How did Gamal Abdel Nasser influence U.S. baby names?

Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser (in 1958)
Gamal Abdel Nasser

Egyptian politician Gamal Abdel Nasser became one of the primary leaders of Egypt following the Egyptian Revolution* of 1952.

He was elected president of the country on June 23, 1956.

A little more than a month after the election, on July 26, Nasser nationalized the 120-mile Suez Canal. Up to that point, the canal had been controlled jointly by Britain and France. Nasser did this in response to the U.S. and Britain withdrawing their offers to help finance the construction of the Aswan Dam, which was part of Nasser’s plan to improve Egypt’s economy and thereby modernize the country.

In late October and early November, forces from Israel, France, and Great Britain invaded Egypt. But the aggression was opposed by much of the rest of the world, including both the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and the three invading countries were pressured to withdraw from Egypt over the following weeks and months.

Politicians Dwight Eisenhower and Gamal Abdel Nasser (in 1960)
Dwight Eisenhower and Gamal Abdel Nasser

So, Gamal Abdel Nasser emerged victorious from the Suez Crisis. (It was now “clear that the old colonial powers, Great Britain and France, had been supplanted as the world’s preeminent geopolitical forces by the United States and Soviet Union.”)

And in 1957, both Gamal and Nasser saw enough usage as baby names to appear for the first time in the U.S. baby name data:

Boys named GamalBoys named Nasser

Many of these early Gamals and Nassers were born in New York and Illinois — likely New York City and Chicago specifically — and could therefore be babies born into Egyptian-American families.

What are your thoughts on the names Gamal and Nasser?

*The Egyptian Revolution overthrew King Farouk, whose first wife was Farida.

Sources: British History in depth: The Suez Crisis – BBC, What was the Suez Crisis? – Ask History, SSA

Images: Adapted from Gamal Abdel Nasser 1958 and President Nasser and President Eisenhower (both in the public domain)

4 thoughts on “How did Gamal Abdel Nasser influence U.S. baby names?

  1. Sure, you could do that if you want.

    In terms of babies born in the late ’50s, I didn’t find any cases of boys being named Suez, either in the SSA data or in the records. The only cases I spotted in the records were female — probably inspired by the Susan/Suzanne/Suzette family of names, not references to the canal.

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