9 Worldly Baby Names for Your Future Globetrotter
Who doesn't love a baby name with geographical gravitas? These nine place names for boys and girls will take you all over the map—not just to the obvious destinations, like Paris—and give you insights into history, culture, celebrity, and so much more
Before there was the United States of America and before there was North and South America, there was the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci. As a girls’ name, America saw a steady increase in the first half of the 20th century, peaking in 1958, but has been on the decline ever since. The parents of actress America Ferreraapparently chose tradition over trends when she was born in 1984; Ferrera’s mother shares the name.
Cairo, the capital of Egypt, is the largest city in Africa and sits on the Nile River. It has long been a draw for tourists, boasting medieval markets, museums and, of course, a proximity to the pyramids of Giza. Several US cities and towns are also named Cairo, but the name is a rare choice among parents. Supermodel Beverly Peele gave birth to her daughter Cairo in 1995.
The origins of Dallas, the third biggest city in Texas can actually be traced far from Texan oil fields to Scotland, where it is the name of a rural village and stems from the Gaelic word for “valley of water.” In the US, the name has consistently ranked among the top 400 names for girls and has seen a bit of attention in Hollywood as well, through actress Bryce Dallas Howard.
The Swiss city of Geneva was home to the signing of the historic Geneva Conventions, and is also famous as a financial center. (Swiss bank accounts, anyone?) The uncommon name graced American movie credits in the form of actress Geneva Mitchell, who was born in 1908 and appeared in a Three Stooges short, among other films.
The name of this Midwestern state means Land of the Indians, with several Native American tribes playing an important role in the history of the Hoosier state. But movie lovers outside Indiana may be more inclined to associate the name with the popular Indiana Jones film series. Indy’s influence notwithstanding, the name is still rare among baby name choices.
The African country, with a population of 44 million, is famous for its wildlife safaris and, more recently, as the birthplace of the father of President Barack Obama. In the US, the name has seen its share of ups and downs in terms of popularity. Actress Nastassja Kinski and legendary music producer Quincy Jones had a daughter named Kenya in 1993.
Milan, the Italian fashion capital, is Czech for the “favored one”—and has enjoyed a steady climb in popularity in recent years. On the celebrity front, singer Shakira and soccer star Gerard Piqué named their son Milan in 2013. Literary buffs may know the name from Milan Kundera, the author of “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.”
Odessa is the feminized version of Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s epic The Odyssey, and it’s also the name of the beach city of Odessa in Ukraine. Despite its legendary origins, the just a few dozen babies have been named Odessa each year in recent years.
Famous for its schnitzel and opera, the Austrian capital of Vienna was named the world’s best place to live in 2012, according to a global quality of living survey. In recent years, the number of U.S. parents choosing Vienna has jumped from just a few dozen to hundreds. Many musicians such as Billy Joel also seem to be charmed by the moniker with several songs having the name Vienna in the title.
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