He called the people he found here indios (Indians), after all. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! Contrary to legend, people have known that the world is round since ancient times. They even had a pretty good estimate of its diameter and circumference. Sailors in particular knew this, because the curvature of the earth's surface has a tremendous impact on their navigation techniques. Columbus can only be described as a wretchedly awful sailor, since he assumed that that the distance from Spain to the eastern coast of Asia was about one-fourth of its actual span. If there had not been another land mass along the way, which no one could have predicted (and rather close, at that), he and his crew would have run out of supplies and died long before they met the real "Indians." It would be more precise to say that Columbus discovered "the Americas" rather than "America," a name which by informal but universal agreement refers only to the United States. He landed on Hispaniola (the earth's 22nd-largest island, now shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and never saw the continents of North and South America. We must remember that the Norsemen discovered North America long before Columbus. They established a thriving colony, although no one knows for sure what happened to it. Assimilation is an easy assumption. And of course there were three waves of migration across Beringia from Siberia, starting around 15KYA, establishing three distinct populations of Native Americans. And recently it's been discovered that at a much earlier time (at least 20KYA) explorers from Europe landed on our eastern coast. It was during an ice age when sea level was lower and the shoreline extended further out, so the remains of their settlements were found about 25 miles out to sea. These would have been the Cro-Magnon, since the Indo-Europeans had not arrived in Europe yet. Outside of the USA and Canada, the Western Hemisphere is generally referred to as "the Americas." Geologically, North and South America are actually a single continent, connected by the Isthmus of Panama.