How popular is the baby name Ahnighito in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Ahnighito.

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Popularity of the baby name Ahnighito

Posts that mention the name Ahnighito

Baby name story: Ahnighito

Marie Ahnighito Peary (1893-1978)
Marie Ahnighito Peary (mid-1890s)

Roald Amundsen was the first explorer to verifiably reach the North Pole (in 1926, with the help of a dirigible). But he wasn’t the first explorer to claim to have reached the North Pole.

One of those early claimants was Robert Peary, who said he reached the Pole in 1909. While no one knows for sure if this is true, other facts about Peary’s travels are not in question.

For instance, there’s the fact that he brought his pregnant wife Josephine to northern Greenland in 1893 so that she could give birth to their first child in the Arctic. The baby girl, who arrived in September, was the first Caucasian baby to be born at that altitude.

The baby’s name? Marie Ahnighito. She was often called the “snow baby” by the media.

In her 1901 book The Snow Baby: A True Story with True Pictures, Josephine described an outfit one of the Inuit women had constructed for Marie, and that led to the story of the name:

This costume was made by a woman named AH-NI-GHI-TO; so, when the baby was christened, she too was called AH-NI-GHI-TO. She was also named Marie for her only aunt, who was waiting in the far-off home land to greet her little niece.

(I wish she’d included a translation/interpretation of Ahnighito, but alas she did not.)

Marie Ahnighito was probably the first non-Inuit baby to get that particular Inuit name, but she wasn’t the last. So far I’ve found four U.S. babies (two male, two female) named Ahnighito. Two were born in the late 1930s, not long after Marie’s book The Snowbaby’s Own Story (1934) was published, and the other two were born in the late 1950s. (One was Ahnighito Eugene Riddick.)

…Oh, and I know of one more thing named after Marie Ahnighito: A meteorite. Or at least a big chunk of one.

About 10,000 years ago, a meteorite entered the atmosphere, broke up, and landed in pieces close to Cape York, Greenland. For centuries the Inuit of the region used iron from the fragments to make tools and harpoons.

Peary discovered these meteorite fragments around 1894. A few years later, he sold the three largest pieces — called “Tent,” “Woman” and “Dog” by the Inuit — to the American Museum of Natural History for $40,000. (Essentially, he profited from stealing/selling the Inuit’s only source of metal.) At some point Peary renamed the largest fragment “Ahnighito” in honor of his daughter, and today all three pieces — Ahnighito, Woman, and Dog — remain on display in New York City.


Image: Marie Peary (LOC)

Baby names of Antarctica: Solveig, Emilio, Juan, Gisella

Only a handful of babies have been born on Antarctica. Ever wonder what their names are?

Me too. So I looked them up.

First I should mention Solveig Gunbjørg Jacobsen, a Norwegian baby girl who was born on South Georgia Island on October 8, 1913. She wasn’t the first baby born on Antarctica itself, but she was the first baby born in the southern polar region.

The first true Antarctican baby was Emilio Marcos de Palma, born at Argentine research station Esperanza Base in Hope Bay, Trinity Peninsula, Antarctica, on January 7, 1978.

Silvia Morella de Palma, the wife of Esperanza’s station leader, was flown in when she was seven months pregnant. The idea was to claim sovereignty by giving birth to the first native-born Antarctican.

Over the next five years, seven more babies were born at Esperanza Base, but I haven’t had any luck tracking down their names.

But — given the “historical rivalry between Chile and Argentina” — you can bet that Chile wasn’t going to be far behind on this. The only other civilian settlement in Antarctica, Villa Las Estrellas, located on a Chilean military base on King George Island, welcomed its first baby, Juan Pablo Camacho, in 1984.

Nicknaming him “the penguin,” [military officials in General Pinochet’s government] contended that he was the first baby conceived and born in Antarctica, drawing a contrast to Argentines born to mothers who might have given birth in Antarctica but became pregnant elsewhere.

Two more babies (one named Gisella) have since been born at Villa Las Estrellas.

If you happen to know the names/nationalities of any of the other Antarctican babies, please leave a comment!

P.S. Babies born on the other side of the world — in the Arctic — include Charlie Polaris, Marie Ahnighito, and Karina.


Image: Argentinian station Esperanza by Samuel Blanc under CC BY-SA 3.0.