Everybody knows that Columbus discovered America. But very few people know then why wasn’t it named after him. How Did America Get Its Name? The reason for this might be considered an accident of the fate. When Columbus made his first journey, he sighted land early in the morning of October 12, 1492.
The Explorer Columbus went ashore, took possession in the names of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, and named the land San Salvador. That land though, was not the mainland of the continent. It is what we now call Watling Island, in the Bahamas. Columbus actually thought he had reached sub-continent which was his ultimate goal so he called the natives Indians.
Therefore, Columbus cruised on, looking for Japan. Instead he found Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic today). On March 14, 1493, Columbus returned to Spain. On his second voyage which started on September 24, 1493, Columbus found many of the Virgin Islands, i.e., Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. However he was still determined to find India. On his third attempt in 1498, he found Trinidad and touched the land of South America. But he initially thought he had discovered a series of islands.
Another Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, meanwhile was claiming that he had been the first to reach the mainland of South America. This was happened on June 16, 1497. Many experts believe that Vespucci did not really make his voyage until 1499.
However, on the trip in the early fifteen century 1501, Vespucci sailed along the coast of South America and wrote letters saying they had discovered a new continent. His information was used by a German map-maker and in his maps he used the name “America” (after Amerigo Vespucci) for the new continent. Amerigo Vespucci was apparently uninformed of the use of his name to refer to the new landmass and that name has been used ever since.
However, in 1538 world map, the Gerardus Mercator applied the name to the entire New World. Acceptance may have been supported by the natural poetic counterpart that the name America made with Africa, Asia, and Europa.
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