Earliest map of America

The Waldseemüller map, Universalis Cosmographia, first published in 1507, was the first map to use the word “America”.

256px-Waldseemuller_map_closeup_with_America

It is generally considered that America is named after Amerigo Vespucci.  However, this would be inconsistent with the general practice of using surnames (other than Royal names) for the naming of discovered lands.

It has been postulated that America was named after Richard ap Meryk, anglicised to Richard Amerike, an Anglo-Welsh merchant who may have funded John Cabot’s expeditions to the New World.

The single remaining copy of the Waldseemüller map was bought by the US Library of Congress in 2003 for $10 million, making it the world’s most expensive map.

Images: Martin Waldseemüller [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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