Meaning: “saint James.”
The name is composed of the Spanish words santo (saint) and Iago (the Medieval Spanish form of Jacob).
The name was originally used in honour of St. James the Apostle. Tradition has it that St. James the Apostle travelled to the Iberian peninsula after the death of Christ and it is said that he is buried under the church of Santiago de Compestela in Galicia, Spain.
Santiago was also used as a battle cry by Spanish Christians during the Reconquisition from the Moors.
He is currently a very popular name throughout the Spanish-speaking world. In Mexico he is the most popular male name (2010). In other countries his rankings are as follows:
- # 36 (Chile, 2010)
- # 70 (Spain, 2010)
- # 99 (Catalonia, 2010)
- # 133 (United States, 2010)
His offshoot of Diego has been argued to be a form of the Greek didache (teaching) but was originally bestowed in honour of St. James the Apostle.
Diego does not lag that far behind his more elaborate counterpart. He is currently the 3rd most popular male name in Mexico, (2010) while in other Spanish-speaking countries he ranks in at:
- # 9 (Spain, 2010)
- # 11 (Chile, 2010)
- # 57 (Belgium, 2008)
- # 74 (France, 2008)
- # 85 (United States, 2010)
- # 303 (the Netherlands, 2010)
Other forms of the name Diego include:
- Xanti (Basque)
- Dídac (Catalan)
- Didacus (Late Latin/Medieval Spanish)
- Diogo (Portuguese)
- Tiago (Portuguese)
- Thiago (Portuguese: Brazilian)
Its Portuguese form of Tiago is the 5th most popular male name in Portugal (2008) and the 95th most popular male name in France, (2008). While Diogo is the 4th most popular male name in Portugual, (2008). And according to Babycenter Brasil, Tiago is the 34th most popular male name among registered users.
Both Diego and Santiago have been used as place names throughout the New World.