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Popular Spanish First Names

by laurence on Thursday, May 28, 2015

Despite the stereotypes surrounding Spanish first names, not every Spanish man is a Pedro nor every woman a Carmen. Indeed, in past generations, Carmen was a firm favorite, extremely common for Spanish girls born in the early 20th century and for many years afterwards, along with  Josefa and, of course, María. Right up until the 1950s, these names dominated the list of baby names for girls in Spain, and in the same way, Francisco, Manuel, Antonio and José hogged the top spots for boys´ names for a prolonged period.

  • The same few Spanish names were seen in the top 10 most popular Spanish first names lists for decades, until new trends were noted in the 1950s.
  • Spain is famous for its double barreled first names.

In the 1950s, it quickly became very common in Spain to give a child a double name. For girls, most of these began with María, and frequently seen variations included María Dolores, María Teresa and María Pilar. Unsurprisingly, the same trend was seen with boys´names; while the favorites didn’t vary much beyond Francisco, Manuel, José and Antonio, many double-barreled names incorporating Juan and José were given to boys of the decade. José Luis and José Antonio were firm favorites in the 50s, with even more double names popular in the 1960s; José Antonio, Francisco Javier, José Manuel, Juan Carlos and Miguel Ángel all featured in the top 10.

With the monumental changes to Spanish society during the 1970s and 1980s, popular baby names in Spain suddenly started to change, as the country saw a sort of baby name revolution. The most commonly selected included David, Javier, Daniel, Sergio and Alberto, with Francisco and Manuel being knocked from the top spots. For girls, Beatriz, Sara, Verónica and Patricia were the most common 4 names in the 1980s. The 1990s however saw a wave of simplicity, with the absence of double barreled first names from the most popular; names became simple and short (Ana). In terms of boys’ names, interestingly, the names so common in previous decades were wiped from the top 10 completely, with names such as Javier, Daniel, Alejandro and David firmly cementing their place on the list for a long time to come.

Although double barreled names became less common over time, their popularity can be attributed to the fact that in Spanish naming traditions, there is generally no such thing as a middle name. Furthermore, in Spanish customs the child takes both the mother’s and the father’s surname, making Spanish names longer than is the universal norm in terms of the amount of names per individual. However, the most popular Spanish names and the trends in these all form part of the culture, and are a fundamental part of Hispanic tradition.

Other Posts

Game of Thrones - Boosting Andalusia's Tourism

by John Bascombe on Thursday, May 21, 2015

It seems like Game of Thrones fever has even gripped Spain's political world. During his first trip to the European Union since his succession to the throne the Spanish king, Felipe VI, was presented with a box set of the GoT series by the Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias. In October 2014, GoT started filming in Spain using Andalusia as the setting for parts of its fifth series. In a previous blog post we talked about the locations used and about how the filming in Spain will put Spanish cities such as Seville on the world map. In this article I want to talk in more detail about this second point looking at how Spain's tourist industry and society have benefited from the arrival of this fantasy series to their towns and cities… read more »

Death Road - El Camino de la Muerte

by John Bascombe on Thursday, May 14, 2015

The World's Most Dangerous Road Several websites have released lists of the roads that they consider to be the most dangerous in the world. Routes in many different countries including China's Guoliang Tunnel Road and the Trans-Siberian Highway in Russia are often mentioned. However, among all of the roads around the world, one stands out as particularly treacherous. It constantly features on the aforementioned countdowns and in 1995 the Inter-American Development Bank christened it as the “world's most dangerous road.” Its name is the North Yungas Road but it is commonly known by its nickname Death Road (el Camino de la Muerte). In this article we will answer the following questions: Who built it? Why is it so dangerous? Do people still use it? And finally, is there an alternative if you do not want to put your life on the line?… read more »

Curious Non-traditional Sports in Spain

by John Bascombe on Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spain is famous for its strong soccer traditions, particularly after its national team clinched the coveted world cup title in 2010. But fútbol isn’t the country’s only sport; Pau Gasol has slam dunked his way to Spanish basketball greatness, Rafa Nadal has brought great attention to Spain via the tennis court, Ogruu is the father of jugger in Spain, and the Barcelona Eagles competed in the 2013 European Quidditch tournament the “Brussels Muscles Invitational”. Indeed, the European Quidditch tournament. Spain’s also got athletes passionately competing in many decidedly off beat and obscure sports , some of which we’ll take a candid look at below… read more »

Talent Shows in Spain

by John Bascombe on Thursday, April 16, 2015

When discussing the topic of talent shows in Spain, perhaps our thoughts turn to international franchises such as Masterchef or La Voz . However, this article will aim to go back to the beginning of this television genre in Spain looking at its origins, its development and its success nowadays… read more »

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