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Word Count: 392
When you hear the word American where do think a person described with this word is from Of course you will say from America But what is America for you Maybe the United States and so an American is a citizen of this country Have you thought that an American can also be from any other country located in the western hemisphere like Argentina Panama or perhaps Canada The word American came from the word America which is a continent first known as the new fourth part of the world It was discovered on October 12 1492 when Christopher Columbus saw an island in the Bahamas which the Indians called Guanahani and Columbus rechristened San Salvador Following this Columbus made three other voyages to America in 1493 1498 and 1502 During those trips he touched the coasts of South and Central America In that time the continent was known by the earliest explorers and historians as the Indies the West Indies or the New World In 1499 Alonso de Ojeda and Juan de la Cosa visited South America and with them went Amerigo Vespucci who wrote such popular accounts of his own deeds that the German geographer Martin Waldseemuller coined the word America in Cosmographiae Introductio a small work designed to accompany and explain a wall map and globe executed by Waldseemuller In this work two names were suggested for the fourth part of the world one Amerige pronounced A-mer-i-gay with the -ge from the Greek meaning earth and the other America in the feminine form parallel to Europa and Asia The latter form was placed on Waldseemullers maps of 1507 and their wide circulation brought about the gradual adoption of the name Waldseemuller was aware of only South America as a continent but Gerhardies Mercator thirty years later extended the designation to both continents Paradoxically the word American that
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