On his two maps dated 1507 Waldseemüller placed a name that has appeared on maps made ever since: America.

Why "America"?
Clues i n History
Any rivals for the name?
Too Late to Change

Waldseemüller was one of the foremost cosmographers of Europe in his time. He studied studied the universe - the heavens and the earth, combining astronomy and geography. His ideas about geography were similar to those of other scholars of the early sixteenth century. Except in one region.

Earlier maps that Waldseemüller studied in making his world maps do not show the west coast of South America. Did information from the Americans somehow reach the mapmaker? Possibly. Maybe it was only luck or chance. And why did Waldseemüller choose to honor Amerigo Vespucci?

On the Wall Map

America on the Wall Map

On the Globe

South America


©1999-2001 by the Regents of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. University Libraries. All rights reserved. Please credit the James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota if you copy or reproduce material from this page.
URL: http://www.bell.lib.umn.edu/index.html