The name has been used by kings of Scotland, Poland and Yugoslavia, emperors of Russia, and eight popes. Other notable bearers include English poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744), American statesman Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804), Scottish-Canadian explorer Sir Alexander MacKenzie (1764-1820), Russian poet Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), and Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), the Scottish-Canadian-American inventor of the telephone.
In England, this Latin form has been used alongside the vernacular forms Ann and Anne since the late Middle Ages. Anna is currently the most common of these spellings in all English-speaking countries (since the 1970s), however the biblical form Hannah is presently more popular than all three.
The name was borne by several Russian royals, including an 18th-century empress of Russia. It is also the name of the main character in Leo Tolstoy's novel Anna Karenina (1877), about a married aristocrat who begins an ultimately tragic relationship with Count Vronsky.
Among Christians, this name was originally more common in Eastern Europe. It was borne in the 12th century by Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, a daughter of King Andrew II who used her wealth to help the poor. In medieval England it was occasionally used in honour of the saint, though the form Isabel (from Occitan and Spanish) was more common. It has been very popular in England since the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century. In American name statistics (as recorded since 1880) it has never ranked lower than 30, making it the most consistently popular name for girls in the United States.
Besides Elizabeth I, this name has been borne (in various spellings) by many other European royals, including a ruling empress of Russia in the 18th century. Famous modern bearers include the British queen Elizabeth II (1926-) and actress Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011).
This name has been used occasionally in England since the 12th century. It was not common in the English-speaking world until the end of the 20th century.
This is the usual form of the name Elizabeth in Spain and Portugal, though elsewhere it is considered a parallel name, such as in France where it is used alongside Élisabeth. The name was borne by two Spanish ruling queens, including Isabel of Castile, who sponsored the explorations of Christopher Columbus.
The name was borne by a semi-legendary 4th-century saint and martyr from Alexandria who was tortured on a spiked wheel. The saint was initially venerated in Syria, and returning crusaders introduced the name to Western Europe. It has been common in England since the 12th century in many different spellings, with Katherine and Catherine becoming standard in the later Middle Ages. To this day both spellings are regularly used in the English-speaking world. In the United States the spelling Katherine has been more popular since 1973.
Famous bearers of the name include Catherine of Siena, a 14th-century mystic, and Catherine de' Medici, a 16th-century French queen. It was also borne by three of Henry VIII's wives, including Katherine of Aragon, and by two empresses of Russia, including Catherine the Great.
As an English name it has been very popular since the Middle Ages. It was the top name for girls in England and Wales in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, but it declined in the latter half of the 20th century.
Other saints by this name include a queen of Scotland and a princess of Hungary. It was also borne by Queen Margaret I of Denmark, who united Denmark, Sweden, and Norway in the 14th century. Famous literary bearers include American writer Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949), the author of Gone with the Wind, and Canadian writer Margaret Atwood (1939-). Others include American anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-1978) and British prime minister Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013).
This was the name of two ruling queens of Portugal. It was also borne by the Habsburg queen Maria Theresa (1717-1780), whose inheritance of the domains of her father, the Holy Roman emperor Charles VI, began the War of the Austrian Succession.
Due to the renown of the saint, this name has been widely used in the Christian world. It has been common in England since the 12th century, though it became a bit less popular after the Protestant Reformation. The name has been borne by five popes and two czars of Russia.
As a Christian name, Samuel came into common use after the Protestant Reformation. It has been consistently popular in the English-speaking world, ranking yearly in the top 100 names in the United States (as recorded since 1880) and performing similarly well in the United Kingdom.
Famous bearers include English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), American inventor Samuel Morse (1791-1872), Irish writer Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), and American actor Samuel L. Jackson (1948-). This was also the real name, Samuel Clemens, of the American author Mark Twain (1835-1910).
Due to the saint's popularity, the name came into general use in medieval Europe, especially in Spain and France. It was also borne by a 16th-century king of Portugal who died in a crusade against Morocco.
Though in use elsewhere in Europe, the name was very rare in the English-speaking world until the 19th century, when Queen Victoria began her long rule of Britain. She was named after her mother, who was of German royalty. Many geographic areas are named after the queen, including an Australian state and a Canadian city.