The Name America first used in World Map on 25th April, 1507. It was in fact South America (Brazil) and named after Amerigo Vespucci. The last known copy of this magnificent world map is in the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C.
Amerigo Vespucci was a navigator that traveled to the ‘new world’ in 1499 and 1502. Being a well educated man, he realized that this new world was not part of Asia, as some had initially thought. Vespucci chose to write about his travels and his books were published in 1502 and 1504.
In 1507, a German cartographer, Martin Waldseemüller, chose to make a new map that included the new world. He and his two partners were aware of Vespucci’s writings but were ignorant of Columbus’s expeditions which discovered the america 10 years earlier.
As such, they mistakenly thought Vespucci was the first to discover this new land and so named it after him.
When the large new map, approximately 8 feet by 4 feet, was unveiled by Waldseemüller, it had the large title “AMERICA” across what is now present day Brazil. Waldseemüller used Vespucci’s travelogues as a reference for his drawing and so his map had South America as the only part of this new western hemisphere. When North America was later added, the mapmakers of the time retained the original name.
In 1538, The famous geographer Gerard Mercator chose to name the entire north and south parts of America as one large “America” for the entire western hemisphere.
When copies of the letters of Amerigo Vespucci arrived at the court, they generated even more interest in the New World, and Waldseemüller published a volume called Cosmographiae introductio, which contained a description of the New World as well as a translation of Vespucci’s letters. Seeking a name for the new lands, Waldseemüller (who had not then heard of Christopher Columbus) suggested that they be called America, after Vespucci.
Although Waldseemüller later suggested a revision when he became aware of Columbus’s role in the discoveries, his original suggestion had become too popular.
America remained the common designation for the new continents, and Waldseemüller retained the nickname “the godfather of America.”