In our quest to learn about America's colorful history and to ascertain the inclusion of the contributions from every race that has made America the great nation it is, our biggest wonder was how this great country received its name. Why the great America wasn't called 'Columbus'? Should this nation not have been named after the person said to have discovered the new worlds? In actual fact, it has been. In 1507 the map maker Martin Waldseemuller named North and South America, after FLOWTEXTLINK ,WEB,HTTP://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amerigo_vespucci---,,Amerigo Vespucci.
The phrase "united States of America" was first used officially in the Declaration of Independence, adopted on July 4, 1776. On November 15, 1777, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, the first of which stated "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be 'The United States of America.'" The name was originally proposed by Thomas Paine. Why wasn't America named after Christopher Columbus? For a while the Americas were also known as Columbia, after Columbus, prompting the name District of Columbia for the land set aside as the U.S. capital. Columbia remained a popular name for the United States until the early 20th century, when it fell into relative disuse; it is still used poetically, and appears in various names and titles. Columbus Day is a holiday in the United States, and other countries in the Americas, commemorating Columbus' October 1492 landing.
Mundus Novus ("New World") was a Latin translation of a lost Italian letter sent from Lisbon to Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici. It describes a voyage to South America in 1501-1502. Mundus Novus was published in late 1502 or early 1503 and soon reprinted and distributed in numerous European countries. Lettera di Amerigo Vespucci delle isole nuovamente trovate in quattro suoi viaggi ("Letter of Amerigo Vespucci concerning the isles newly discovered on his four voyages"), known as Lettera al Soderini or just Lettera, was a letter in Italian addressed to Piero Soderini. Printed in 1504 or 1505, it claimed to be an account of four voyages to the Americas made by Vespucci between 1497 and 1504.
It was the publication and widespread circulation of the letters that led FLOWTEXTLINK ,WEB,HTTP:////awesomeamerica.com/usa/,,Martin Waldseemüller to name the new continent America on his world map of 1507 in Lorraine. Along with placing the name on the map Waldseemüller also published Vespucci's accounts of his travels in a book. A Latin translation was published by Waldseemüller in Cosmographiae Introductio, a book on cosmography and geography, as Quattuor Americi Vespucci navigationes ("Four Voyages of Amerigo Vespucci"). Vespucci used a Latinized form of his name, Americus Vespucius, in his Latin writings, which Waldseemüller used as a base for the new name, taking the feminine form America. This public revelation caused many people to believe Vespucci was trying to steal the credit of the discovery from Christopher Columbus. And just who was this Amerigo Vespucci?
Amerigo Vespucci born March 9, 1451 was born in Florence, Italy and was an Italian merchant, explorer and cartographer. He played a senior role in two voyages which explored the east coast of South America between 1499 and 1502. On the second of these voyages he discovered that South America extended much further south than previously known by Europeans. This convinced him that this land was part of a new continent, a bold contention at a time when other European explorers crossing the Atlantic Ocean thought they were reaching Asia.
Vespucci's real historical importance may well be more in his letters, whether he wrote them all or not, than in his discoveries. From these letters, the European public learned about the newly discovered continent of the Americas for the first time; its existence became known throughout Europe within a few years of the letters' publication. If Vespucci's claims are accurate he reached the mainland of the Americas shortly before Cabot, and at least 14 months before Columbus.
In 1508 Spain gave Vespucci the responsibility for training pilots for ocean voyages. He died in Seville in 1512 from Malaria.