For the second part of my Island Names series, we'll be heading to South America! While there are literally hundreds of islands off the coast of this continent, I've chosen ten names to focus on today. If you'd like to see more names, please comment!
Isla de la Luna, by Christopher Walker from Krakow, Poland - Tree on the shore of Lake Titicaca, CC BY 2.0,
Alright, so this isn't the name of an island; it's "island" in Spanish. Isla is notable for its meteoric rise to the top 200, beginning its journey at #623 in 2008, and ranking at #141 today. Isla's popularity may have something to do with its similarity to Isabella, as well as its prevalence in the UK and Australia. Overall, Isla is a sweet, feminine name with a pretty sound and romantic meaning.
Luna - Bolivia
Arguably the most prominent name to come out of Harry Potter, Luna has long been a classic in Spanish-speaking countries (like Bolivia). The island itself is named for a story in Incan mythology - the god Viracocha commanded the rising of the moon from Isla de la Luna. It's ethereal but accessible, girlish but strong - Luna is bound to soar over the next few years.
Vitória - Brazil
Named in honor of a "victorious" battle of the Portuguese over the Goytacaz Amerindians, this island is now the capital of a state of Brazil. Vitoria has been recorded in the US intermittently since the 1970's, and has probably stayed unpopular because of its closeness to Victoria (correcting the name constantly will get old). However, if you live in a Portuguese-speaking community, confusion is bound to be less prevalent, and more people will appreciate the delicateness of this name.
Magdalena - Chile
A religious name with thousands of years of history, Magdalena has yet to again reach its peak rank of #311 in 1882. It's rarely been heard outside of the Spanish-speaking community, but as more and more Spanish speakers immigrate to the US, more and more Spanish names will follow! Magdalena is an excellent alternative to Margaret or Madelyn, with the cute nickname Maggie.
Rosario - Colombia
Another classic Spanish name, but this one is even more special because it ends in O - only more modern girls' names like Willow and Harlow seem to have this trait (correct me in the comments!) It translates to "rosary", and could work as an honorific for a familial Rose. Actress Rosario Dawson has also brought this name into the spotlight, but Rosario still has its own individuality.
Alicia - Colombia
Alicia peaked at #40 in 1984, and it's been on the decline since. Alice is the current favorite in this family of names! However, switching the pronunciation from English "Ah-lee-sha" to Spanish "Ah-lee-see-ah" adds a bit more elegance and poise. Alicia's meaning is "noble".
Palma - Colombia
A lovely island name, Palma calls to mind swaying palm trees and Easter Sunday - summer and spring all in one. It ranked in the US until 1942, but has been very uncommon since. With Alma and Paloma in play, perhaps pleasant Palma will rise again! It also offers the vintage nickname Polly.
Margarita - Colombia
Though it's feminine and melodic, most English speakers are likely to associate Margarita with the eponymous drink. It means "pearl" or "daisy", and other variations - Margaret, Marguerite, Margot - are more likely to pass the playground test. Still, if you must choose Margarita, try a pet name with style: Rita, Margie, or Meg are unique options today.
Blanca - Peru
For years Southern Blanche reigned supreme, then graceful Bianca took the lead. Could Blanca have a better chance with recent trends favoring Latin names? Blanca has long been a popular choice in Spain - where it currently ranks at #43 - and there have been more than a few fictional Blanca's on television, in movies, and in literature. Time will tell whether Blanca has a shot!
Kwana - Suriname
The only island in Suriname, Kwana's name is derived from a local fish species, which I have been unsuccessful in researching. Kwana has been used as a name sporadically in the United States, probably due to the popularity of ends-in-ANA names and masculine names like Kwame and Kwan. It's absolutely quirky, but friendly and gorgeous.
Tell me your favorites in the comments!