- Published: 02 February 2010
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Karel Van Horn, age 12, of Beech Grove, Indiana, for the question;
How did America get her name?
Many people say that the New World should have been named for the man who discovered it. In that case it might have been called North and South Columbo, or maybe Columbia. However, Lucky Leif Ericson had already set foot on the New World in the year 1000 A.D. Had our continent been named for the very first visitor from Europe it might have been called Erica or maybe Leif land.
As it happens, America was named by a German professor who had never heard of Columbus or Leif Ericson, He was reading the reports of a rather boastful fellow named Amerigo Vespucci. Amerigo, who was Italian, was in Spain and happened along can some of the later voyages of the great Columbo. He wrote; up his adventures and most scholars agree that he took credit for more ‑than was due him.
In a letter written in 1504, Amerigo claimed to have explored, and therefore discovered, the southern mainland of the New World, On the basis of this, a German professor named America in honor of Amerigo. Regardless of whether this is a hoax or not, America is a pleasant sounding name. And in a hundred years, the people who settled it gave it an honorable history. It is a nice word to say and one to be respected.