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.

68 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.

  43. Michael C. Miller
    March 4, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    “America” is the name of the WHOLE Continent, from pole to pole (including Greenland), that’s why we have South, Central and North America. We may call “america” to the United States of America for short, as a nickname, but that doesn’t make it the actual NAME. We have eastern and western Europe but we don’t call it “The Europes”, same with Asia, Africa and Oceania. “America” is a continent and not a country.

  44. Maria
    March 24, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    I have been looking for information on how was it that the United States chose the name “America” and where did it get it from? Or better yet, how did the U.S.A. get the name America? But the only info that comes out is this one, that it is the new world’s name, the continent that Columbus discovered. So, that means that the U.S.A. is using the name given to the continent? Or it could also mean that the United States sought to use the name of the continent, America, to denote that the country or the United States were of the continent of America?

  45. JULIAN
    April 24, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    America was named after the explorer that categorized after Columbus. Amerigo latinized version is AMERICA. deal with it.

  46. Tara Girault
    April 25, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    Dear Sirs,

    America got it’s name from the Amaru Khans, they where the original people! That was here in American before the White Europeans came and invaded the America’s and it’s (original people). Please tell the real truth. The Indigenous people where here! and it was there land. Do you think we can go to England and take over the land? No!

  47. Jimmie Fries
    May 16, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    There were no other countries on the American continents in the year 1776 when the U.S.A was named, only European colonies. Add the name “America” to your country if you wish but even the “Estados Unidos Mexicanos” prefer to be called “Mexico” and the people “Mexicanos”. The United State of America is part of the history of the new world and whether you like it or not, it should not be changed. Actually all countries on the continents should be proud that the first independent country in the Americas was called America.

  48. Rodrigo
    May 26, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    America don’t celebrate its independence on 4th July, The US does.

  49. Sam Bo
    June 14, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    I LOVE AMERICA AND AMERICANS! IF YOU LIVE IN AMERICA AND CALL YOURSELF AN AMERICAN, THEREFORE, YOU ARE AN AMERICAN LIVING IN AMERICA. THE REST OF YOU ARE NOT IF YOU CALLED YOURSELF OTHER THAN AN AMERICAN.

    HOW OFTEN YOU REFERENCE YOURSELF AS AN AMERICAN? IF SOMEONE ASKED YOU…YOU COSTA RICAN, BRAZILIAN, MEXICAN, COLOMBIAN, OR AMRICAN?

    IM ALWAYS BEEN AN AMERICAN FROM AMERICA…NOT AMERIPO BRAZIL. DO YOU KNOW WHAT I AM SAYING…?

  50. P4OUR
    June 16, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    Wikipedia
    Naming of Americas

    In case anyone is interested, these are a few names BEFORE AMERICA

    “Abya Yala”
    “Ixachilan”
    “Runa Pacha”

    In 1977, the World Council of Indigenous Peoples (Consejo Mundial de Pueblos Indígenas) proposed using the term Abya Yala instead of “America” when referring to the continent. There are also names in other indigenous languages such as Ixachilan and Runa Pacha. Some scholars have picked up the term with a reference to the illegitimacy of colonialism.

  51. P4OUR
    June 16, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Also… those of you that think we are special, and we can call ourselves “American” with no regard to it’s original people in Central America… I would ask that you find 1 legal document that reads simply “America” on it.
    You aren’t “America”!
    You have no legal documents to support that claim, because you ARE U.S. CITIZENS!
    NOT AMERICANS!

  52. J
    June 18, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    Christopher Columbus and the Spanish Armada claimed to have discovered America or the so called “New World”. So you have to understand that most likely they would name this “New World” something in their own native language, that which being Spanish. And this would be traditional, proper Spanish that is directly rooted from Latin. As opposed to the slang, broken Spanish commonly heard in the United States today from citizens based out of Middle and South America. In using that logic, most likely the word “America”, just as another newly discovered land from that period, “Costa Rica” (translating in English to – “rich-coastal land”, is a combination of 2 words derived from Spanish.
    Those 2 words being “Ame” and “Rica”
    “Ame” – meaning “love” or “the love of something”

    and;

    “Rica(feminine for Rico) – meaning “rich or wealth” or “of the riches”.
    (Feminine context was used hence Explorers during this period allegedly known for using metaphorical gender pronouns to describe or refer to continents as females or having possessed feminine qualities, E.G. “Lady Liberty” or of that on a larger scale, “Mother Earth”)

    Ame-rica – love of the land of riches and wealth. The land of freedom and opportunity. This describes even the current idea and image of what America is and how it is portrayed to the rest of the world. Although, apparent to most people now, America and the “American dream” was built and is still being built based on Capitalism and Capitalists ideas. The taking of things from a person or persons and claiming them as your own. Or using others to get or accomplish what you want or desire, regardless of who or what you have to step on or eliminate to reach that of what you seek to possess. In other words, stealing.

  53. Aconcagua
    June 29, 2020 at 10:41 pm

    People were going to the Americas…plain and simple.between 1507 and 1776 there is a gap of 269 years .from the wedsmuller map and the foundation of the U.S.of!!!. From Patagonia to The Northwest Territories..we are all Americans.like it or not.

  54. Zombie69
    July 4, 2020 at 4:02 am

    Likewise, in English American is unambiguous and refers to the people with US citizenship. For the continents, the people are referred to as North Americans and South Americans, but there’s no such thing as a single American continent and therefore American can’t refer to the people of a continent.

  55. Robert
    July 4, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Your description of America being a latinized version of Amerigo is ambiguous and nonsensical. Both Amerigo (Italian) and America (Spanish) are predominately Latin based languages. America is a de facto Spanish word. Why not say that!

  56. Truth
    July 4, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    Why do we always have to hear part of the story. The European portion. No one discovered America. You can not name an area or land, that was named by the original owners. Humans beings lived on the land we call America. They are the indigenous people, the original people of the land. Of the continent. North and South. The homeland, the origin of humans ( what you call Africa )Traveled to the continent ( America) long before Europeans. Asias did too. Don’t forget, who is writing these books? History is wrong. Traitors fled their land( English ). Traitor annihilated a group of people ( indigenous people ) to start a new life. They called it the new land. After killing the indigenous people, raping and stripping them of their original existence. They started to colonize the land. While doing that, they brought another set of people with them ( slaves ). You can make a lot of money, with slave labor. Then they wanted independence from the people they were running from( England). July 4th. Freedom for the Europe. Not for the slaves and indigenous people. Tell the truth please. Our founding father had slaves. You can write a book about the torture. We have. Read the real history. Not, his story. Truth out!!

  57. Michael J Petersmarck
    July 5, 2020 at 8:56 am

    I have met many Canadians who get upset if you say you are from America. Why? Because they consider themselves to also be Americans. America is a continent not a country. They will TELL you are from the United States.

  58. Alex Triana
    July 26, 2020 at 8:14 am

    There are millions of people throughout history claiming that the USA is in fact America de country… People quo get their knowledge from films and newspapers may agree with that statement. Those that bother to look up a map can clearly deduced that America is in fact a continent comprising 3 Americas… North, central and South. The USA is in fact one of two countries in North America. Most Central American countries have Spanish as their first Language and with the exception of Brazil and three Guyanas (French, Dutch & English) all South American countries speak Spanish and are NOT part of the USA. They could not be more different than the USA citizens

  59. Chris Jones
    August 24, 2020 at 10:40 pm

    So Im concerned with the fact that its human nature to name things by the surname…shouldn’t it be called Vespucci! Example Africa was renamed after Scipio Aficanus!

  60. Yaharael ashia El
    August 30, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    The name come form the Moors cause they lived there 500 years before Columbus or Vespucci it’s a blood line not religion where everyone can come to give glories to the government

  61. Tim Powell
    August 31, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    Reading all these comments, I am disappointed that no-one has picked up on the theory that the name “America” is derived from the discovery of North America by Leif Erikson in about 1000 AD. He named the three lands he discovered Helluland, Markland and Vinland, Markland being thought to be on the coast of Labrador. The theory was set out in a letter to the British newspaper, The Guardian, on 13 October 2019:

    “I fear Thomas Eaton (Weekend Quiz, 12 October) is giving further credence to “fake news” from 1507, when a German cartographer was seeking the derivation of “America” and hit upon the name of Amerigo Vespucci, an obscure Florentine navigator. Derived from this single source, this made-up derivation has been copied ever after.

    The fact is that Christopher Columbus visited Iceland in 1477-78, and learned of a western landmass named “Markland”. Seeking funds from King Ferdinand of Spain, he told the king that the western continent really did exist, it even had a name – and Columbus adapted “Markland” into the Spanish way of speaking, which requires an initial vowel “A-”, and dropped “-land” substituting “-ia”.

    Thus “A-mark-ia”, ie “America”. In Icelandic, “Markland” may be translated as “the Outback” – perhaps a fair description.

    See Graeme Davis, Vikings in America (Birlinn, 2009).

    Colin Moffat
    Kingston upon Thames, London”

    I don’t know if there is any evidence to support this theory, but it must at least be worthy of consideration, alongside the others.

  62. Bobby E Camp
    September 1, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    Keep America red white an blue USA

  63. Doug
    September 9, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    I think Canada should call itself The United Provinces of America, or the UPA. What do you think?

  64. Michel
    September 13, 2020 at 12:37 am

    Someone said the United States is the best country in the world. Seriously? How can you be the best when you are the most racist country in the world, a country where people love guns and killing each other, especially killing people of color; a country where all the bad things of the world dwell and thrive like in a fertile land; for instance, drugs, murder, racism and everything bad ever existed. How can you be so great when you are the bully of the world, defending all the bad causes of the world and seeking only power and money with a total disregard for humans, even those living in your own land. A country creating and waging wars all over the world just to expand their imperial hegemony and steal other countries resources at the expenses of the life of millions already. A country that massacred millions in Vietnam and lunched two atomic bombs in japan even though the war was practically won already. But I bet my bottom dollar that deep inside you love that about your country, that it is the bully of the world, that it is powerful and rich, cause that’s all you yanquis care about; money and power. Just one last though: If the United States (not America) is the best country in the world, how come it’s always far from ranking first in the Human Development Index?

  65. Henry Kriete
    October 15, 2020 at 1:01 am

    The name America is a combination of a Dutch word and a German word. The Dutch prefix AM means brave, As in Amsterdam which means the brave people who live in a city of dams.Erigo is the Portugese way of saying the German name Heinrich which is Henry in English. Heinrich means Home Ruler. Therefore the name America means the Brave Home Ruler. My name means The Noble Home Ruler of Different Hearts and more men with my name died fighting for this country than any other name. 26 men with my name died fighting in WW2 alone. You do not want to admit that America is a Dutch/German word LOL LOL LOL

  66. Ma80
    October 15, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    Italian here.

    America is a continent (divided in North and South America, just like you have North and South Europe), that’s what I’ve been taught in school and, by my own research, that was the correct teaching.

    Americans are the people from all the countries inside the continent (from Canada to Argentina). In italian USA citizens are called “statunitensi”. The term “America” was being used some 200+ years before the founding of the USA, and the first ever map drawn of the American continent had the term “America” slapped on Brazil. Brazil is the original and true “America”, if one want’s to be tight, but it was just the name used for the entire “New World”.

    I think (the top) people in the “United States of (the continent) America” started to increasingly refer to their country just as “America”, thus appropriating the name of the continent, because the name is “warmer” and more “evocative” than just “United States of America”.

    Being the name “America” more suggestive and evocative (it’s a female name, unlike “USA” which just sounds colder) it’s also an easier name on which to build a foundation for a godless, nationalistic religion, with the flag as its religious symbol (similar to the cross in Christianity), the anthem as a religious hymn (people get mad when you kneel during that…), the military as their priests (I even heard a UFC fighter, unironically nicknamed “Captain America”, years ago say after a fight that USA soldiers are the second coming of Christ on earth and that they are “dying for our sins”…), and the various presidents as the delegates of some kind of “God” on earth which “bless America” (and look down on the rest of the world, obviously, as the “America/God” religion is seen by its followers as a religious “truth”, just like the “american exceptionalism” dogma loved by both Democrats and Republicans, even though pretty much every country in the world is “exceptional” in its own way).

    Anyway, when the sun will stop burning (if a big asteroid dont hit the earth first and have the entire human race wiped off like the dinosaurs), the piece of land which some Unitedstaters have elevated to a God/religion, will disappear into dust, along with the rest of the world, for the rest of eternity in this infinite and dark universe.

  67. Localblackchild
    October 17, 2020 at 11:36 pm

    My thing is doesn’t really matter who or what the US was named after it’s the fact that mostly likely The United States of “America” was named after a white/hispanic racist male. That just like how the country celebrates the 4th of July but why don’t we celebrate the day Enslaved African Americans were “set free”. Its not celebrated because slavery is something that is “not to be mentioned” or “its to uncomfortable” to be a topic.

  68. Jose
    October 27, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    El nombre AMERICA fue dado al CONTINENTE descubierto por los españoles en honor al navegante explorador italiano nacionalizado español AMERICO VESPUCIO porque fue uno de los primeros en darse cuenta que este era un nuevo CONTINENTE y no la India como creyó erróneamente Cristóbal Colón por eso se llamó a nuestro CONTINENTE AMERICA en su honor porque nuestro CONTINENTE se llama AMERICA y no por ejemplo Americo ya que nombre fue dado en honor a AMERICO VESPUCIO porque los otros CONTINENTES tenían nombres en FEMENINO EUROPA ASÍA ÁFRICA por eso también se decidió llamar a nuestro CONTINENTE AMERICA en FEMENINO y no por ejemplo Americo el nombre AMERICA fue dado al CONTINENTE descubierto por los españoles en honor al navegante explorador italiano nacionalizado español AMERICO VESPUCIO en el AÑO 1507 en esa época solo habían en el CONTINENTE colonias españolas y portuguesas los británicos llegaron al CONTINENTE recién en el AÑO 1607 100 AÑOS después de dado el nombre al CONTINENTE
    EEUU es un país que literal mente no tiene nombre por lo tanto eso tampoco les permite tener un gentilicio propio único que los identifique su “nombre” solo indica su posición geográfica donde se encuentran situados en un CONTINENTE llamado AMERICA “estados unidos DE america” que serían los estados unidos de las colonias británicas en AMERICA las 13 colonias británicas en AMERICA haciendo referencia al CONTINENTE donde se encuentran situados llamado AMERICA caso parecido el nombre del país SUDÁFRICA que su nombre sólo indica su posición geográfica donde se encuentran situados al SUR de un CONTINENTE llamado ÁFRICA pero como las ratas de EEUU están acostumbrados a querer apropiarse de lo que no les pertenece y como su país literalmente NO TIENE NOMBRE los muy ignorantes idiotas sin vergüenzas ladrones estafadores se empezaron a creer los únicos “american” del mundo y lo más estúpido y ridículo del caso empezaron a considerar sólo “america” a su país y así viven en su mundito irreal falsificado y de fantasía pobre gente estúpida ignorante dan lástima

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