Nolan is one of the rising Irish surname names, in the spirit of Conan and Ronan, partially inspired by pitcher Nolan Ryan-- who was named Lynn at birth, after his father. Nolan is a cheerful, friendly traditional Irish surname with the appropriate meaning of "champion."
Nolan is now firmly in the Top 100, at Number 71, is well used in Canada and Belgium, and is now Number 26 in France.
Namesakes include fashion designer Nolan Miller and young Nolan Gould, who plays Luke on Modern Family. Nolan Ross is a character on Revenge; comic actress Molly Shannon named her son Nolan.
In the early 16th century Cape Canaveral was noted on maps, although without being named. It was named by Spanish explorers in the first half of the 16th century as Cabo Cañareal. The name "Canaveral" (Cañaveral in Spanish, meaning "reed bed" or "sugarcane plantation") is the third oldest surviving European place name in the US.[note 1] The first application of the name, according to the Smithsonian Institution, was from the 1521–1525 explorations of Spanish explorer Francisco Gordillo. A point of land jutting out into an area of the Atlantic Ocean with swift currents, it became a landing spot for many shipwrecked sailors. An early alternate name was "Cape of Currents." By at least 1564, the name appeared on maps.
English privateer John Hawkins and his journalist John Sparke gave an account of their landing at Cape Canaveral in the 16th century. A Presbyterian missionary was wrecked here and lived among the Indians. Other histories tell of French survivors from Jean Ribault's colony at Fort Caroline, whose ship the Trinite wrecked on the shores of Cape Canaveral in 1565, and built a fort from its timbers.