October 9th of this year will mark the anniversary of the death of guerrilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who was executed in 1967. He was born in Argentina and died in Bolivia, but most associate him with Cuba due to his involvement in the Cuban Revolution (1953-1959).
The year after he died, the baby name Che appeared for the first time in the U.S. baby name data. The name saw peak usage in the early-to-mid ’70s, following the release of the 1969 film Che!, which starred Omar Sharif. Usage was highest in California.
- 1972: 79 baby boys named Che [rank: 902nd]
- 1971: 86 baby boys named Che [rank: 877th]
- 1970: 92 baby boys named Che [rank: 839th]
- 1969: 56 baby boys named Che
- 1968: 19 baby boys named Che [debut]
- 1967: unlisted
- 1966: unlisted
The name also started seeing female usage around this time, debuting in the girls’ data in 1969.
So how did Guevara, who was named Ernesto after his father, acquire the nickname “Che”? From his overuse of the interjection che (“hey!”) while he was living in Guatemala City (1953-1954).
Finally, here’s one more Che-related baby name: Aleida, which more than doubled in usage in 1960, the year after Che married his second wife, Aleida March.
P.S. Here’s a Turkish baby named Ernesto Cheguevara.