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Exploration

The New World

How did America get its name

Though Christopher Columbus discovered the New World, he always believed that he had reached Asia, not realizing that he had encountered new continents. The Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, who had explored the New World and published accounts of his travels, was the first person known to have distinguished the New World from Asia. The German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller, who had read of Amerigo Vespucci’s travels, published a map of the New World in 1507 with what is now known as South America named “America,” in honor of Amerigo. The name stuck.



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