This name began to be used in America in the 1970s, possibly inspired by Princess Aisha of Jordan (1968-), the daughter of King Hussein and his British-born wife. It received a boost in popularity after Stevie Wonder used it for his first daughter in 1975.
This name has been common (in various spellings) throughout the Christian world, and it became very popular in the Middle Ages. Saint Andrew is regarded as the patron of Scotland, Russia, Greece and Romania. The name has been borne by three kings of Hungary, American president Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), and, more recently, English composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948-).
The name became regularly used in the Christian world due to the fame of Saint Anthony the Great, a 4th-century Egyptian hermit who founded Christian monasticism. Its popularity was reinforced in the Middle Ages by the 13th-century Saint Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of Portugal. It has been commonly (but incorrectly) associated with Greek ἄνθος (anthos) meaning "flower", which resulted in the addition of the h to this spelling in the 17th century.
The name Jesus comes from a Greek translation of the Aramaic short form יֵשׁוּעַ (Yeshu'a), which was the real name of Jesus. As an English name, Joshua has been in use since the Protestant Reformation.
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.
Geoffrey based parts of Merlin's character on Myrddin Wyllt, a semi-legendary madman and prophet who lived in the Caledonian Forest. Other parts of his life were based on that of the historical 5th-century Romano-British military leader Ambrosius Aurelianus. In Geoffrey's version of the tales and later embellishments Merlin is a wizard and counselor for King Arthur.
As a Christian name, Samuel came into common use after the Protestant Reformation. Famous bearers include American inventor Samuel Morse (1791-1872), Irish writer Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), and American author Samuel Clemens (1835-1910), who wrote under the pen name Mark Twain.
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.
This name was later borne by three other English kings, as well as rulers of Scotland, Sicily (of Norman origin), the Netherlands and Prussia. Other famous bearers include William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish hero, and William Tell, a legendary 14th-century Swiss hero (called Wilhelm in German, Guillaume in French and Guglielmo in Italian). In the literary world it was borne by dramatist William Shakespeare (1564-1616), poet William Blake (1757-1827), poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850), dramatist William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), author William Faulkner (1897-1962), and author William S. Burroughs (1914-1997).
In the American rankings (since 1880) this name has never been out of the top 20, making it one of the most consistently popular names (although it has never reached the top rank). In modern times its short form, Liam, has periodically been more popular than William itself, in the United Kingdom in the 1990s and the United States in the 2010s.