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Welcome the the Order of the Founders of North America (OFNA) website. The OFNA is a lineage society whose purpose is to memorialize the individuals who founded North America through Colonization; including the Caribbean and offshore North Atlantic Islands during the period of 1492 to 1692. Members may descend from Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Scottish, Swedish, German, Danish, and Italian royalty, explorers, settlers, and seamen transporting and supplying these colonists.


Discovery of America - The Naming and Origin of the Name

An important part in the history and Discovery of America was the facts behind the name. What was the origin of the name? The name 'America' derives from the Latin version of the first name of the early explorer, Amerigo Vespucci. But who was responsible for the naming of the New World?

The man responsible for naming the land, and the origin of the name, was a German called Martin Waldseemuller. Martin Waldseemuller was working on a world map, based on the work of Ptolemy. Martin Waldseemuller had read of the voyages of discovery made by Amerigo Vespucci and realized that the New World was two continents. Martin Waldseemuller named the new continent after Amerigo Vespucci. Martin Waldseemuller printed a wood block map, called "Carta Mariana", with the name "America" spread across the southern continent of the New World. He named the new continent "America" after the feminine Latin version of Vespucci's first name, which is Americus.

Martin Waldseemuller printed and sold 1000 copies of the map across Europe. The name stuck, and when the second huge land mass of North America was discovered the names North and South America were applied to the two continents. In 1538 a world map was produced by Gerardus Mercator which was the first to include the names of North America and South America on the two continents.

The Geradus Mercator World Map

Close-up view of Mercator's Map showing the names given