It turns out to be a small problem. From school, we know that America was discovered by Christopher Columbus. But if this is so, then why was this continent named after another person who did not take a direct part in the expedition, but only helped in its equipment? In this case, we are talking about a friend of Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci.
There is an opinion that Columbus was not involved in the discovery of America. He is the discoverer of the West Indies. At that time, Asia was a very turbulent continent. It was dangerous for merchant ships to navigate its shores. Columbus’ task was to find a new trade route that would bypass Asia. This is what they implemented. Sailing past the Caribbean Islands, Columbus naively thought that he had approached the western coast of India, but in fact, he was off the coast of the West Indies, that is, between North and South America.
America was discovered by Amerigo Vespucci, who went to its shores after Columbus. He made a detailed map of the American continent, made a description of its nature, fauna, and aborigines. The new continent, just, was named after him. Although, to be honest, Amerigo himself was very skeptical about this, and suggested calling the continent he had discovered the “New World”. Everything would have been so if it were not for the cartographer Martin Waldseemülle, who took the initiative to consider Vespucci the discoverer of a new continent.
Why Vespucci and not Columbus?
Everything is simple here. The author of the materials and descriptions of the “New World” was just Vespucci, not Columbus. Hence his decision. Although, in fairness, they began to call the new continent America only after this name was officially included in Mercator’s maps. Well, at least thirty years should have passed before that moment.
Along with this version, there is another, moreover, documented. It turns out that before Columbus and Vespucci, John Cabot visited the American coast. His patron was the Italian Ricardo Americo, after whom the new continent was named. Cabot was the first to set foot on the land of North America, and the first to draw up a detailed map of it. In addition, he proposed to name the continent he discovered America, in honor of his patron. This fact is confirmed by the entries that have been preserved in the Bristol calendar for 1947. According to them, the new land was found by Bristol merchants who sailed to its shores on the ship “Matthew”. Later, based on this fact, Vespucci took the pseudonym Amerigo. It turns out that Columbus has nothing to do with the name of America.