How popular is the baby name Mercury in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Mercury and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Mercury.
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*Looks like Rurapenthe is based on “Rura Penthe,” the name of a planetoid used as a Klingon penal colony (!) in the Star Trek universe. Its name is a nod to Rorapandi, a penal colony island in the Disney movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954). Rorapandi was invented by Disney; it did not appear in the Jules Verne novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870).
In 1978, the names Astria, Astrea and Astreia all debuted on the SSA’s baby name list, and Astra saw its highest-ever usage:
What caused this sudden interest in the name Astria?
A Saturday morning cartoon called The Space Sentinels (originally titled The Young Sentinels). It premiered in September of 1977, and the main characters were a trio of teenage superheroes that represented three different racial groups:
Mercury (Asian) “the amazing athlete who can match the speed of light”
Astria (African-American) “able to assume any living form”
Hercules (white) “empowered with the strength of a hundred men”
Astria was one of the few African-American superheroes on television around this time. (The Super Friends character Black Vulcan was another.)
Like Hercules and Mercury, Astria’s name was taken from a figure in ancient mythology: the Greek goddess Astraea.
Though I’m writing her name “Astria” here, I have to admit that I don’t know which spelling was used in the cartoon. Every source I checked seemed to use a different variant (Astrea at Wikipedia, Astraea at IMDb, etc.) and none of the episodes I watched on YouTube showed her name on-screen.
Speaking of episodes, not very many exist: only 13 aired before The Space Sentinels was cancelled. Was the mixed-race cartoon too ahead of its time to survive? Hm…
So which of those three debut spellings do you like best — Astria, Astrea or Astreia?
Source: Terrace, Vincent. Television Introductions: Narrated TV Program Openings since 1949. Plymouth, UK: Scarecrow Press, 2014.
****Kaulananapua must have come from the Hawaiian patriotic song “Kaulana Na Pua.” The title translates to “famous are the flowers.”
These 150+ names actually represent a sizeable chunk of the population (estimated at somewhere between 7,000 and 8,000 residents).
P.S. One other name I noticed while searching was Deepak Chopra. My first thought was, “Wow, someone has the same name as Deepak Chopra?” Then I did some digging, and it seems that the real Dr. Chopra does indeed have ties to the island. So…if you want to call Deepak Chopra directly, try the Molokai white pages.