Why is America so Called?


Everybody knows that Columbus "discovered America". Then why wasn’t named after him? The reason for this might be considered an accident of fate. When Columbus made his first journey, he sighted land early in the morning of October 12, 1492.
 
Columbus went ashore, took possession in the names of King Salvador. That land however, was not the mainland of the continent.  It is was we now call Watling Island (which was his goal), so he called the natives Indians.

Columbus cruised on, looking for Japan. Instead he discovered Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic today). On March 14, 1493, Columbus returned to Spain. On his second voyage, which started on September 24, 1493, Columbus discovered several of the Virgin Island, Puerto Rico and Jamaica.

But he was still determined to find India. On his third voyage, in 1498, he discovered Trinidad and touched South America. But the thought he had found a series of islands.

Another explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, meanwhile was claiming that he had been the first to reach the mainland the South of America. This was on June 16, 1497. (Many expert believe that Vespucci did not really make his voyage until 1499).

On a trip in 1501, Vespucci sailed along the coast of South America and wrote letters saying he had found 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. And that name has been used ever since!

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