New World

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This article is about . For ,see New World (disambiguation).

Frontispiece of Peter Martyr d'Anghiera's De orbe novo ("On the New World").
Carte d'Amérique, Guillaume Delisle, 1722.

The New World is one of the names used for the Americas. When the term originated in the late 15th century, the Americas were new to the Europeans, who previously thought of the world as consisting only of Europe, Asia, and Africa (collectively, the Old World). The term "New World" should not be confused with "modern world"; the latter generally refers to a historical period, not a landmass.

Christopher Columbus returned to Europe in 1493 from his first voyage to the Americas and on 1 November that year Peter Martyr d'Anghiera referred to Columbus in a letter as the discoverer of "the New World" (novi orbis).<ref>O'Gorman, Edmundo. The Invention of America. 1961. p. 84.</ref> In another letter a year later he again referred to "the New World" (orbo novo).<ref>Zerubavel, Eviatar. Terra Cognita: The Mental Discovery of America. 2003. p. 72. Citing Thacher, John B. Christopher Columbus. 1903. vol. 1. p. 62.</ref> In 1516 Martyr published a work whose title began De orbe novo ("On the New World").

The term was also used by Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524 in a record of his voyage that year along the coast of what would later become the United States and Canada.<ref>The Written Record of the Voyage of 1524 of Giovanni da Verrazzano as recorded in a letter to Francis I, King of France, July 8th, 1524</ref>

One might speak of the "New World" in a historical context, when discussing the voyages of Christopher Columbus, the Spanish conquest of Yucatán, etc. Second, in a biology|biological context, one speaks of Old World and New World species.

Another interpretation of the term is that the "New World" is "new" in the context of all humanity; as humans have developed and lived in the Old World for a far greater length of time than the Americas have been inhabited; thus, it would be said the first migrants to colonise the Americans had reached the "New World".

The discovery of America was much more than a mere scientific process, and romance rather than cold speculations of medieval geography urged men to tempt the dim seas of the West in quest of golden islands seen in dreams.

Lewis Spence, 1913

While America is always described as "New World", Australasia can be described as either "Old World" or "New World" depending on the sphere of discourse, especially in the case of New Zealand where the first human settlers arrived only a few generations before Columbus reached the Americas. In a biological context, Australasia is neither New World nor Old, as flora and fauna differ markedly from both those of Eurasia and of the Americas. Wine from Australia and New Zealand is referred to as 'New World' as it has only in recent decades successfully penetrated European markets, overtaking French and Spanish wine in popularity (especially in the UK).

Long before Columbus, in Europe, many legends existed of Western continents across the sea. It is thought these may have stemmed from prehistoric intercourse with the New World. Examples include the Norse Great Ireland or Hvítramannaland ("White Men's Land"); the "abode of saints" visited by St. Brandan, Abbot of Cluainfert, documented in the Irish Book of Lismore; the Welsh Legend of Madoc; and of course Plato's Atlantis. See the article Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact for more details.

See also

  • Western Hemisphere
  • Eastern Hemisphere
  • History of the west coast of North America
  • New world order
  • Colonialism
  • Roanoke Island
  • Australia

References

  1. O'Gorman, Edmundo. The Invention of America. 1961. p. 84.
  2. Zerubavel, Eviatar. Terra Cognita: The Mental Discovery of America. 2003. p. 72. Citing Thacher, John B. Christopher Columbus. 1903. vol. 1. p. 62.
  3. The Written Record of the Voyage of 1524 of Giovanni da Verrazzano as recorded in a letter to Francis I, King of France, July 8th, 1524

Original Source

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