Waldseemüller Map featured in Smithsonian Magazine article

The December 2009 issue of Smithsonian Magazine features an article on the Waldseemüller Map, an early 16th century chart which "changed the way people thought about the world."

The map was published in a 100-page German cosmology. Near the end, the book discussed the regions of the earth, including a newly-explored continent to the west.

Near the end, in a chapter devoted to the makeup of the Earth, the author elbowed his way onto the page and made an oddly personal announcement. It came just after he had introduced readers to Asia, Africa and Europe—the three parts of the world known to Europeans since antiquity. "These parts," he wrote, "have in fact now been more widely explored, and a fourth part has been discovered by Amerigo Vespucci (as will be heard in what follows). Since both Asia and Africa received their names from women, I do not see why anyone should rightly prevent this [new part] from being called Amerigen—the land of Amerigo, as it were—or America, after its discoverer, Americus, a man of perceptive character."