Saturday, December 15, 2007
Landmark map on display
A map has gone on display in the US that contains the first known use of the word "America".
The map is thought to have been drawn exactly 500 years ago by a monk in the present-day French region of Lorraine.
The map, which has just gone on permanent display for the first time, was bought by America's Library of Congress four years ago.
It was produced in 1507 in the town of Saint Die by the German monk Martin Waldseemueller.
His was the first map to show a full and separate western hemisphere and in some regards it remains fairly accurate.
One of the main sources for his new work was the knowledge brought to Europe by the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci.
The word America - said by many scholars to be derived from the explorer's name - appears however not where the modern US is but where Brazil now is.
That was the region Vespucci had begun to explore.