In 1978, the names Astria, Astrea and Astreia all debuted in the U.S. baby name data, and the name Astra saw its then-highest-ever usage (unsurpassed until 2020):
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 (e.g., “Astrea” at Wikipedia, “Astraea” at IMDb) 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?
So which of those three debut spellings do you like best: Astria, Astrea or (one-hit wonder) Astreia?
- Space Sentinels (TV series 1977) – IMDb
- Space Sentinels – Wikipedia
- Terrace, Vincent. Television Introductions: Narrated TV Program Openings since 1949. Plymouth, UK: Scarecrow Press, 2014.
One thought on “Where did the baby name Astria come from in 1978?”
My name is Astreia and I was born in 1979. Honestly, Astreia is the best spelling for this name.