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How America Got Its Name

Sir Dig-a-lot | 7-14 yrs | Reading Pod, Interactive

Amerigo Vespucci – An Italian Explorer

“I have a test coming up. I need your help with that,” said Rohan to his friend

“Sure. Which chapter?” Sir Dig-a-Lot said.

“Amerigo Vespucci,” replied Rohan.

Sir Dig-a-Lot began, “Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian explorer,. He was the one who discovered that Columbus, another explorer, had not discovered Asia’s eastern outskirts but has discovered a ‘New World,’ which is now America. The name of the country is derived from Vespucci’s name.”

“Amerigo Vespucci was invited to his first voyage by the Portuguese as an observer of the voyages exploring the east coast of South America. He was aboard the ship that discovered that South America extended further south than it was believed.

He suggested that the land discovered by Columbus was not a part of India but America. Before the name was coined, it was called the New World. It was in the year 1507 that Martin Waldseemüller produced a map that named the New World as America after Vespucci. Although initial reactions were that Vespucci was trying to undermine Columbus’s glory, historians soon realized it was not true.”

“So America wouldn’t be called America if it wasn’t for Vespucci?” Rohan asked.

“You can say that. However, there were so many voyagers and explorers that eventually people would have figured out that the land discovered by Columbus was America. However, this in no way undermines Vespucci’s contribution to exploration.”

Rohan said, “Indeed. I think I will ace that test now.”

Sir Dig-a-Lot smiled and said, “All the best, Rohan.”

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