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The "New World" is a term for the majority of
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...

Earth
's
Western Hemisphere The Western Hemisphere is the half of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining ...
, specifically the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North America, North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. Along with th ...

Americas
."America." ''The Oxford Companion to the English Language'' (). 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: ..." The term gained prominence in the early 16th century, during Europe's
Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Contact or Contact Period), is an informal and loosely defined term for the early modern period The early modern period of modern history ...
, shortly after the
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...
explorer
Amerigo Vespucci Amerigo Vespucci (; ; 9 March 1451 – 22 February 1512) was an Italian-born merchant, explorer, and navigator from the Republic of Florence, from whose name the term " America" is derived. He became a Castillian citizen in 1505. Between 1 ...

Amerigo Vespucci
concluded that America represented a new continent, and subsequently published his findings in a pamphlet he titled ''Mundus Novus''. This realization expanded the geographical horizon of classical European geographers, who had thought the
world In its most general sense, the term "world" refers to the totality of entities, to the whole of reality or to everything that is. The nature of the world has been conceptualized differently in different fields. Some conceptions see the world ...

world
consisted of
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...

Africa
,
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
, and
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
, collectively now referred to as the
Old World The Old World consists of Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% o ...
, or
Afro-Eurasia Afro-Eurasia (or Afroeurasia, Field, Henry.The University of California African Expedition: I, Egypt, ''American Anthropologist,'' New Series Vol. 50, No. 3, Part 1 (Jul. - Sep., 1948), pp. 479-493. or Eurafrasia), nicknamed the World Island, ...

Afro-Eurasia
. The Americas were also referred to as the fourth part of the world.M.H.Davidson (1997) ''Columbus Then and Now, a life re-examined. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press'', p. 417)


Usage

The terms "
Old World The Old World consists of Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% o ...
" vs. "New World" are meaningful in historical contexts and for the purpose of distinguishing the world's major
biogeographic realm A biogeographic realm or ecozone is the broadest biogeography, biogeographic division of Earth's land surface, based on distributional patterns of terrestrial animal, terrestrial organisms. They are subdivided into ecoregions, which are classif ...
s and classifying plant and animal species that originated therein. The term "New World" was first used in the early 16th century, in light of the
voyages of Christopher Columbus Between 1492 and 1504, Italian explorer led four maritime expeditions of discovery to the . These voyages led to the widespread knowledge of the . This breakthrough inaugurated the period known as the , which saw the , a related , and . These ...
and the subsequent
European colonization of the Americas Although the Norse had explored and colonized northeastern North America c. 1000 CE, the later and more well-known wave of European colonization of the Americas took place in the Americas The Americas (also collectively called Americ ...
. It is still commonly employed when discussing these events historically. For lack of alternatives, the term is also useful in collectively discussing the Americas and the nearby
oceanic islands upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_Europe image:Small_Island_in_Lower_Saranac_Lake.jpg.html" ;"title="Great Britain">Ireland (l ...
, such as
Bermuda ) , anthem = "God Save the Queen "God Save the Queen", alternatively "God Save the King" (dependent on the gender of the reigning monarch), is the or in most s, their territories, and the British . The author of the tune is unknown, ...

Bermuda
and
Clipperton Island Clipperton Island (french: link=no, Île de Clipperton or french: Île de la Passion, label=none; es, link=no, Isla de la Pasión) is an uninhabited coral atoll in the eastern Pacific Ocean. It is from Paris, France, from Papeete, Tahiti, a ...

Clipperton Island
. In a biological context, species can be divided into those in the Old World (
Palearctic The Palearctic or Palaearctic is the largest of the eight biogeographic realms of the Earth. It stretches across all of Eurasia north of the foothills of the Himalayas, and North Africa. The realm consists of several bioregions: the Euro-Siberi ...
,
Afrotropic The Afrotropical realm is one of Earth's eight biogeographic realms. It includes Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square&nbs ...
) and those in the New World (
Nearctic The Nearctic realm is one of the eight biogeographic realms constituting the Earth's land surface. Image:Ecozone Nearctic.svg, 400px, The Nearctic realm The Nearctic realm covers most of North America, including Greenland, Central Florida, and t ...
,
Neotropic The Neotropical realm is one of the eight biogeographic realms constituting Earth's land surface. Physically, it includes the tropical The tropics are the region of Earth surrounding the Equator. They are delimited in latitude by the T ...
). Biological
taxonomists In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mecha ...
often attach the "New World" label to groups of species found exclusively in the Americas, to distinguish them from their counterparts in the "Old World" (Europe, Africa and Asia)—e.g.,
New World monkey New World monkeys are the five families of primate A primate ( ) (from Latin , from 'prime, first rank') is a eutherian mammal constituting the Taxonomy (biology), taxonomic order (biology), order Primates (). Primates arose 85–55 m ...
s,
New World vulture The New World vulture or condor family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members a ...
s,
New World warbler The New World warblers or wood-warblers are a group of small, often colorful, passerine birds that make up the family Parulidae and are restricted to the New World. They are not closely related to Old World warblers or Australian warblers. Most ...
s. The label is also often used in agriculture. Asia, Africa, and Europe share a common agricultural history stemming from the
Neolithic Revolution The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many human culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (Ameri ...
, and the same domesticated plants and animals spread through these three continents thousands of years ago, making them largely indistinct and useful to classify together as "Old World". Common Old World crops (e.g.,
barley Barley (''Hordeum vulgare''), a member of the grass family Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recogn ...

barley
,
lentil The lentil (''Lens culinaris'' or ''Lens esculenta'') is an edible legume A legume () is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, co ...
s,
oats The oat (''Avena sativa''), sometimes called the common oat, is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A spec ...

oats
,
pea The pea is most commonly the small spherical seed A seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering. The formation of the seed is part of the process of reproduction Reproduction (or procreation or breeding) is ...

pea
s,
rye Rye (''Secale cereale'') is a grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family of monocotyledonous flowering plants known as grasses. It includes the cereal grasses, bamboo Bamboos are a diverse group of ev ...

rye
,
wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum''; the most widely grown is common wheat Common wheat (''Triticum aestivum'' ...

wheat
), and domesticated animals (e.g.,
cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large domestication, domesticated Cloven hoof, cloven-hooved herbivores. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae ...

cattle
,
chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus'') is a domestication, domesticated subspecies of the red junglefowl originally from Southeastern Asia. Rooster or cock is a term for an adult male bird, and a younger male may be called a cockerel. A m ...

chicken
s,
goat The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra hircus'') is a domesticated species of typically kept as . It was from the (''C. aegagrus'') of and . The goat is a member of the animal family and the subfamily , meaning it is closely related ...

goat
s,
horse The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to ...

horse
s,
pig The pig (''Sus domesticus''), often called swine, hog, or domestic pig when distinguishing from other members of the genus '' Sus'', is an omnivorous An omnivore () is an animal that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and ani ...

pig
s,
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order (biology), order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name ''sheep'' applies to many species ...

sheep
) did not exist in the Americas until they were introduced by post-Columbian contact in the 1490s. Conversely, many common
crops A crop is a plant that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence. Crops may refer either to the harvested parts or to the harvest in a more refined state. Most crops are cultivated in agriculture Agriculture is the ...

crops
were originally domesticated in the Americas before they spread worldwide after Columbian contact, and are still often referred to as " New World crops";
common bean ''Phaseolus vulgaris'', also known as the common bean and French bean, is a herb In general use, herbs are a widely distributed and widespread group of plants, excluding vegetables Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by hu ...
s (''phaseolus''),
maize Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be ...

maize
, and
squash Squash may refer to: Sports * Squash (sport), the high-speed racquet sport also known as squash racquets * Squash (professional wrestling), an extremely one-sided match in professional wrestling * Squash tennis, a game similar to squash racquets ...
—the " three sisters"—as well as the
avocado The avocado (''Persea americana''), a tree likely originating from southcentral Mexico, is Biological classification, classified as a member of the flowering plant family Lauraceae. The fruit of the plant, also called an avocado (or avocado pe ...

avocado
,
tomato The tomato is the edible berry A berry is a small, pulpy, and often edible fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) formed from the ovary after flowering. Fruits are ...

tomato
, and wide varieties of
capsicum ''Capsicum'' () is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classification#ICTV classification, viru ...

capsicum
(
bell pepper The bell pepper (also known as sweet pepper, pepper, or capsicum ) is the fruit of plants in the Grossum cultivar group of the species ''Capsicum annuum''. Cultivars of the plant produce fruits in different colors, including red, yellow, orange, ...

bell pepper
,
chili pepper The chili pepper (also chile, chile pepper, chilli pepper, or chilli), from Nahuatl Nahuatl (; ),The Classical Nahuatl word (noun stem ''nāhua'', + absolutive ''-tl'' ) is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has se ...

chili pepper
, etc.), and the
turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...
were originally domesticated by pre-Columbian peoples in
Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical and important region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the ...
, while agriculturalists in the
Andean The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains ( es, Cordillera de los Andes) are the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America South America is a continent e ...
region of
South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continent ...

South America
brought forth the
cassava ''Manihot esculenta'', commonly called cassava (), manioc, or yuca (among numerous regional names) is a woody shrub A shrub (often called a bush) is a small- to medium-sized perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a pla ...

cassava
,
peanut The peanut, also known as the groundnut, goober (US), pindar (US) or monkey nut (UK), and taxonomically classified as ''Arachis hypogaea'', is a legume A legume () is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynth ...

peanut
,
potato The potato is a starch#Food, starchy tuber of the plant ''Solanum tuberosum'' and is a root vegetable native to the Americas. The plant is a perennial plant, perennial in the nightshade family Solanaceae. Wild potato species can be found thro ...

potato
,
quinoa Quinoa (''Chenopodium quinoa''; , from Quechua Quechua may refer to: *Quechua people, several indigenous ethnic groups in South America, especially in Peru *Quechuan languages, a Native South American language family spoken primarily in the ...

quinoa
and domesticated animals like the
alpaca The alpaca (''Vicugna pacos'') is a species of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria ...

alpaca
,
guinea pig The guinea pig or domestic guinea pig (''Cavia porcellus''), also known as the cavy or domestic cavy (), is a species of rodent Rodents (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the I ...

guinea pig
and
llama The llama (; ) (''Lama glama'') is a domesticated South American camelid, widely used as a List of meat animals, meat and pack animal by Inca empire, Andean cultures since the Pre-Columbian era. Llamas are social animals and live with othe ...

llama
. Other famous New World crops include the
cashew The cashew tree (''Anacardium occidentale'') is a tropical evergreen tree that produces the cashew seed and the cashew apple pseudofruit. The tree can grow as high as , but the dwarf cultivars, growing up to , prove more profitable, with earlier ...

cashew
,
cocoa CoCoA (Computations in Commutative Algebra) is a free computer algebra system developed by the University of Genova, Italy, used to compute with numbers and polynomials. The CoCoA Library (CoCoALib) is available under GNU General Public License. ...
,
rubber Rubber, also called India rubber, latex, Amazonian rubber, ''caucho'', or ''caoutchouc'', as initially produced, consists of polymer A polymer (; Greek ''poly- Poly, from the Greek :wikt:πολύς, πολύς meaning "many" or "much" ...

rubber
,
sunflower ''Helianthus'' () is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classification#ICTV classification, vi ...

sunflower
,
tobacco Tobacco is the common name of several plants in the genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defini ...

tobacco
, and
vanilla Vanilla is a spice derived from orchids of the genus ''Vanilla (genus), Vanilla'', primarily obtained from pods of the Mexican species, flat-leaved vanilla (''Vanilla planifolia, V. planifolia''). The word ''vanilla'', derived from , th ...

vanilla
, and fruits like the
guava Guava () is a common tropical fruit cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions. The common guava ''Psidium guajava'' (lemon guava, apple guava) is a small tree in the myrtle family (biology), family (Myrtaceae), native to Mexico, Cent ...

guava
,
papaya The papaya (, ) (from Carib via Spanish), papaw, () or pawpaw () is the plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy ...

papaya
and
pineapple The pineapple (''Ananas comosus'') is a tropical plant with an edible fruit and is the most economically significant plant in the family Bromeliaceae. The pineapple is indigenous to South America, where it has been cultivated for many centurie ...

pineapple
. There are rare instances of overlap, e.g., the
calabash Calabash (''Lagenaria siceraria''), also known as bottle gourd, white-flowered gourd, long melon, New Guinea bean and Tasmania bean, is a vine A vine (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a langua ...
(bottle-gourd),
cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a natural Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of s ...

cotton
, and yam, and the
dog The dog or domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a Domestication, domesticated descendant of the wolf which is characterized by an upturning tail. The dog Origin of the domestic dog, derived from an Pleistocene ...

dog
, are believed to have been domesticated separately in both the Old and New World, their early forms possibly brought along by
Paleo-Indians Paleo-Indians, Paleoindians or Paleo-Americans, were the first peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a ...
from Asia during the last glacial period. In
wine terminology The glossary of wine terms lists the definitions of many general terms used within the wine industry. For terms specific to viticulture Viticulture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Itali ...
, "New World" has a different definition. " New World wines" include not only
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
n and South American wines, but also those from
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
, and all other locations outside the traditional wine-growing regions of Europe, North Africa and the
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
.


Origin of term

The
Florentine Florentine most commonly refers to: * a person or thing from Florence, a city in Italy * the Florentine dialect Florentine may also refer to: Places * Florentin, Tel Aviv, a neighborhood in the southern part of Tel Aviv, Israel * Leone, Floren ...
explorer
Amerigo Vespucci Amerigo Vespucci (; ; 9 March 1451 – 22 February 1512) was an Italian-born merchant, explorer, and navigator from the Republic of Florence, from whose name the term " America" is derived. He became a Castillian citizen in 1505. Between 1 ...

Amerigo Vespucci
is usually credited for coming up with the term "New World" (''Mundus Novus'') for the Americas in his 1503 letter, giving it its popular cachet, although similar terms had nonetheless been used and applied before him.


Prior usage

The Venetian explorer
Alvise CadamostoAlvise Cadamosto or Alvide da Ca' da Mosto (, also known in Portuguese as ''Luís Cadamosto''; c. 1432 – July 18, 1488) was a Venetian slave trader and explorer Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery of informatio ...

Alvise Cadamosto
used the term "un altro mundo" ("another world") to refer to
sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa (commonly called Black Africa) is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, it consists of all list of sovereign states and dependent territories i ...

sub-Saharan Africa
, which he explored in 1455 and 1456 on behalf of the Portuguese. This was merely a literary flourish, not a suggestion of a new "fourth" part of the world; Cadamosto was aware that sub-Saharan Africa was part of the African continent. The
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
-born Spanish chronicler
Peter Martyr d'Anghiera Peter Martyr d'Anghiera ( la, Petrus Martyr Anglerius or ''ab Angleria''; it, Pietro Martire d'Anghiera; es, Pedro Mártir de Anglería; 2 February 1457 – October 1526), formerly known in English as Peter Martyr of Angleria,D'Anghier ...
doubted
Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus * lij, Cristoffa C(or)ombo * es, Cristóbal Colón * pt, Cristóvão Colombo * ca, Cristòfor (or ) * la, Christophorus Columbus. (; born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was an Italian ...

Christopher Columbus
's claims to have reached
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia, which is defined in both Geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The modern State (polity), states of East Asia include China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. ...

East Asia
("
the Indies The East Indies (or simply the Indies), is a term used in historical narratives of the Age of Discovery. The Indies refers to various lands in East (disambiguation)#Geography, the East or the Eastern hemisphere, particularly the islands and ...
"), and consequently came up with alternative names to refer to them. Only a few weeks after Columbus's return from his first voyage, Martyr wrote letters referring to Columbus's discovered lands as the "western antipodes" ("antipodibus occiduis", letter of 14 May 1493), the "new hemisphere of the earth" ("novo terrarum hemisphaerio", 13 September 1493), and in a letter dated 1 November 1493, refers to Columbus as the "discoverer of the new globe" ("Colonus ille novi orbis repertor"). A year later (20 October 1494), Peter Martyr again refers to the marvels of the New Globe ("Novo Orbe") and the "Western hemisphere" ("ab occidente hemisphero"). In Columbus's 1499 letter to the
Catholic Monarchs The term Catholic Monarchs refers to Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with th ...
of Spain, reporting the results of his third voyage, he relates how the massive waters of South America's
Orinoco The Orinoco () is one of the longest rivers in South America at . Its drainage basin, sometimes known as the Orinoquia, covers , with 76.3 percent of it in Venezuela and the remainder in Colombia. It is the List of rivers by discharge, fourt ...

Orinoco
delta rushing into the
Gulf of Paria The Gulf of Paria ( es, Golfo de Paria) is a shallow (180 m at its deepest) semi-enclosed inland sea located between the island of Trinidad (Republic of Trinidad and Tobago) and the east coast of Venezuela. It separates the two countries by a ...

Gulf of Paria
implied that a previously unknown continent must lie behind it. Columbus proposes that the South American landmass is not a "fourth" continent, but rather the terrestrial paradise of Biblical tradition, a land allegedly known (but undiscovered) by
Christendom Christendom historically refers to the "Christian world": Christian state A Christian state is a country that recognizes a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on th ...
. In another letter (to the nurse of Prince John, written 1500), Columbus refers to having reached a "new heavens and world" ("nuevo cielo é mundo") and that he had placed "another world" ("otro mundo") under the dominion of the Kings of Spain.


''Mundus Novus''

The term "New World" (''Mundus Novus'') was coined by Amerigo Vespucci, in a letter written to his friend and former patron Lorenzo di Pier Francesco de' Medici in the Spring of 1503, and published (in Latin) in 1503–04 under the title ''Mundus Novus''. Vespucci's letter contains arguably the first explicit articulation in print of the hypothesis that the lands discovered by European navigators to the west were not the edges of Asia, as asserted by Columbus, but rather an entirely different continent, a "New World". According to ''Mundus Novus'', Vespucci realized that he was in a "New World" on 17 August 1501 as he arrived in Brazil and compared the nature and people of the place with what Portuguese sailors told him about Asia. In fact, a famous chance meeting between two different expeditions had occurred at the watering stop of "Bezeguiche" (the Bay of Dakar, Senegal)—Vespucci's own outgoing expedition, on its way to chart the coast of newly discovered Brazil, and the vanguard ships of the 2nd Portuguese India Armada (Cabral, 1500), Second Portuguese India armada of Pedro Álvares Cabral, returning home from India. Having already visited the Americas in prior years, Vespucci probably found it difficult to reconcile what he had already seen in the West Indies, with what the returning sailors told him of the East Indies. Vespucci wrote a preliminary letter to Lorenzo, while anchored at Bezeguiche, which he sent back with the Portuguese fleet—at this point only expressing a certain puzzlement about his conversations. Vespucci was finally convinced when he proceeded on his mapping expedition through 1501–02, covering the huge stretch of coast of eastern Brazil. After returning from Brazil, in the Spring of 1503, Amerigo Vespucci composed the ''Mundus Novus'' letter in Lisbon to Lorenzo in Florence, with its famous opening paragraph:
In passed days I wrote very fully to you of my return from new countries, which have been found and explored with the ships, at the cost and by the command of this Most Serene King of Portugal; and it is lawful to call it a new world, because none of these countries were known to our ancestors and to all who hear about them they will be entirely new. For the opinion of the ancients was, that the greater part of the world beyond the equinoctial line to the south was not land, but only sea, which they have called the Atlantic; and even if they have affirmed that any continent is there, they have given many reasons for denying it is inhabited. But this opinion is false, and entirely opposed to the truth. My last voyage has proved it, for I have found a continent in that southern part; full of animals and more populous than our Europe, or Asia, or Africa, and even more temperate and pleasant than any other region known to us.
Vespucci's letter was a publishing sensation in Europe, immediately (and repeatedly) reprinted in several other countries. Peter Martyr, who had been writing and circulating private letters commenting on Columbus's discoveries since 1493, often shares credit with Vespucci for designating the Americas as a new world. Peter Martyr used the term ''Orbe Novo'' (literally, "New Globe", but often translated as "New World") in the title of his history of the discovery of the Americas as a whole, which began to appear in 1511. (Cosmologically, "orbis" as used here refers to the whole hemisphere, while "mundus" refers to the land within it.)


Acceptance

The Vespucci passage above applied the "New World" label to merely the continental landmass of South America. At the time, most of the continent of North America was not yet discovered, and Vespucci's comments did not eliminate the possibility that the islands of the Antilles discovered earlier by Christopher Columbus might still be the eastern edges of Asia, as Columbus continued to insist until his death in 1506. A Da Vinci Globe, 1504 globe created by Leonardo da Vinci depicts the New World sans North and Central America. A conference of navigators known as ''Junta de Navegantes'' was assembled by the Spanish monarchs at Toro, Zamora, Toro in 1505 and continued at Burgos in 1508 to digest all existing information about the Indies, come to an agreement on what had been discovered, and set out the future goals of Spanish exploration. Amerigo Vespucci attended both conferences, and seems to have had an outsized influence on them—at Burgos, he ended up being appointed the first ''piloto mayor'', the chief of the navigation of Spain. Although the proceedings of the Toro-Burgos conferences are missing, it is almost certain that Vespucci articulated his recent 'New World' thesis to his fellow navigators there. During these conferences, Spanish officials seem to have finally accepted that the Antilles and the known stretch of Central America were not the Indies as they had hoped. (though Columbus still insisted they were). They set out the new goal for Spanish explorers: find a sea passage or strait through the Americas, a path to Asia proper. In English usage, the term ''New World'' was problematic and only accepted by relatively late.


Cartographic representation

While it became generally accepted after Vespucci that Columbus's discoveries were not Asia but a "New World", the geographic relationship between the two continents was still unclear.J.H. Parry, ''The Discovery of the Sea'' (1974: p. 227) That there must be a large ocean between Asia and the Americas was implied by the known existence of vast continuous sea along the coasts of
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia, which is defined in both Geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The modern State (polity), states of East Asia include China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. ...

East Asia
. Given the size of the Earth as calculated by Eratosthenes this left a large space between Asia and the newly discovered lands. Even prior to Vespucci, several maps, e.g. the Cantino planisphere of 1502 and the Canerio map of 1504, placed a large open ocean between China on the east side of the map, and the inchoate largely water-surrounded North American and South American discoveries on the western side of map. However, out of uncertainty, they depicted a finger of the Asian land mass stretching across the top to the eastern edge of the map, suggesting it carried over into the western hemisphere (e.g. the Cantino Planisphere denotes Greenland as "Punta d'Asia"—"edge of Asia"). Some maps, e.g., the 1506 Contarini–Rosselli map and the 1508 Johannes Ruysch map, bowing to Ptolemaic authority and Columbus's assertions, have the northern Asian landmass stretching well into the western hemisphere and merging with known North America (Labrador, Newfoundland, etc.). These maps place the island of Japan near Cuba and leave the South American continent—Vespucci's "New World" proper—detached and floating below by itself. The Waldseemüller map of 1507, which accompanied the famous ''Cosmographiae Introductio'' volume (which includes reprints of Vespucci's letters) comes closest to modernity by placing a completely open sea (with no stretching land fingers) between Asia on the eastern side and the New World (being represented two times in the same map in a different way: with and without a sea passage in the middle of what is now named Central America) on the western side—which (on what is now named South America) that same map famously labels simply "''Naming of America, America''". However, Martin Waldseemüller's map of 1516 retreats considerably from his earlier map and back to classical authority, with the Asian land mass merging into North America (which he now calls ''Terra de Cuba Asie partis''), and quietly drops the "America" label from South America, calling it merely ''Terra incognita''. The western coast of the New World—the Pacific Ocean—was only discovered in 1513 by Vasco Núñez de Balboa. It was a few more years before another Portugal, Portuguese—Ferdinand Magellan's voyage of 1519–22—determined that the Pacific definitely formed a single large body of water that separated Asia from the Americas. It would be several more years before the Pacific Coast of North America was mapped, dispelling lingering doubts. Until the discovery of the Bering Straits in the 17th century, there was no absolute confirmation that Asia and North America were not connected, and some European maps of the 16th century still continued to hopefully depict North America connected by a land bridge to Asia (e.g. the 1533 Johannes Schöner globe). In 1524, the term was used by Giovanni da Verrazzano in a record of his voyage that year along the Atlantic coast of North America, land that is now part of the United States and Canada.Verrazzano, Giovanni da (1524
"The Written Record of the Voyage of 1524 of Giovanni da Verrazzano as recorded in a letter to Francis I, King of France, July 8th, 1524"
. Citing: Wroth, Lawrence C., ed. (1970). ''The Voyages of Giovanni da Verrazzano, 1524–1528''. Yale, pp. 133–43. Citing: a translation by Susan Tarrow of the ''Cèllere Codex''.


See also

*History of Australia (1788–1850) *History of Antarctica *


References


External links

{{Authority control Americas Oceania Antarctica Cultural regions Geographical regions Human geography Western Hemisphere Age of Discovery Culture of the Americas Oceanian culture European colonization of the Americas European colonisation in Oceania Country classifications Cultural history