29th for girls, respectively.)
I haven’t blogged about the top names in Spain before, but I did have a post about the top names in Catalonia last year. Weirdly, I looked up Unai for that post — it’s Basque and means “cowherd.”