Kent State Professor Shares Theories on the Naming of America

Another October, another Columbus Day.

Pictured is Matthew Crawford, associate professor in Kent State University's Department of History.

But if Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, why does the United States bear the name of Amerigo Vespucci, an explorer who did not come along until 1499?

It has to do with a great public relations campaign on Vespucci’s part, and stubbornness on Columbus’ part for refusing to admit that he had discovered new lands, not Asia, explains Matthew Crawford, Ph.D., Kent State University associate professor of history, in an article in the online magazine Live Science.

Dr. Crawford features prominently in an article by author Laura Geggel for, which explores the topic of why Columbus was overlooked for the naming of America.

The answer, Dr. Crawford explained, has to do with Columbus' poor reputation at the time European mapmakers were naming the newfound continents, as well as a highly successful publicity campaign by the Italian explorer Vespucci, who landed in the new world seven years after Columbus.

Dr. Crawford, who specializes in the history of science and medicine in the early modern world, has been teaching at Kent State since 2009. He is Kent State’s first historian of science and medicine and is committed to building a curriculum and community for people with interested in the historical, social and philosophical aspects of science, medicine and technology.

Read the entire article at

To learn more about Kent State’s Department of History, visit

POSTED: Thursday, November 1, 2018 11:47 AM
UPDATED: Friday, December 09, 2022 05:31 AM
Lisa Abraham