In elementary school we learned that “in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue”, but is it possible that our teachers left out some details on who actually discovered America?
Sure, Christopher Columbus is the most famous explorer to have landed on the shores of the Americas, but was he first and why is the land not named after him? People like when stuff is named after them – the human race is kind of narcissistic in that way. We donate lots of money to build a library – we want the building named after us; so I’m pretty sure if you found a never-before-discovered land, you’d want that named after you too.
The reason it’s not called Columbia (or something down that road) is because in 1497 an Italian explorer by the name of Amerigo Vespucci came to the land; and because news had not yet arrived that Columbus was actually there first, he had a mapmaker name it America after himself.
As far as who landed here first (besides the natives because they technically did not land here), there are tons of theories. That is what is so great about this question – there is no rock solid answer.
Some historians believe that Egyptians could have been here first, backing up their theory with findings of similarities between pre-Columbian architecture found here and that of the ancient Egyptians. Others argue that Norse explorer Leif Ericson landed on the eastern shores of America circa AD 1000, while still more theorize that the Chinese, Japanese, and Polynesians all beat Columbus by reaching the west coast years before he ever set sail.
So, who is the real discoverer of America? The answer is: who knows!? Got any research or knowledge you’d like to share? Let’s hear it! Who do you know/believe really discovered America?
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