Gamal & Nasser: Suez Crisis Baby Names?

Dwight Eisenhower and Gamal Nasser, 1960
Dwight Eisenhower and Gamal Nasser, 1960

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.

So, Gamal 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:

YearUsage of GamalUsage of Nasser
195913 baby boys6 baby boys
19588 baby boys7 baby boys
19579 baby boys [debut]7 baby boys [debut]
1956..
1955..

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.

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

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

4 thoughts on “Gamal & Nasser: Suez Crisis 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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