Where did the baby name Tunisia come from in 1943?

Tank in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, in May 1943
Tanks in the capital of Tunisia, 1943

The place-name Tunisia has been used as a baby name for decades now. Long before it started appearing in the U.S. baby name data 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


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.”

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

Sources: Tunisia – Wikipedia, SSA
Image: The British Army in Tunisia 1943 – Imperial War Museums

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.