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Isabella Meaning


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Origin & Meaning

The name Isabella is of Spanish origin.

The meaning of Isabella is "my G-d is an oath, pledged to G-d".  


In the U.S. in 2014, it ranked 4  in baby name popularity for girls with 16950 occurrences.  It ranked 4917 in popular baby names for boys with 19 occurrences. 

View the Isabella Name Popularity Page to see how the popularity trend for Isabella has changed since 1880, or to compare the popularity of Isabella to other names.


Isabella is a Spanish form of Elizabeth. The name was imported into France in the Middle Ages, and from there, into England. It was a popular name amongst royalty.

Queen Isabella I of Spain was the Queen of Spain and the Queen of Castile and Aragon.

Isabella married her second cousin Ferdinand of Aragon in October 1469. After much in-fighting and a war of succession, Isabella was recognized as Queen of Castile in 1479. By this time Ferdinand had become the King of Aragon. The two ruled jointly with equal authority in both realms, thereby unifying Spain.

Unfortunately the two are most famous for beginning one of the darkest periods in Spanish history, the Spanish inquisition.

Although preceeded by years of anti-Jewish sentiment and violence, in 1480 Isabella and Ferdinand began the formalized State / Church sponsored persecution which came to be known as the Spanish Inquisition. Although purification of the faith was the original motive for the Inquisition, it came to have more materialistic, racial, and political motives, which led to the terror for which it is infamous.

Isabella being a devout Catholic may have truly wanted to end heresy within the Catholic faith, but Ferdinand, not being a religious man probably saw it as an opportunity to seize wealth. It is highly likely that some of Spain's military campaigns were financed through wealth seized during the Spanish Inquisition.

The Spanish Inquisition is infamous for the level of inhuman brutality employed to gain confessions of heresy from the accused. Whether the accused ended up confessing or not many were sentenced to death and thrown into a fire.

The Spanish Inquisition began in 1478 and ended in 1826. Napoleon put an end to it during his reign from 1808 to 1812 but it was reinstituted by King Ferdinand VII of Spain when he recovered the throne. Although the number of people which were burned is disputed, the mid-range estimates are in the tens of thousands.

The inquisition is like most other dark periods of history. It was primarily brought on because of jealousy, prejudices and greed. When one people excel within a society and they make up the minority, they historically are labeled as scapegoats for the problems of the rest of society.

In 1492, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand expelled the Jews of Spain by royal edict. The Muslims of Spain (the Moors) were expelled ten years later.

In that same year, 1492, Isabella was convinced by Christopher Columbus to sponsor his voyage of discovery. Because of the timing of this exploration, it is believed that many Jews were counted amongst the explorers.

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What will your new little Isabella be like?

It may all be in the numbers.

The numbers that make up your child's name.

Children named Isabella are often flowery and admired but most of all they are  read more >>

Related Names

Variants of the name Isabella include Isabela, Isebella.

The names Izabela, Izabella are all forms of Isabella.

Isabella has the diminutive (nickname) Sabella.

Other Tidbits

Some famous bearers of this name include: Isabella Rosellini.

Name Fun

Would you like to fingerspell the name Isabella in American Sign Language?

Then just follow the diagram below.

Be creative with the name Isabella.

Just for fun, see the name Isabella in Hieroglyphics, learn about ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics and write a Hieroglyphic message.

Learn about nautical flags and see your name or message written in nautical flags, on the Isabella in Nautical Flags page.

Names Like This

Spanish names consist of one or more given names followed by TWO family names. Generally the first surname is the father's first surname and the second is the mother's first surname but this traditional order no longer required. Generally the second surname is only used for formal and legal matters.

Although a child may have only one or two given names for official civil records, they may be given several names when baptized.

Given names are simple such as Juan or composite such as Juan Pablo. Composite names are considered single unit first names and not first and second names.

Parents give names that just appeal to them, honor relatives or saints, or are of traditional Spanish origin.

Many Spanish given names honor the Virgin Mary. Girls are frequently given the name Maria or Maria followed by a suffix name and boys are sometimes given the name Maria as a middle name. Girls with Marian composite names may use the suffix portion of their name as their main informal name. For example Maria de los Angeles, Maria del Pilar and Maria de la Luz, may go by the names Angeles, Pilar and Luz.

Although the first name within a composite name generally reflects the gender of the holder, the second name need not, as in Jose Maria or Maria Jose.