New World

Sebastian Münster's map of the New World, first published in 1540

The "New World" is a term often used for the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas.[1] The term gained prominence in the early 16th century, during Europe's Age of Discovery, shortly after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci concluded that America represented a new continent, and subsequently published his findings in a pamphlet he titled Mundus Novus.[2] This realization expanded the geographical horizon of classical European geographers, who had thought the world consisted of Africa, Europe, and Asia, collectively now referred to as the Old World, or Afro-Eurasia. The Americas were also referred to as the fourth part of the world.[3]

  1. ^ "America." The Oxford Companion to the English Language (ISBN 0-19-214183-X). McArthur, Tom, ed., 1992. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 33: "[16c: from the feminine of Americus, the Latinized first name of the explorer Amerigo Vespucci (1454–1512). The name America first appeared on a map in 1507 by the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller, referring to the area now called Brazil]. Since the 16c, a name of the western hemisphere, often in the plural Americas and more or less synonymous with the New World. Since the 18c, a name of the United States of America. The second sense is now primary in English: ... However, the term is open to uncertainties: ..."
  2. ^ Mundus Novus: Letter to Lorenzo Pietro Di Medici, by Amerigo Vespucci; translation by George Tyler Northrup, Princeton University Press; 1916.
  3. ^ M.H.Davidson (1997) Columbus Then and Now, a life re-examined. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, p. 417)

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