How Did America Get Its Name?

Today, America celebrates its independence. Our founding fathers drafted and adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring America’s freedom from Great Britain and setting in motion universal human rights.

While the colonies may have established it, “America” was given a name long before. America is named after Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer who set forth the then revolutionary concept that the lands that Christopher Columbus sailed to in 1492 were part of a separate continent. A map created in 1507 by Martin Waldseemüller was the first to depict this new continent with the name “America,” a Latinized version of “Amerigo.”

wald-america

“America” is identified in the top portion of this segment of the 1507 Waldseemüller map. Geography and Map Division.

A crown jewel in the Library’s cartographic collections is the map, also known as “America’s Birth Certificate.” While the map has been much publicized since it was acquired in 2003, it’s worthy of exploration today of all days.

The map grew out of an ambitious project in St. Dié, France, in the early years of the 16th century, to update geographic knowledge flowing from the new discoveries of the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Waldseemüller’s large world map was the most exciting product of that research effort. He included on the map data gathered by Vespucci during his voyages of 1501-1502 to the New World. Waldseemüller named the new lands “America” on his 1507 map in the recognition of Vespucci’s understanding that a new continent had been uncovered following Columbus’ and subsequent voyages in the late 15th century. An edition of 1,000 copies of the large wood-cut print was reportedly printed and sold, but no other copy is known to have survived. It was the first map, printed or manuscript, to depict clearly a separate Western Hemisphere, with the Pacific as a separate ocean. The map reflected a huge leap forward in knowledge, recognizing the newly found American landmass and forever changing mankind’s understanding and perception of the world itself.

For more than 350 years the map was housed in a 16th-century castle in Wolfegg, in southern Germany. The introduction to Waldseemüller’s “Cosmographie” actually contains the first suggestion that the area of Columbus’ discovery be named “America” in honor of Vespucci, who recognized that a “New World,” the so-called fourth part of the world, had been reached through Columbus’ voyage. Before that time, there was no name that collectively identified the Western Hemisphere. The earlier Spanish explorers referred to the area as the Indies believing, as did Columbus, that it was a part of eastern Asia.

The Library has plenty of other resources on Waldseemüller and the map, including videos and a pretty cool story regarding the institution’s partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in building a hermetically sealed case for the priceless map. You can also read about the project on the NIST site.

42 Comments

  1. Lynda Solansky
    July 5, 2016 at 7:43 am

    I am so grateful for the LOC and all the folks who have contributed and work there, for their care and preservation for our US and World History.
    Lynda

  2. Donald Farren
    July 6, 2016 at 10:22 am

    The name of our nation of course is “United States of America,” not “America,” the latter term applicable to the whole western hemisphere. From afar, the appropriation of “America” to mean “United States of America,” can seem at one extreme provincial, at the other extreme imperialistic. Spanish speakers have the concept of “hacerse la América,” meaning to get rich in the Western Hemisphere (ordinarily in a Spanish-speaking place) without necessarily living there permanently.

    In 1984 William Safire, concerned about the accuracy or propriety of using “American” as the name of a denizen of the United States of America, sought alternatives, finding none, such as “Unisian,” “United Statesian,” “Usian,” or Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Usonian,” satisfactory. Spanish speakers however are comfortable with “estadounidense” (also with informal “yanki”). Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1965) observes that “the use of ‘America’ for the ‘United States’ and ‘American’ for ‘citizen of the U.S.’ … will continue to be protested against by purists and patriots and will doubtless survive the protests.” Evans’s Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage comments “If it’s any comfort to those who resent it, the usage is founded on a lazy disinclination to pronounce the longer name rather than arrogance.”

  3. Nicolaas Vergunst
    July 7, 2016 at 5:46 am

    While crossing the Atlantic, Vespucci met the returning fleet of Cabral, then homeward bound from Brazil, and was advised of prevailing latitudes, trade winds and ocean currents. Cabral and his men were first to set foot in America, Africa and Asia—and thus the first to walk upon four continents.

  4. brian
    December 10, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    America is a continent not a country. One continent, one name. America. Learn yankis.. Try to find a name for your ghetto country because united states doesn’t mean nothing. Mexico has states, Argentina has states, at least they were smart enough to find a name for their country.. Gringos burros!!

  5. Connie
    February 6, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Of course “America” is the short for the United States of America because it is the only nation in the world that uses the name “America” in its name. Canada doesn’t Mexico doesn’t nor does any other country in the world but the United States of America so thus we can legally use that name as our own and the rest of the world does too when referring to the USA although when referring to the contestants there is “North America”, “South America” and “Central America” which is really North America but from Mexico down to SA is often called Central America.. None of them are referred to as just America. Only the United States of America has that honor and all know what we are talking about because that is part of our name only one in the world.

  6. Ani
    February 27, 2018 at 4:21 am

    Amerigo Vespucci, though, never set foot on North America. He traveled through South America only.

  7. Richard Golebiowski
    April 20, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Great information on the name. I have been looking into this because, I work for an organization that works internationally and recently we have been requested to change the name that we use to refer to the country, and someone that I know has a problem with us being called America. Thank you for the information.

  8. John Mode
    July 11, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    Brazilians named their country Brazil. It is kind of like parents naming their child “Brazil”. Once a country gives itself a name this is what it is called just like the name of a person. And many countries have, over time, changed their names which is their right to do so.

    Our founders created a new nation and called it, The United States of America. This is our name. No other country in the Western Hemisphere named their country with the name “America” as part of that country name. But even if they did this would not change our name for our country. Here let me spell it out for you…we started out as 13 colonies that decided to rebel against Great Britain. We then called the former colonies, states and these states united together to form the United States of America. Now there are 50 states that are united…the United States. But we are 50 united states of a country we call America.

    There are two continents called North America and South America. There is also Central America and Latin America. These names all reference land masses of many countries and all are named different and unique names, only one of which has the name “America” as part of its name.

    Here is Merriam Webster’s dictionary definition of the word “of”. It is definition 4a – used as a function word to indicate the whole that includes the part denoted by the preceding word – most of the army.

    So the United States of America is analogous to the example given in the dictionary example. “of” in this case is a function word that indicates the whole (America) that includes the part denoted by the preceding word (United States).

    If you, as a person, want to be called Bob everyone will call you Bob. If you want to be called America we will address you as America. We named ourselves America. This is what we want to be called.

  9. Jason potter
    July 21, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    You people can’t be serious?
    Don’t you know by now that if you want any real history of The United States Co. Which The United States is a privately owned Corporation. That’s the correct title.
    That’s why we have a president/CEO/overseer.
    But you have to go out side of this country to get real information, and the rest of the world laughs at us.

    Amurika is the ancient Berber word for Morocco.
    Amerrk/Amurruk, it means “land in the west”
    The land of milk and honey.

    Variants- Amurika, Amerrica, Amurru, Amaru, Amerruka,
    Amurruka, America.

    The aboriginal peoples of the Americas are,
    Americans, Amurricans, Amurrukans, Amurikans, Al Maurikas,
    Al moro’cans, Mori’cans, Maurs, Mors, Moors, Murrs, Muurs.

    It was NOT named after Amerigo Vespucci.
    America is the land of the west,
    Also North Africa
    Turtle Island
    Gadwona

    Historical and geographically the original people of America are,
    A’mur’kans/Maurs.

    These names have been around for 1000s of years.

    You can see perfectly clear were the name America evolved from.
    To just totally forget about the history that was here for so long before Columbus and give Amerigo Vespucci the credit for the name is crazy. Your insulting your own intelligence.

    It’s so confusing on purpose, but the purpose was to steal the birth rights.

    Arabs will swear that the land is Morocco but is only governoed by The United States Co. It’s a weird claim but there is truth behind it. George Washington was the 9th president by the way.

    It’s all on congressional documents.
    All this here say there say boils down to making sure we call each other white or black people, which is also in congressional documents under the Christan color codes.
    If you claim your status is a color you are nothing and will never have nothing.

    The rest of the world understands this, and then they come here and get are birthrights by claiming there nationality and get money to start businesses and live the good life because people think Amerigo Vespucci is the correct name.

    If you actually really research this you will not like what you find out about how are supposed fellow countrymen has been making fools of us.

    I will never claim i am a citizen of the United States again.
    I only say I am a private citizen.

    And the courts which are also privately owned is the biggest tricky this country has tricked us to INVOLENTARY participation.

    Don’t take my word for any of it, but don’t deny this information unless you research it first.

  10. Alex
    August 7, 2018 at 1:53 am

    For all of you who still wonder why United States of America has the word “America” in it:

    “America” has been used to name the entire “discovered” land of mass (this belongs to a different topic) for centuries way before United States included in its name. Just to give an idea: the new land was named America in 1507 and U.S.A was officially name as we know it to date in 1776 – that’s a 269 years difference!

    So it’s pretty obvious that United States didn’t make up the word in question.

    In 1776, United States became the first independent country in … America.

    So you and everyone can call it United States of America after that, but you cannot call it simply “America” because it wouldn’t be correct and may cause the issues and confusion we have nowadays.

    The map the Library of Congress bought clearly states above idea and still they say they are “America”.

  11. Jimmie Woolbright
    September 19, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    North America was not named after…Amerigo Vespucci

    Richard Amerike (or Ameryk) pronounced America (c.1445-1503) was a wealthy English merchant, royal customs officer and sheriff of Welsh descent. He was the principal owner of Master John Cabot’s ship, Matthew, during his voyage of exploration to North America in 1497.
    Amerike is chiefly remembered because of old documents rediscovered in 1955, proving his ship’s discovery of Newfoundland and lands southward to Maryland in 1497.
    It is from Ameryk that the name, North America, is derived owing to his sponsorship of the voyagesto Newfoundland, rather than from Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian mapmaker who discovered South America but (1) who never came near North America (2) and who had labeled South America
    “an Un-named Country” when he discovered it.
    Records show that, in 1481…”R. Amerike shipped a load of salt (for salting fish) to fishermen in Newfoundland. The Bristol sailors named the area after the Bristol merchant they worked for…Richard Amerike.” England had been fishing for Cod at least as early as 1475 or earlier off the Grand Banks of Nova Scotia and Maine. North America first appeared in English Cartographic Charts of the world in 1502. Continental cartographers had no access to English charts due to hostilities from undeclared wars.
    The cartographer Martin Waldseemueller in 1507 made up the name ‘America’ by converting m mAmerigo’ [Vespucci’s first name] into Latin to honor his discovery of the SOUTH AMERICAN Continent. mbut withdrew it in his 1516 edition as Terra Incognita: also name of a Maya Indian people.So, the two American continents appear to have been coincidentally given the same names by German and English mapmakers…but named after TWO different individuals (an Italian and a Welshman ) with substantial confirmations for the sources of this historical fluke.
    11. English cod fishermen had been making landfall and trading with Indians in New England for myears before Columbus made his “discovery” of The New World in 1492 as had Scandinavians m mbefore him. Columbus was not the first European in the New World but “his discovery” lead to the
    recognition and subsequent development…read ‘theft“ of the American Continents and the Pacific Rim by Europeans. Not to be remiss we need to recall that Leifur Eiríksson made a landing on Vinland (Nova Scotia) c1000AD…but without having any permanent effect.
    Claim is made that St. Brendan the Voyager of Ireland discovered North America in mid-sixthcentury? But nothing came of this.

  12. Gary
    October 12, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Notice they never really tell us why the name of America was before Spain set foot here. So thanks for nothing!

  13. Ed Levin
    January 17, 2019 at 10:44 am

    Is it possible that the name America was derived from the Spanish “mar rico” meaning “rich sea” referring to the islands and coasts of the new world.

  14. This is not our Original name
    January 31, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    It was call AmEricka, and we had many kings, pyrimides, scientist, moors, yamassee, deleware, washitaha and that’s not even 100th if how long we “backs” have been infiltrated and stolen from,murdered, and had our credit deminish.

  15. Mark Johnson
    April 30, 2019 at 10:38 am

    I have discoverted that the name “United States of America” was first used in 1774 in North Carolina, before the May 20th 1775 Mecklenburg Declaration. I have the text and references.

  16. Steven M. Hvizdos Kohloff
    May 16, 2019 at 9:10 am

    “America”, has never been, “United” as a country! Rather, it has always been united caucasians of America. It was never meant to be a country for people of color and is still that way, with the exception of slow demographic evolution. The name America given to a land inhabited by indigeonous peoples for thousands of year prior, is just an example of hundreds, where domination of one people by another, is the status quo for those who always sought to exclude the exitance of others for self greed. The naming and renaming of the land subsequent to the, “13 Colonies”, (which in itself was incorrect) should have been correctly named by and for its inhabitants. But, without regard for their right to exist and the exploitation subsequent exploitation of their land, that was never going to be permitted. So, there never was an America, or a United States of America and it should be renamed appropriately by and for the remaining people whose ancestors were unjustly and brutally slaughtered by those who should have never come here in the first place.

  17. Maria
    May 23, 2019 at 8:44 am

    The correct name of this country is the United States of america. America is the whole continent. FromAlaska to Chile and Argentina. All of us in this new world are Americans.

  18. Mark
    June 19, 2019 at 10:57 am

    Hey comment #4 Brian, do us all a favor in the USA, stay south of the border with your unintelligent remarks. This is the reason there’s 33,000 religions! Because all of you self declared scholars have ALL DIFFERENT answers but yet you all did research. How sad. I live in the greatest country in the world and WE THE PEOPLE CALL IT THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!! THANK GOD!!! AMEN!!!
    All you so called research scholars, worry about your own roots and trace them back to Noah’s Ark and see which pair you belonged too…

  19. Knoluv_Apparel
    June 20, 2019 at 5:32 am

    This is a blatant bofaced lie that Our “usa” gov has been pushing in the schools to indoctrinate us to believe what they say, but if you are to do your research you will find that Loooooooooooooong before Amerigo Vespucci seen ( not found or discovered ) this land it was here and it was called many things but specifically there was a Formidable town call Amaru named after its king Amaru Khan and that town/city was traversed by europeans to barter and trade and the variations of America went as follows; amaracapana amaraca amaru ameri amarca Amaruca etc. and finally Amaerica these among others but None came from or After Columbus Or Amerigo……… WE ARE THE ABORIGINALS OF AMERICA ✊

  20. John
    June 26, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    The correct name for the US is: United States of America.

    This name came about because of its definition. A bunch of states united in the double continent of America. In contrast to anything in the old world.

    America was the fad. Going to America in the English language meant going to what now is the US. Going to America in the Spanish language might have meant going to anywhere in Latin America. Going to America in the Portuguese language meant going to Brazil. Going to America in French language may have meant going to Louisiana or Quebec.

    If you do your research there are only three languages(English, Japanese, Afrikaans). Out of all the languages in this planet where America might be confused with the US of A. In every other language in the world, over 100+, America is, as everyone knows, a double continent “discovered” 500 years ago, also called the new world.

    Hence why English, Japanese and Afrikaans speakers may be the only ones confused about this topic and in shock to learn the truth.

  21. John C Dickson
    July 11, 2019 at 9:41 am

    America is NOT named after Amerigo Vespucci simply because countries were named after SURNAMES and not FIRST names.
    If he had discovered the land, it would be known as Vespucciland.

    The country was named after Richard Ameryk, a Bristol merchant who paid for the voyage of discovery, several years before Vespucci.

    In addition, Christopher Columbus never set foot in North America. The closest he got was The Bahamas.

  22. Barry
    July 12, 2019 at 11:57 am

    This post isn’t *how* the western hemisphere was named but rather the use of ‘America’ as a synonym for the USA.

    It is possible – perhaps even probable – that the continents were referred to as ‘America’ early after their European discovery. But the evolution of the word to mean the region inhabited by the Colonists *before* the Declaration of Independence cannot be disputed and many (most?) Colonists continued to use the word even after the founding of the country.

    To wit:
    • Benjamin Franklin’s testimony before Parliament in 1766. About two dozen times Franklin and his questioners referred to the Colonies as ‘America’. (https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-13-02-0035)
    • James Madison’s essay “A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments.” In paragraph 3 Madison refers to the Colonies as ‘America’. (https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Madison/01-08-02-0163)
    • President John Adam’s first inaugural address. He refers to the US as ‘America’ four times.

    There are other examples I’ve run across, such as King Louis XVI, French generals who fought in the Revolutionary War, and King George III, all referring to the US as ‘America’, but I can’t find links. My apologies.

    Lastly, and to build on John Mode’s post (#8), the country is NOT named the United States of NORTH America nor it is named the United States of THE AMERICAS and I think that’s significant; i.e. the country could have been simply called America but the inclusion of ‘the united states’ was to show solidarity of the colonies to the British Crown.

    Most of the world thinks of the country as the UNITED STATES of America. But to think of it another way, which most Americans have and still do: the united states of AMERICA.

  23. John Dickson
    July 25, 2019 at 6:15 am

    I appreciate Barry’s comments – but is he assuming that the name ‘America’ was just plucked out of nowhere?
    The name came from Richard Ameryk, the Bristol merchant who employed Italian John Cabot (his English name), and, as was custom at the time, the newly discovered land was called after the surname of the financier of the project.
    Whether it’s called ‘The United State of’ is neither here nor there. It is called ‘America’.
    Just to ‘assume’ it was called ‘America’ for no reason doesn’t make any sense.
    Especially when you consider that it was originally thought to be the East Indies (or India) by Columbus and other explorers.
    Columbus would not accept it wasn’t India until the day he died.

  24. Maria Kunigk
    July 25, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    Amerigo Vespucci was in Brasil when he wrote about the new world. Describing the trees, fruits, animals and the people of the brazilian coast.

  25. John C Dickson
    July 27, 2019 at 3:49 am

    Maria is probably aware that Vespucci ‘discovered’ South America in 1501-2.
    Explorer John Cabot (English name) ‘discovered’ NORTH America in 1497 – four years before Vespucci.
    The connection of Vespucci with the ‘discovery’ of ‘America’ appears to be connected with his first name of Amerigo (which just happens to sound a bit like America).
    The FACT that he came FOUR YEARS after Cabot appears to matter less than his first name.
    The fact that Cabot was under the ‘protection’ of the King of England – but was financed by Welsh businessman Richard Ameryk – whose last name (which was common practice to use when naming new lands at the time) is also similar to ‘America’ appears to fall on blind eyes and deaf ears.

  26. Chris k
    August 12, 2019 at 9:47 am

    Not so United though these days are they. I really struggle understanding the logic of American politics or North Americans, especially when they vote a Psychopath to be president. Why do white Americans feel the country is their’s? And think they have the right to kick non white American people out. The British, Dutch, German, Irish and many other countries settled there and created “The USA” and “Americans”. Why aren’t the Indigenous People shouting “send them back” oh thats right they were massacred. How bless America

  27. Alex T.
    August 19, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    Im wondering why there is no feedback or dispute to the people that spoke to the more remote time of this “America” being connected to A-Mooru-khan or Amaur-Khan etc from comment # 9 & # 19….. Im sensing that to be the more reasonable argument. However, there has been no refute or comment about that!

  28. Emmanuel
    August 27, 2019 at 1:23 am

    I think the origin of name America come from Amerigo Vespucci. Is a logical consequence of his discovered.
    The name apper too latin to suppose the origin come from Ameryk. It’s improbably to lose y and k and replaced with i and c from a cartographic who lived in Alsace

  29. Jack
    August 28, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    We were first America, not until we established states did we become United.

  30. Ken
    September 1, 2019 at 11:02 am

    Wow who would have know! I think I will just think of myself as American thank you.

  31. Ben Cosgrove
    September 5, 2019 at 9:57 am

    I have learned so much, thank you for informing me on something so astonishing. i will go teach my class this now!!

  32. German
    September 19, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    What got its name from Amerigo Vespucci is the continent. America is a continent, not a country. The first time the name “America” appeared on a map, it was written over the current territory of Brazil. Furthermore, Amerigo Vespucci (“Américo” in Spanish) never set foot on the United States. He only navigated the South Atlantic coasts of Brazil and Argentina.

  33. ARMANDO
    September 22, 2019 at 9:35 am

    AMERICA IS NOT A COUNTRY AMERICA ITS A CONTINENT. THE ONES FROM FRANCE ARE FRENCH,GERMANY ARE GERMANS,POLAND ARE POLISHED AND GREECE ARE GREEKS BUT THEY’RE ALL EUROPEANS BECAUSE THEY’RE FROM THE CONTINENT OF EUROPE. CHINA ARE CHINESE, VIETNAM ARE VIETNAMESE, AND KOREA ARE KOREANS BUT THEY’RE ALL ASIANS BECAUSE THEY’RE FROM THE CONTINENT OF ASIA. MEXICO ARE MEXICANS, CANADA ARE CANADIANS AND BRAZIL ARE BRAZILIANS. WHY THE UNITED STATES ARE AMERICANS. OR BORN IN AMERICA. WHEN THESE COUNTRIES LIKE MEXICO, CANADA AND BRAZIL WITH SO MANY OTHER COUNTRIES. THESE COUNTRIES DON’T BELONG NOR FOUND ON THE CONTINENTS OF ANTARCTICA, ERUOPE, ASIA, OCEANIA NOR AFRICA. THESE COUNTRIES ARE FOUND AND BELONG ON THE CONTINENTS OF NORTH AMERICA AND SOUTH AMERICA PLUS CENTRAL AMERICA. I HAVE A QUESTION? THE UNITED STATES IS THE ONLY COUNTRY THAT BELONGS ON THE AMERICAN CONTINENT? OF COURSE NOT BECAUSE THERE’S OTHER COUNTRIES AS WELL. IF UNITED STATES TAKES OVER CANADA NOW CANADA BELONGS IN AMERICA WHEN ITS ALREADY FOUND ON AMERICAN CONTINENT. NORTH AMERICA SOUTH AMERICA PLUS CENTRAL AMERICA.TAKE OUT THE NORTH, THE SOUTH AND THE CENTRAL WHAT IS LEFT AMERICA. SO THE UNITED STATES IS THE ORIGINAL AMERICAN AND BORN IN THE UNITED STATES SOIL YOUR BORN IN AMERICA. BUT NO ONE ELSE OUT OF THE UNITED STATES. AMERICA IS NOT A COUNTRY AMERICA ITS A CONTINENT.

  34. Leo
    September 27, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    I’m a few years late to comment, but this brief article is so confusing.
    You should clarify that America is the name of the whole continent, named after Amerigo Vespucci. And that, your founding fathers, after the country got its Independence many years later after the continent was named, decided to call it United States of America.

  35. maci church
    October 1, 2019 at 8:50 am

    i do not understand a single thing at all

  36. calicomist
    October 11, 2019 at 4:29 am

    I think America is also named for Mercia, a region in Anglo-Saxon England from 518? until ca 918 AD. Later there were more English settlers than Spanish; it’s my impression that they renamed much of America after England (Virginia, New England, etc).

  37. Ric
    October 12, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    Really senseless argument. It would appear that another name should apply.

    If America is not the proper name, then arguments tied to that name are meaningless.

    Certainly, there were people here before Europeans. It is insulting to assume that the inhabitants had no name for the land.

  38. Jose
    October 13, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    It’s hard to believe that so many people (mostly South Americans) don’t realize that the entire world does not agree with their contention that”America” is one continent. The seven continent model, with the two separate continents of North America & South America, is much more widely taught/followed around the world than the five continent model, with one single continent called “America,” is. The Spanish Latino, Hispanic etc. South Americans are free to call themselves whatever they like – Americans in the US honestly don’t care – but simply insisting that “America is a continent and not a country” doesn’t make it true.

    “So you and everyone can call it United States of America after that, but you cannot call it simply “America” because it wouldn’t be correct and may cause the issues and confusion we have nowadays”

    Nonsense! Just as South Americans are free to call themselves “Americans,” people in the US are free to do the same. And it IS correct to do so because the demonym “American” is now synonomous with “US citizen” for most of the world. You may not like it, but this is a simple fact. We were called Americans before the US existed, we are now called Americans, and we always will be called Americans. Repeating “America is a continent and not a country” is a silly waste of breath. Like most of the world, we do not agree that America is one giant continent but rather view it as two continents. Call yourselves whatever you like, but you will never affect our status as Americans, so quit trying.

  39. Maboomba
    October 31, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Most continent names start with an “A” and end with an “A”, with the middle part being descriptive, and the ending usually includes “ia” or “ica” meaning “place of”, like Asia means “place of China”.

    “Mer” is Latin for “sea” or “ocean”, as seen on most old maps.
    So, a land across the “mer” (ocean)is logically called A-MER-ica (land cross the ocean) on old maps and by old-time sailors from England, Ireland, etc., who occasionally confirmed its existence in person. It was seen as likely that there had to be land across any Ocean, including the Atlantic. Every “mer” must be contained by “terr” (land), so the “common” folk, including sailors, of course had a standard name for any such land across the “mer” and of course that name was A-“mer”-ica, falling neatly within common naming practice of the time. Vespucci and others were named after “America”, not vice-versa. Amerigo was an assumed nickname.
    Similarly, “Atlan” or “Aztlan” is still the name used to this day by many native Americans, for this “new” continent, with this name being found within names for their tribes (AZTec) and their places (MazATLAN, and their language (NuhuATL) and is why the name ATLANtic was applied to the ocean one would sail to get to ATLAN: Think about it, the name “Atlantic” literally means “relating to Atlan. (Seas are often named for whatever is on the other side.) The native Indians proximate Mexico say they came from the Caribbeaan near Cuba after severe flooding, which could have been due to the glacial melting thousands of years ago. The legendary God QuetzlcoATL, a mythical culture hero from whom almost all mesoamerican peoples claim descent, taught them farming, etc. and meets the description of Viking and other ancient ships featuring a snake’s head mounted on the bow of a long boat powered by “feathers” (simultaneous oars rowing, sails). If we tried to translate Que t z al co ATL, in Latin, it might come close to “That which goes to ATL”.

  40. Daine
    November 4, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    How can you people state that America was given to the land mass when it was discovered??? When people were living there already ??? All of this doesn’t make any sense

  41. to “Jose”
    November 13, 2019 at 12:23 am

    A map created in 1507 has the name America on it and is over Brazil. Given that the US was formally constituted in 1776 you can conclude as to what really America is. NO BRAINER.

    269 years are more than enough. You can take it whichever way you want….

  42. Dameon
    November 26, 2019 at 11:21 am

    All of this is untrue. America got its name from the merger of Northwest Amexum and Northwest Africa. Morocco actually controlled the seas and America and allowed the expelled Brits to settle in what is now North America.

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.