America is named after Amerigo Vespucci (right), an Italian mariner who sailed under the Portuguese flag. He charted the American coastline from what is now Chesapeake Bay to Honduras a few years after Columbus’s discovery of the New World. On his return, Vespucci wrote of his discoveries and people began to realize that the great land mass was not Asia or India, as Columbus had thought, but a separate continent. In 1507 a German cartographer suggested that this unnamed continent should be called ‘America’ after the explorer Amerigo, and so it was.
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