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Vespucci

"America gets its name from low-ranking sailor Amerigo Vespucci, who managed to scam his name onto maps [see below]. His only real claim to fame during his time was being the first popular pornographer of the New World. His letters about his travels described in lewd detail the sex lives of Native Americans and became a natural bestseller back in Europe."

[On April 25, 1507, the German-born cartographer Martin Waldseemuller (the "godfather of America") -- along with the poets Matthias Ringmann and Jean Basin de Sandecourt -- published a book entitled Cosmographiae Introductio: "Inasmuch as both Europe and Asia received their names from women," he declared, "I see no reason why anyone should justly object to call this part Amerige, ie, the land of Amerigo, or America, after Amerigo, its discoverer, a man of great ability." Though the men soon discovered that Columbus had crossed the Atlantic 15 years earlier and the mistake was rectified in later editions, the name stuck. Many scholars now doubt that Vespucci ever traveled to America at all.]

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