Can you give me more information on the naming of America?

There is not, unfortunately, clear and irrefutable evidence of exactly who first used the name "America" but the consensus of the name's origin is discussed in several published works listed below.

In 2003, the Library of Congress acquired the only known copy of a map, published in 1507 and attributed to Martin Waldseemuller, entitled "Universalis cosmographia secundum Ptholomaei traditionem et Americi Vespucii alioru[m]que lustrationes" (bibliographic record and downloadable digital file). The use of the name "America" on this map is the first known usage of the name as it relates to the North American continent.

Additional information on the early use of the name America can be found in:

Hessler, John. The naming of America : Martin Waldseemu¨ller’s 1507 world map and the Cosmographiae introductio / featuring a new translation and commentary by John W. Hessler. (London, UK : GILES, c2008.)
Description: 121 p. : ill., maps ; 20 x 24 cm.
ISBN: 9781904832492

Lester, Toby. The fourth part of the world : the race to the ends of the Earth, and the epic story of the map that gave America its name / Toby Lester. 1st Free Press hardcover ed. (New York : Free Press, 2009)
Description: xii, 462 p. : ill, maps ; 23 cm.
ISBN: 9781416535317

Wolk, Allan, 1936- The naming of America : how continents, countries, states, counties, cities, towns, villages, hamlets & post offices came by their name / by Allan Wolk. Edition: 1st ed.
Published/Created: Nashville : T. Nelson, c1977.
Description: 192 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN: 0840765622


Similarly, the first known use of the formal term "United States of America" was in the Declaration of Independence. Although, Thomas Paine, in February 1776 wrote a similar phrase, referencing a "Free and independent States of America." The terms "United Colonies," "United Colonies of America," "United Colonies of North America," and also "States," were used in 1775 and 1776." This information is excerpted from National Archives and Records Administration, "The Story of the Constitution by Sol Bloom" (Washington, D.C., United States Constitution Sesquicentennial Commission, 1937. 

Last Updated: Dec 14, 2023
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