On April 25, 1507, the term “America” was first used on a world map, referring to the huge mass of land in the Western Hemisphere. Martin Waldseemüller, a German cartographer, used the name “America” in honor of Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci.Vespucci, in addition to being a friend of Christopher Columbus, was an avid traveler who described his travels in letters and journals. These letters, along with the works of the Greek geographer Ptolemy, helped Waldseemüller define the landmasses in his book Introduction to Cosmography. (Waldseemüller’s America actually identified what is today South America. “Parias” is the name Waldseemüller identified with what is today North America.) In addition to this book, Waldseemüller published 1,000 copies of a woodcut world map. Both the book and the map were widely regarded, and the term “America” was eventually universally accepted.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry avid Adjective
person who makes maps.
person who studies places and the relationships between people and their environments.
large area of land.
symbolic representation of selected characteristics of a place, usually drawn on a flat surface.
Encyclopedic Entry: map navigator Noun
person who charts a course or path.
Western Hemisphere Noun
area of the Earth west of the prime meridian and east of the International Date Line.