How popular is the baby name Tunisia in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Tunisia and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Tunisia.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Tunisia

Number of Babies Named Tunisia

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Tunisia

African Nations as Baby Names

biafra
Flag of Biafra

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.)

Name Debut year Peak usage
Chad 1914 13,400 baby boys in 1972
Tunisia 1943 (due to WWII) 39 baby girls in 1974
Rwanda 1951 5 baby girls in both 1951 & 1973
Kenya 1952 894 baby girls in 1973
Sahara 1964 248 baby girls in both 2006 & 2007
Rhodesia 1966 12 baby girls in 1977
Mali 1967 65 baby girls in 2008
Tanzania 1968 38 baby girls in 1992
Africa 1969 76 baby girls in 1972
Biafra 1969 (due to Biafra being in the news; the Biafran War lasted from 1967 to 1970) 5 baby girls in 1969; one-hit wonder
Ghana 1969 7 baby girls in 1969
Tanganyika 1969 16 baby girls in 1972
Nubia 1969 83 baby girls in 1969
Ashanti 1970 2,945 baby girls in 2002 (due to the singer)
Uganda 1973 12 baby girls in 1973
Algeria 1974 6 baby girls in both 1993 & 1995
Libya 1974 8 baby girls in 2011
Zaire 1974 316 baby boys in 2017
Egypt 1975 266 baby girls in 2017
Nigeria 1975 58 baby girls in 2000
Niger 1976 9 baby girls in both 1976 & 1977
Somalia 1977 43 baby girls in 1993
Zimbabwe 1981 5 baby boys in 1981; one-hit wonder
Sudan 1982 5 baby boys in both 1982 & 1995
Eritrea 1991 (due to Eritrea being in the news; the Eritrean War of Independence ended in 1991) 5 baby girls in 1991; one-hit wonder
Asmara 1993 (due to Asmara being in the news; it became the capital of independent Eritrea in 1993) 13 baby girls in 2013
Morocco 2005 19 baby boys in 2017

Only five of the above did not either debut or see peak usage during the 1960s/1970s.

Sicilian Baby Named for Uncle Sam During WWII

Uncle Sam army posterOn July 9, 1943, the Allies invaded the island of Sicily. Within six weeks they had expelled the Axis entirely, opening up Mediterranean sea lanes for Allied ships and setting the stage for the invasion of mainland Italy.

But before the battle was over, in early August, two American servicemen — 1st Lt. Lawrence Taylor (who was a doctor) and Sgt. Milton Spelman — helped a Sicilian woman give birth a baby boy amid the chaos.

As a thank-you to the American doctor, she decided to name the baby Sam after Uncle Sam.

“The shells were landing all about,” Taylor recalled, “but we got through the delivery okay. The mother, who lived in New York once, told us her husband was with an Italian combat unit near Rome and believed in fascism. But she didn’t. Spelman and I became little Sam’s god-fathers.”

So how did Uncle Sam get his name? The Library of Congress says that the origin of the term “Uncle Sam” is obscure, but “[h]istorical sources attribute the name to a meat packer who supplied meat to the army during the War of 1812” — Samuel Wilson (1766-1854) of Troy, New York. According to the story, the soldiers who knew of “Uncle Sam” Wilson began to associate his nickname with the “U.S.” stamp on packaged meats, and over time the nickname simply became associated with anything marked “U.S.”

The name Samuel comes from the Hebrew name Shemuel/Shmuel and is typically defined as “name of God” (shem + el). Another possible definition is “heard of God” (shama + el).

Sources:

More WWII baby names: Adolf Hitler, Dorie, Fifinella, Hai-Hu, Irene, Jesse Roper, Linda Ann, Linda Vista, Roger, Tunisia, Vee

Pop Culture Baby Name Game #2 Results

Britney Spears - Pop Culture Baby Name Game MascotIn Pop Culture Baby Name Game #2, we tried to predict which baby names would see increased usage in 2011, thanks to popular culture.

Here’s how we did. The numbers are all from 2010 and 2011, respectively. (Check out Harper & Bentley!)

  • Adele – yes, rose from 286 to 453 baby girls
  • Atlantis – nope, fell from 16 to 7 baby girls
  • Alaina – yes, rose from 1,490 to 1,985 baby girls
  • Alaric – yes, rose from 40 to 48 baby boys
  • Amy – nope, fell from 2,275 to 2,177 baby girls
  • Arya – yes, rose from 273 to 386 baby girls (& from 87 to 110 baby boys)
  • Arabella – yes, rose from 826 to 934 baby girls
  • Aria – yes, rose from 898 to 1,964 baby girls
  • Arthur – yes, rose from 725 to 888 baby boys
  • Bear – yes, rose from 53 to 85 baby boys
  • Bentley – yes rose from 3761 to 5535 baby boys (& from 231 to 285 baby girls)
  • Betty – yes, rose from 130 to 163 baby girls
  • Bran – yes, rose from 5 to 7 baby boys
  • Cairo – yes, rose from 45 to 91 baby boys, and 5 to 12 baby girls
  • Casey – nope, fell from 483 to 463 baby girls (& from 705 to 635 baby boys)
  • Caylee – yes, rose from 565 to 692 baby girls
  • Charlie (girl name) – yes, rose from 664 to 848 (pop culture reference: Disney’s Good Luck Charlie)
  • Crosby – yes, rose from 180 to 301 baby boys
  • Edith – yes, rose from 325 to 350 baby girls
  • Egypt – yes, rose from 100 to 112 baby girls, and 5 to 11 baby boys
  • Ezra – yes, rose from 1439 to 1735 baby boys (& from 88 to 101 baby girls)
  • Florence – nope, fell from 75 to 73 baby girls (I’m surprised by this!)
  • Flynn – yes, rose from 81 to 208 baby boys
  • Gabrielle – nope, fell from 3,128 to 2,601 baby girls
  • Harper – yes, Harper rose from 2,624 to 4,636 baby girls (& from 339 to 399 baby boys)
  • Harvey – yes, rose 184 to 243 baby boys
  • Hattie – yes, from 157 to 253 baby girls
  • Haven – yes, rose from 447 to 504 baby girls (but fell from 164 to 133 baby boys)
  • Jace – yes, rose from 2,669 to 3,689 baby boys
  • Kate – yes, rose from 1,485 to 1,774 baby girls
  • Kez – nope, off the list both years
  • Khal – nope, off the list both years
  • Libya – yes, rose from off-the-list (fewer than 5) to 7 baby girls
  • Maci – yes, rose from 1,351 to 1,725 baby girls
  • Mars – yes, rose from 14 to 23 baby boys
  • Maxton – yes, 193 to 208 baby boys
  • Mobley – nope, off the list both years
  • Monroe – yes, rose from 93 to 141 baby girls
  • Mylo – yes, rose from 33 to 57 baby boys
  • Nicki – yes, rose from 9 to 21 baby girls
  • Octavia – no, fell from 88 to 72
  • Perry – yes, rose from 32 to 40 baby girls, and 129 to 146 baby boys
  • Pippa – yes, Pippa rose from 16 to 69 baby girls (& Philippa from 25 to 53)
  • Raylan – yes, rose from 132 to 326 baby boys
  • Rue – yes, rose from 9 to 13 baby girls
  • Siri – nope, Siri fell from 111 to 103 baby girls
  • Sparrow – yes, rose from 5 to 11 baby boys (but fell from 32 to 31 baby girls)
  • Spring – yes, rose from 11 to 16 baby girls
  • Steve – yes, rose from 279 to 324 baby boys
  • Tim – nope, fell from 65 to 48 baby boys
  • Tunisia – nope, off the list both years
  • William – yes, rose from 16,979 to 17,151 baby boys

I know I missed a few, but we’ll discuss them all eventually I’m sure. :)

Here are the results to PCBNG #1.

The Baby Name Tunisia

tunisia, tunis, tank , wwii, 1943, baby name
Tank in Tunis, 1943

Tunisia has been used as a baby name for decades now. Long before it started appearing on the SSA’s baby name list regularly in the mid-1960s, though, it popped up for the first time in 1943:

  • 1945: unlisted
  • 1944: unlisted
  • 1943: 8 baby girls named Tunisia [debut]
  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: unlisted

Why 1943?

Because Tunisia was in the news quite a bit that year, thanks to the Tunisia Campaign of World War II.

The Axis had seized control of capital city Tunis in November of 1942. After a series of battles, the Allies freed the city in May of 1943 and drove the Axis out of Africa.

No one knows exactly how Tunis was named, but theories abound. One theory connects it to the Phoenician goddess Tanith. Another suggests it comes from a Berber verb meaning “to camp” or “to lie down.”

(Dizzy Gillespie also penned the jazz standard “A Night in Tunisia” in the early ’40s.)