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For many years people believed that Europeans were the first to travel to
America and that it was discovered by the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.
But, in fact, many travellers had reached America before him. Some historians
claim that sailors from China crossed the Pacific to Mexico in AD 460. According
5 to others, although there is not enough evidence, Asians other than the Chinese
crossed the Bering Strait to Alaska long before this date and moved through North
America on to South America.
Irish explorers may also have visited America in the ninth and tenth centuries.
Irish people living in Iceland before the Norsemen,
10 who came from Scandinavia. They may have sailed
from Iceland to America after the Norsemen arrived
in Iceland.
However, the first Western explorer whose
success we can be sure about was Christopher
15 Columbus. He left Spain on August 3, 20 1492, and
on October 12th, he arrived in the Bahamas.
Columbus thought he had arrived in the Indies, the
name then used for Asia. That is why he called the
people there Indians.
20 However, America was named after another
Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, who was a
friend of Columbus' and who later explored the coastline of the New World.
Amerigo Vespucci (1451-1512) was a successful Florentine businessman and
navigator who was knowledgeable in geography. It was mainly for these reasons
25 that he got involved in various expeditions at the time, made acquaintance of
Columbus and was of great help to him.
To find answers to the questions raised by Columbus' claims to have reached
Asia by travelling west, Vespucci was employed by the Spanish and the
Portuguese to organise new expeditions. The first of these was in 1499 - 1500, the
30 second in 1501 -1502.
Although Columbus is considered the most important explorer of all times, he
could not achieve what Vespucci did. Vespucci proved that America was a new
continent-and not a part of Asia. For this reason, the continent was named
America after him in 1507.

A. What do the following refer to?
1. 'others' (line 5): other _______historians______________
2. They' (line 10): _______________________________________
3. 'who' (line 21): _______________________________________
4. 'at the time' (line 25): __________________________________
5. 'the second' (line 29): __________________________________

In Columbus' day. Vespucci? 3. In the ninth century there were Irish people living in Iceland. B. Give one reason why Vespucci was involved in the expeditions at his time. C. Columbus landed in North America on October 12. Europeans travelled through America before AD 460. 4. Asia was called the Indies. _ 5. 1492. Read the questions and write your answers! 1. History books say that the Norsemen visited America before the Irish. Why was America named after A. _ 2. _ 4. Mark the statements as True (T) or False (F). _ 3. Why were the new expeditions set up by the Spanish and the Portuguese? . Who were the first people to reach America? Which route did they follow? 2. _ 1. How did Vespucci help Columbus? 5.

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