New Copy of 'America's Birth Certificate' Found

Rare America map had been misplaced for centuries

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 4, 2012 12:42 AM CDT

(Newser) – Researchers in Germany have unveiled a newly discovered copy of a map known as "America's birth certificate" just in time for the 4th of July. The 500-year-old map by famous cartographer Martin Waldseemuller is the first to name the New World as America. It had been thought that only four copies existed, but a fifth was found among centuries-old volumes on geometry at Munich University Library, the BBC reports.

Waldseemuller, who depicted America as a small, boomerang-shaped island, named the new land after Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, believing he had discovered it before Christopher Columbus. Another, much larger, copy of the map is in the Library of Congress. It was given to the US in 2007 by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to mark the 500th anniversary of the naming of America.

A detail of the 1507 world map by Martin Waldseemuller, the first map known to use the name America.
A detail of the 1507 world map by Martin Waldseemuller, the first map known to use the name "America."   (AP Photos/Susan Walsh)
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