New World

The New World is one of the names used for the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas (including nearby islands such as those of the Caribbean and Bermuda).

The term originated in the early 16th century after Europeans made landfall in what would later be called the Americas in the age of discovery, expanding the geographical horizon of classical geographers, who had thought of the world as consisting of Africa, Europe, and Asia, collectively now referred to as the Old World (a.k.a. Afro-Eurasia).

The phrase gained prominence after the publication of a pamphlet titled Mundus Novus attributed to Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci.[1]

The Americas were also referred to as the "fourth part of the world".[2]

Map of America by Sebastian Munster
Sebastian Münster's map of the New World, first published in 1540
Graverat titelblad - Skoklosters slott - 93404
History of the New World "Historia antipodum oder newe Welt". Matthäus Merian, 1631.


The terms "Old World" vs. "New World" are meaningful in historical context and for the purpose of distinguishing the world's major ecozones, and to classify plant and animal species that originated therein.

One can speak of the "New World" in a historical context, e.g., when discussing the voyages of Christopher Columbus, the Spanish conquest of Yucatán and other events of the colonial period. For lack of alternatives, the term is also still useful to those discussing issues that concern the Americas and the nearby oceanic islands, such as Bermuda and Clipperton Island, collectively.

The term "New World" is used in a biological context, when one speaks of Old World (Palearctic, Afrotropic) and New World species (Nearctic, Neotropic). Biological taxonomists often attach the "New World" label to groups of species that are found exclusively in the Americas, to distinguish them from their counterparts in the "Old World" (Europe, Africa and Asia), e.g. New World monkeys, New World vultures, New World warblers.

The label is also often used in agriculture. Asia, Africa, and Europe share a common agricultural history stemming from the Neolithic Revolution, and the same domesticated plants and animals spread through these three continents thousands of years ago, making them largely indistinct and useful to classify together as "Old World". Common Old World crops (e.g., barley, lentils, oats, peas, rye, wheat), and domesticated animals (e.g., cattle, chickens, goats, horses, pigs, sheep) did not exist in the Americas until they were introduced by post-Columbian contact in the 1490s (see "Columbian Exchange"). Conversely, many common crops were originally domesticated in the Americas before they spread worldwide after Columbian contact, and are still often referred to as "New World crops"; common beans (phaseolus), maize, and squash – the "three sisters" – as well as the avocado, tomato, and wide varieties of capsicum (bell pepper, chili pepper, etc.), and the turkey were originally domesticated by pre-Columbian peoples in Mesoamerica, while agriculturalists in the Andean region of South America brought forth the cassava, peanut, potato, quinoa and domesticated animals like the alpaca, guinea pig and llama. Other famous New World crops include the cashew, cocoa, rubber, sunflower, tobacco, and vanilla, and fruits like the guava, papaya and pineapple. There are rare instances of overlap, e.g., the calabash (bottle-gourd), cotton, and yam, and the dog, are believed to have been domesticated separately in both the Old and New World, their early forms possibly brought along by Paleo-Indians from Asia during the last glacial period.

In wine terminology, "New World" has a different definition. "New World wines" include not only North American and South American wines, but also those from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and all other locations outside the traditional wine-growing regions of Europe, North Africa and the Near East.[3]

Origin of term

Stradanus America
Allegory of the New World: Amerigo Vespucci awakens the sleeping America

The term "New World" ("Mundus Novus") was first coined by the Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci, in a letter written to his friend and former patron Lorenzo di Pier Francesco de' Medici in the Spring of 1503, and published (in Latin) in 1503–04 under the title Mundus Novus. Vespucci's letter contains arguably the first explicit articulation in print of the hypothesis that the lands discovered by European navigators to the west were not the edges of Asia, as asserted by Christopher Columbus, but rather an entirely different continent, a "New World".[2]

Vespucci first approached this realization in June 1502, during a famous chance meeting between two different expeditions at the watering stop of "Bezeguiche" (the Bay of Dakar, Senegal) – his own outgoing expedition, on its way to chart the coast of newly discovered Brazil, and the vanguard ships of the Second Portuguese India armada of Pedro Álvares Cabral, returning home from India. Having already visited the Americas in prior years, Vespucci probably found it difficult to reconcile what he had already seen in the West Indies, with what the returning sailors told him of the East Indies. Vespucci wrote a preliminary letter to Lorenzo, while anchored at Bezeguiche, which he sent back with the Portuguese fleet – at this point only expressing a certain puzzlement about his conversations.[4] Vespucci was finally convinced when he proceeded on his mapping expedition through 1501–02, covering the huge stretch of coast of eastern Brazil. After returning from Brazil, in the Spring of 1503, Amerigo Vespucci composed the Mundus Novus letter in Lisbon to Lorenzo in Florence, with its famous opening paragraph:[5]

In passed days I wrote very fully to you of my return from new countries, which have been found and explored with the ships, at the cost and by the command of this Most Serene King of Portugal; and it is lawful to call it a new world, because none of these countries were known to our ancestors and all who hear about them they will be entirely new. For the opinion of the ancients was, that the greater part of the world beyond the equinoctial line to the south was not land, but only sea, which they have called the Atlantic; and even if they have affirmed that any continent is there, they have given many reasons for denying it is inhabited. But this opinion is false, and entirely opposed to the truth. My last voyage has proved it, for I have found a continent in that southern part; full of animals and more populous than our Europe, or Asia, or Africa, and even more temperate and pleasant than any other region known to us.

Vespucci's letter was a publishing sensation in Europe, immediately (and repeatedly) reprinted in several other countries.[6]

Prior usage

While Amerigo Vespucci is usually credited for coming up with the term "New World" (Mundus Novus) for the Americas in his 1503 letter, certainly giving it its popular cachet, similar terms had nonetheless been used and applied before him.

The Venetian explorer Alvise Cadamosto had used the term "un altro mundo" ("another world") to refer to sub-Saharan Africa, which he explored in 1455 and 1456 on behalf of the Portuguese.[7] However, this was merely a literary flourish, not a suggestion of a new "fourth" part of the world. Cadamosto was quite aware sub-Saharan Africa was firmly part of the African continent.

The Italian-born Spanish chronicler Peter Martyr d'Anghiera often shares credit with Vespucci for designating the Americas as a new world.[8] Peter Martyr used the term Orbe Novo (literally, "New Globe", but often translated as "New World") in the title of his history of the discovery of the Americas as a whole, which began to appear in 1511 (cosmologically, "orbis" as used here refers to the whole hemisphere, while "mundus" refers to the land within it).[9] Peter Martyr had been writing and circulating private letters commenting on Columbus's discoveries since 1493 and, from the start, doubted Columbus's claims to have reached East Asia ("the Indies"), and consequently came up with alternative names to refer to them.[10] Only a few weeks after Columbus's return from his first voyage, Peter Martyr wrote letters referring to Columbus's discovered lands as the "western antipodes" ("antipodibus occiduis", letter of May 14, 1493),[11] the "new hemisphere of the earth" ("novo terrarum hemisphaerio", September 13, 1493),[12] and in a letter dated November 1, 1493, refers to Columbus as the "discoverer of the new globe" ("Colonus ille novi orbis repertor").[13] A year later (October 20, 1494), Peter Martyr again refers to the marvels of the New Globe ("Novo Orbe") and the "Western hemisphere."("ab occidente hemisphero").[14]

Christopher Columbus touched the continent of South America in his 1498 third voyage. In his own 1499 letter to the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, reporting the results of his third voyage, Columbus relates how the massive waters of the Orinoco delta rushing into the Gulf of Paria implied that a previously unknown continent must lie behind it.[15] However, bowing to the classical tripartite division of the world, Columbus discards that hypothesis and proposes instead that the South American landmass is not a "fourth" continent, but rather the terrestrial paradise of Biblical tradition, not a previously unknown "new" part of the world, but a land already "known" (but location undiscovered) by Christendom.[16] In another letter (to the nurse of Prince John, written 1500), Columbus refers to having reached a "new heavens and world" ("nuevo cielo e mundo")[17] and that he had placed "another world" ("otro mundo") under the dominion of the Kings of Spain.[18]


The Vespucci passage above applied the "New World" label to merely the continental landmass of South America.[19] At the time, most of the continent of North America was not yet discovered, and Vespucci's comments did not eliminate the possibility that the islands of the Antilles discovered earlier by Christopher Columbus might still be the eastern edges of Asia, as Columbus continued to insist down to his dying day.[20] A critical step in the transition was the conference of navigators (Junta de Navegantes) assembled by the Spanish monarchs at Toro in 1505, and continued at Burgos in 1508, to digest all existing information about the Indies, come to an agreement on what had really been discovered, and set out the future goals of Spanish exploration. Amerigo Vespucci attended both conferences, and seems to have had an outsized influence on them – Vespucci ended up being appointed the first piloto mayor, the chief of the navigation of Spain, at Burgos.[21] Although the proceedings of the Toro-Burgos conferences are missing, it is almost certain that Vespucci articulated his recent "New World" thesis to his fellow navigators there. It was during these conferences when Spanish officials seem to have finally accepted that the Antilles and the known stretch of Central America were definitely not the Indies they had originally sought, and Columbus had insisted they were, and set out the new goal for Spanish explorers: to find a sea passage or strait through the Americas which would permit them to sail to Asia proper.[22] In English usage the term "New World" was problematic and only accepted by relatively late.[23]

Cartographic representation

Map Diego Ribero 1529
The World Map by Diogo Ribeiro (1529) labels the Americas as MUNDUS NOVUS. It traces most of South America and the east coast of North America.

While it became generally accepted after Vespucci that Columbus's discoveries were not Asia but a "New World", the geographic relationship between the two continents was still unclear.[24] That there must be a large ocean between Asia and the Americas was implied by the known existence of vast continuous sea along the coasts of East Asia. Given the size of the Earth as calculated by Eratosthenes this left a large space between Asia and the newly discovered lands.

Even prior to Vespucci, several maps, e.g. the Cantino planisphere of 1502 and the Canerio map of 1504, placed a large open ocean between China on the east side of the map, and the inchoate largely water-surrounded North American and South American discoveries on the western side of map. However, out of uncertainty, they depicted a finger of the Asian land mass stretching across the top to the eastern edge of the map, suggesting it carried over into the western hemisphere (e.g. the Cantino Planisphere denotes Greenland as "Punta d'Asia" – "edge of Asia"). Some maps, e.g. the 1506 Contarini–Rosselli map and the 1508 Johannes Ruysch map, bowing to Ptolemaic authority and Columbus's assertions, have the northern Asian landmass stretching well into the western hemisphere and merging with known North America (Labrador, Newfoundland, etc.). These maps place the island of Japan near Cuba and leave the South American continent – Vespucci's "New World" proper – detached and floating below by itself.[24] The Waldseemüller map of 1507, which accompanied the famous Cosmographiae Introductio volume (which includes reprints of Vespucci's letters) comes closest to modernity by placing a completely open sea (with no stretching land fingers) between Asia on the eastern side and the New World (being represented two times in the same map in a different way: with and without a sea passage in the middle of what is now named Central America) on the western side – which (on what is now named South America) that same map famously labels simply "America". However, Martin Waldseemüller's map of 1516 retreats considerably from his earlier map and back to classical authority, with the Asian land mass merging into North America (which he now calls Terra de Cuba Asie partis), and quietly drops the "America" label from South America, calling it merely Terra Incognita.[24]

The western coast of the New World – the Pacific Ocean – was only discovered in 1513 by Vasco Núñez de Balboa. But it would take a few more years – Ferdinand Magellan's voyage of 1519–22 – to determine that the Pacific definitely formed a single large body of water separating Asia from the Americas. It would be several more years before the Pacific Coast of North America was mapped, dispelling lingering doubts. Until the discovery of the Bering Straits in the 17th century, there was no absolute confirmation that Asia and North America were not connected, and some European maps of the 16th century still continued to hopefully depict North America connected by a land bridge to Asia (e.g. the 1533 Johannes Schöner globe).[24]

In 1524, the term was used by Giovanni da Verrazzano in a record of his voyage that year along the Atlantic coast of North America, land that is now part of the United States and Canada.[25]

See also


  1. ^ Mundus Novus: Letter to Lorenzo Pietro Di Medici, by Amerigo Vespucci; translation by George Tyler Northrup, Princeton University Press; 1916.
  2. ^ a b M.H.Davidson (1997) Columbus Then and Now, a life re-examined. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, p. 417)
  3. ^ "Real Differences: New World vs Old World Wine". Wine Folly. 21 August 2012.
  4. ^ This preliminary letter from Bezeguiche was not published, but remained in manuscript form. It is reproduced in F.A. de Varnhagen (1865: pp. 78–82).
  5. ^ English translation of Mundus Novus as found in Markham (1894: pp. 42–52)
  6. ^ Varnhagen, Amerígo Vespucci (1865: pp. 13–26) provides side-by-side reproductions of both the 1503 Latin version Mundus Novus, and the 1507 Italian re-translation "El Nuovo Mondo de Lengue Spagnole interpretato in Idioma Ro. Libro Quinto" (from Paesi Nuovamente retrovati). The Latin version of Mundus Novus was reprinted many times (see Varnhagen, 1865: p. 9 for a list of early reprints).
  7. ^ Cadamosto Navigationi, c. 1470, as reprinted in Giovanni Ramusio (1554: p. 106). See also M. Zamora Reading Columbus, (1993: p. 121)
  8. ^ de Madariaga, Salvador (1952). Vida del muy magnífico señor Don Cristóbal Colón (in Spanish) (5th ed.). Mexico: Editorial Hermes. p. 363. "nuevo mundo", [...] designación que Pedro Mártyr será el primero en usar
  9. ^ J.Z. Smith, Relating Religion, Chicago (2004: p. 268)
  10. ^ E.G. Bourne Spain in America, 1450–580 New York: Harper (1904: p. 30)
  11. ^ Peter Martyr, Opus Epistolarum (Letter 130 p. 72)
  12. ^ Peter Martyr, Opus Epistolarum, Letter 133, p. 73
  13. ^ Peter Martyr, Opus Epistolarum (Letter 138, p. 76)
  14. ^ Peter Martyr Opus Epistolarum, Letter 156 p. 88
  15. ^ "if the river mentioned does not proceed from the terrestrial paradise, it comes from an immense tract of land situated in the south, of which no knowledge has been hitherto obtained" (Columbus 1499 letter on the third voyage, as reproduced in R.H. Major, Select Letters of Christopher Columbus, 1870: p. 147)
  16. ^ J.Z. Smith, Relating Religion, Chicago (2004: pp. 266–67)
  17. ^ Columbus 1500 letter to the nurse (in Major, 1870: p. 154)
  18. ^ Columbus's 1500 letter to the nurse(Major, 1870: p. 170)
  19. ^ F.A. Ober Amerigo Vespucci New York: Harper (1907: pp. 239, 244)
  20. ^ S.E. Morison The European Discovery of America, v.2: The southern voyages, 1492–1616.(1974: pp. 265–66).
  21. ^ For an account of Vespucci at Toro and Burgos, see Navarette Colección de los viages y descubrimientos que hicieron por mar los españoles desde fines del siglo XV(1829: v.iii, pp. 320–23)
  22. ^ C.O. Sauer The Early Spanish Main. Cambridge (1966: pp. 166–67)
  23. ^ Sobecki, Sebastian (2015). "New World Discovery". Oxford Handbooks Online. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935338.001.0001 (inactive 2018-05-19). Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  24. ^ a b c d J.H. Parry, The Discovery of the Sea (1974: p. 227)
  25. ^ Verrazzano, Giovanni da (1524)."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" Archived 2006-09-08 at the Wayback Machine. Citing: Wroth, Lawrence C., ed. (1970). The Voyages of Giovanni da Verrazzano, 1524–1528. Yale, pp. 133–43. Citing: a translation by Susan Tarrow of the Cèllere Codex.
Aldous Huxley

Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer and philosopher. A prominent member of the Huxley family, he was the author of nearly fifty books, producing novels such as Brave New World (1931), set in a dystopian future; non-fiction works such as The Doors of Perception (1954), interpreting his psychedelic experience with mescaline; and wide-ranging essays of social and literary criticism.

Huxley graduated from Balliol College, Oxford with an undergraduate degree in English literature. Early in his career, he published short stories and poetry and edited the literary magazine Oxford Poetry. He went on to publish travel writing, film stories, satire, and screenplays. He spent the latter part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death.Huxley was a humanist and pacifist. He became interested in spiritual subjects such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism, and in particular universalism. By the end of his life, Huxley was widely acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of his time. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature seven times. In 1962, a year before he died, Huxley was elected Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature.

Alex Jones

Alexander Emric (or Emerick) Jones (born February 11, 1974) is an American radio show host and conspiracy theorist. He hosts The Alex Jones Show from Austin, Texas, which airs on the Genesis Communications Network across the United States and online. Jones runs a website,, devoted to conspiracy theories and fake news, and the websites NewsWars and PrisonPlanet.

Jones has been the center of many controversies, including his promotion of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting conspiracy theories, and his aggressive opposition to gun control in a debate with Piers Morgan. He has accused the U.S. government of planning the Oklahoma City bombing, the September 11 attacks, and has claimed that the Moon landing footage was fake. He has claimed that several governments and big businesses have colluded to create a "New World Order" through "manufactured economic crises, sophisticated surveillance tech and—above all—inside-job terror attacks that fuel exploitable hysteria".Jones has described himself as a conservative, paleoconservative and libertarian, terms he uses interchangeably. Others describe him as conservative, right-wing, alt-right, and far-right. New York magazine has described Jones as "America's leading conspiracy theorist", and the Southern Poverty Law Center describes him as "the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America". Asked about such labels, Jones said he is "proud to be listed as a thought criminal against Big Brother".

Atlantic slave trade

The Atlantic slave trade or transatlantic slave trade involved the transportation by slave traders of enslaved African people, mainly to the Americas. The slave trade regularly used the triangular trade route and its Middle Passage, and existed from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The vast majority of those who were enslaved and transported in the transatlantic slave trade were people from central and western Africa, who had been sold by other West Africans to Western European slave traders (with a small number being captured directly by the slave traders in coastal raids), who brought them to the Americas. The South Atlantic and Caribbean economies especially were dependent on the supply of secure labour for the production of commodity crops, making goods and clothing to sell in Europe. This was crucial to those western European countries which, in the late 17th and 18th centuries, were vying with each other to create overseas empires.The Portuguese were the first to engage in the Atlantic slave trade in the 16th century. In 1526, they completed the first transatlantic slave voyage to Brazil, and other European countries soon followed. Shipowners regarded the slaves as cargo to be transported to the Americas as quickly and cheaply as possible, there to be sold to work on coffee, tobacco, cocoa, sugar and cotton plantations, gold and silver mines, rice fields, construction industry, cutting timber for ships, in skilled labour, and as domestic servants. The first Africans imported to the English colonies were classified as "indentured servants", like workers coming from England, and also as "apprentices for life". By the middle of the 17th century, slavery had hardened as a racial caste, with the slaves and their offspring being legally the property of their owners, and children born to slave mothers were also slaves. As property, the people were considered merchandise or units of labour, and were sold at markets with other goods and services.

The major Atlantic slave trading nations, ordered by trade volume, were: the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Spanish, and the Dutch Empires. Several had established outposts on the African coast where they purchased slaves from local African leaders. These slaves were managed by a factor who was established on or near the coast to expedite the shipping of slaves to the New World. Slaves were kept in a factory while awaiting shipment. Current estimates are that about 12 million Africans were shipped across the Atlantic, although the number purchased by the traders was considerably higher, as the passage had a high death rate. Near the beginning of the 19th century, various governments acted to ban the trade, although illegal smuggling still occurred. In the early 21st century, several governments issued apologies for the transatlantic slave trade.

Brave New World

Brave New World is a dystopian novel written in 1931 by English author Aldous Huxley, and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State of genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning that are combined to make a utopian society that goes challenged only by a single outsider. Huxley followed this book with a reassessment in an essay, Brave New World Revisited (1958), and with Island (1962), his final novel.

In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Brave New World fifth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. In 2003, Robert McCrum writing for The Observer included Brave New World chronologically at number 53 in "the top 100 greatest novels of all time", and the novel was listed at number 87 on the BBC's survey The Big Read.


A camel is an even-toed ungulate in the genus Camelus that bears distinctive fatty deposits known as "humps" on its back. Camels have long been domesticated and, as livestock, they provide food (milk and meat) and textiles (fiber and felt from hair). As working animals, camels—which are uniquely suited to their desert habitats—are a vital means of transport for passengers and cargo. There are three surviving species of camel. The one-humped dromedary makes up 94% of the world's camel population, and the two-humped Bactrian camel makes up the remainder. The Wild Bactrian camel is a separate species and is now critically endangered.

The word camel is derived via Latin: camelus and Greek: κάμηλος (kamēlos) from Hebrew or Phoenician: gāmāl. Used informally, "camel" (or, more correctly, "camelid") refers to any of the seven members of the family Camelidae: the dromedary, the Bactrian, and the wild Bactrian (the true camels), plus the llama, the alpaca, the guanaco, and the vicuña (the "New World" camelids).

The dromedary (C. dromedarius), also known as the Arabian camel, inhabits the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, while the Bactrian (C. bactrianus) inhabits Central Asia, including the historical region of Bactria. The critically endangered wild Bactrian (C. ferus) is found only in remote areas of northwest China and Mongolia. An extinct species of camel

in the separate genus Camelops, known as C. hesternus, lived in western North America until humans entered the continent at the end of the Pleistocene.

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus (; before 31 October 1451 – 20 May 1506) was an Italian explorer, navigator, and colonist who completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain. He led the first European expeditions to the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, initiating the permanent European colonization of the Americas. Columbus discovered the viable sailing route to the Americas, a continent which was not then known to the Old World. While what he thought he had discovered was a route to the Far East, he is credited with the opening of the Americas for conquest and settlement by Europeans.

Columbus's early life is somewhat obscure, but scholars generally agree that he was born in the Republic of Genoa and spoke a dialect of Ligurian as his first language. He went to sea at a young age and travelled widely, as far north as the British Isles (and possibly Iceland) and as far south as what is now Ghana. He married a Portuguese woman and was based in Lisbon for several years, but later took a Spanish mistress; he had one son with each woman. Though largely self-educated, Columbus was widely read in geography, astronomy, and history. He formulated a plan to seek a western sea passage to the East Indies, hoping to profit from the lucrative spice trade.

After years of lobbying, the Catholic Monarchs of Spain agreed to sponsor a journey west, in the name of the Crown of Castile. Columbus left Spain in August 1492 with three ships, and after a stopover in the Canary Islands made landfall in the Americas on 12 October (now celebrated as Columbus Day). His landing place was an island in the Bahamas, known by its native inhabitants as Guanahani; its exact location is uncertain. Columbus subsequently visited Cuba and Hispaniola, establishing a colony in what is now Haiti—the first European settlement in the Americas since the Norse colonies almost 500 years earlier. He arrived back in Spain in early 1493, bringing a number of captive natives with him. Word of his discoveries soon spread throughout Europe.

Columbus would make three further voyages to the New World, exploring the Lesser Antilles in 1493, Trinidad and the northern coast of South America in 1498, and the eastern coast of Central America in 1502. Many of the names he gave to geographical features—particularly islands—are still in use. He continued to seek a passage to the East Indies, and the extent to which he was aware that the Americas were a wholly separate landmass is uncertain; he gave the name indios ("Indians") to the indigenous peoples he encountered. Columbus's strained relationship with the Spanish crown and its appointed colonial administrators in America led to his arrest and removal from Hispaniola in 1500, and later to protracted litigation over the benefits that he and his heirs claimed were owed to them by the crown.

Columbus's expeditions inaugurated a period of exploration, conquest, and colonization that lasted for centuries, helping create the modern Western world. The transfers between the Old World and New World that followed his first voyage are known as the Columbian exchange, and the period of human habitation in the Americas prior to his arrival is known as the Pre-Columbian era. Columbus's legacy continues to be debated. He was widely venerated in the centuries after his death, but public perceptions have changed as recent scholars have given attention to negative aspects of his life, such as his role in the extinction of the Taíno people, his promotion of slavery, and allegations of tyranny towards Spanish colonists. Many landmarks and institutions in the Western Hemisphere bear his name, including the country of Colombia.

Columbian exchange

The Columbian exchange, also known as the Columbian interchange, named for Christopher Columbus, was the widespread transfer of plants, animals, culture, human populations, technology, and ideas between the Americas, West Africa, and the Old World in the 15th and 16th centuries. It also relates to European colonization and trade following Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage. Invasive species, including communicable diseases, were a byproduct of the Exchange. The changes in agriculture significantly altered and changed global populations. The most significant immediate impact of the Columbian exchange was the cultural exchanges and the transfer of people (both free and enslaved) between continents.

The new contact between the global population circulated a wide variety of crops and livestock, which supported increases in population in both hemispheres, although diseases initially caused precipitous declines in the numbers of indigenous peoples of the Americas. Traders returned to Europe with maize, potatoes, and tomatoes, which became very important crops in Europe by the 18th century.

The term was first used in 1972 by American historian Alfred W. Crosby in his environmental history book The Columbian Exchange. It was rapidly adopted by other historians and journalists and has become widely known.


A dystopia (from the Greek δυσ- "bad" and τόπος "place"; alternatively, cacotopia, kakotopia, or simply anti-utopia) is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. It is translated as "not-good place" and is an antonym of utopia, a term that was coined by Sir Thomas More and figures as the title of his best known work, Utopia, published 1516, a blueprint for an ideal society with minimal crime, violence and poverty.

Dystopian societies appear in many fictional works and artistic representations particularly in stories set in the future. Some of the most famous examples are George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, tyrannical governments, environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society. Dystopian societies appear in many sub-genres of fiction and are often used to draw attention to society, environment, politics, economics, religion, psychology, ethics, science or technology. Some authors use the term to refer to existing societies, many of which are or have been totalitarian states or societies in an advanced state of collapse.

Some scholars, such as Gregory Claeys and Lyman Tower Sargent, make certain distinctions between typical synonyms of dystopias. For example, Claeys and Sargent define literary dystopias as societies imagined as substantially worse than the society in which the author writes, whereas anti-utopias function as criticisms of attempts to implement various concepts of utopia.

Indigenous peoples of the Americas

The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the Pre-Columbian peoples of North, Central and South America and their descendants.

Although some indigenous peoples of the Americas were traditionally hunter-gatherers—and many, especially in the Amazon basin, still are—many groups practiced aquaculture and agriculture. The impact of their agricultural endowment to the world is a testament to their time and work in reshaping and cultivating the flora indigenous to the Americas. Although some societies depended heavily on agriculture, others practiced a mix of farming, hunting and gathering. In some regions the indigenous peoples created monumental architecture, large-scale organized cities, city-states, chiefdoms, states, kingdoms and empires. Among these are the Aztec, Inca and Maya states that until the 16th century were among the most politically and socially advanced nations in the world. They had a vast knowledge of engineering, architecture, mathematics, astronomy, writing, physics, medicine, planting and irrigation, geology, mining, sculpture and goldsmithing.

Many parts of the Americas are still populated by indigenous peoples; some countries have sizable populations, especially Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Greenland, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru and the United States. At least a thousand different indigenous languages are spoken in the Americas. Some, such as the Quechuan languages, Aymara, Guaraní, Mayan languages and Nahuatl, count their speakers in millions. Many also maintain aspects of indigenous cultural practices to varying degrees, including religion, social organization and subsistence practices. Like most cultures, over time, cultures specific to many indigenous peoples have evolved to incorporate traditional aspects but also cater to modern needs. Some indigenous peoples still live in relative isolation from Western culture and a few are still counted as uncontacted peoples.

Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The group reports a worldwide membership of approximately 8.58 million adherents involved in evangelism and an annual Memorial attendance of over 20 million. Jehovah's Witnesses are directed by the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, a group of elders in Warwick, New York, which establishes all doctrines based on its interpretations of the Bible. They believe that the destruction of the present world system at Armageddon is imminent, and that the establishment of God's kingdom over the earth is the only solution for all problems faced by humanity.The group emerged from the Bible Student movement founded in the late 1870s by Charles Taze Russell, who also co-founded Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society in 1881 to organize and print the movement's publications. A leadership dispute after Russell's death resulted in several groups breaking away, with Joseph Franklin Rutherford retaining control of the Watch Tower Society and its properties. Rutherford made significant organizational and doctrinal changes, including adoption of the name Jehovah's witnesses in 1931 to distinguish them from other Bible Student groups and symbolize a break with the legacy of Russell's traditions.Jehovah's Witnesses are best known for their door-to-door preaching, distributing literature such as The Watchtower and Awake!, and refusing military service and blood transfusions. They consider the use of God's name vital for proper worship. They reject Trinitarianism, inherent immortality of the soul, and hellfire, which they consider to be unscriptural doctrines. They do not observe Christmas, Easter, birthdays or other holidays and customs they consider to have pagan origins incompatible with Christianity. They prefer to use their own Bible translation, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, although their literature occasionally quotes and cites other Bible translations. Adherents commonly refer to their body of beliefs as "The Truth" and consider themselves to be "in the Truth". They consider secular society to be morally corrupt and under the influence of Satan, and most limit their social interaction with non-Witnesses. Congregational disciplinary actions include disfellowshipping, their term for formal expulsion and shunning. Baptized individuals who formally leave are considered disassociated and are also shunned. Disfellowshipped and disassociated individuals may eventually be reinstated if deemed repentant.The group's position regarding conscientious objection to military service and refusal to salute national flags has brought it into conflict with some governments. Consequently, some Jehovah's Witnesses have been persecuted and their activities are banned or restricted in some countries. Persistent legal challenges by Jehovah's Witnesses have influenced legislation related to civil rights in several countries.The organization has received criticism regarding biblical translation, doctrines, and alleged coercion of its members. The Watch Tower Society has made various unfulfilled predictions about major biblical events such as Christ's Second Coming, the advent of God's Kingdom, and Armageddon. Their policies for handling cases of child sexual abuse have been the subject of various formal inquiries.


Monkey is a common name that may refer to groups or species of mammals, in part, the simians of infraorder Simiiformes. The term is applied descriptively to groups of primates, such as families of new world monkeys and old world monkeys, yet can exclude the hominoids, also referred to as apes. Many monkey species are tree-dwelling (arboreal), although there are species that live primarily on the ground, such as baboons. Most species are also active during the day (diurnal). Monkeys are generally considered to be intelligent, especially the old world monkeys of Catarrhini.

Simians and tarsiers emerged within haplorrhines some 60 million years ago. New World monkeys and catarrhine monkeys emerged within the simians some 35 million years ago. Old World monkeys and Hominoidea emerged within the catarrhine monkeys some 25 million years ago. Extinct basal simians such as Aegyptopithecus or Parapithecus [35-32 million years ago], eosimiidea and sometimes even the Catarrhini group are also considered monkeys by primatologists.Lemurs, lorises, and galagos are not monkeys; instead they are strepsirrhine primates. Like monkeys, tarsiers are haplorhine primates; however, they are also not monkeys.

Apes emerged within the catarrhines with the Old World monkeys as a sister group, so cladistically they are monkeys as well. Traditionally apes were not considered monkeys, rendering this grouping paraphyletic.

Monroe Doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine was a United States policy of opposing European colonialism in the Americas beginning in 1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to take control of any independent state in North or South America would be viewed as "the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States." At the same time, the doctrine noted that the U.S. would recognize and not interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries. The Doctrine was issued on December 2, 1823 at a time when nearly all Latin American colonies of Spain and Portugal had achieved, or were at the point of gaining, independence from the Portuguese and Spanish Empires.

President James Monroe first stated the doctrine during his seventh annual State of the Union Address to Congress. The term "Monroe Doctrine" itself was coined in 1850. By the end of the 19th century, Monroe's declaration was seen as a defining moment in the foreign policy of the United States and one of its longest-standing tenets. It would be invoked by many U.S. statesmen and several U.S. presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan.

The intent and impact of the Monroe Doctrine persisted with only small variations for more than a century. Its stated objective was to free the newly independent colonies of Latin America from European intervention and avoid situations which could make the New World a battleground for the Old World powers, so that the U.S. could exert its own influence undisturbed. The doctrine asserted that the New World and the Old World were to remain distinctly separate spheres of influence, for they were composed of entirely separate and independent nations.After 1898, Latin American lawyers and intellectuals reinterpreted the Monroe doctrine in terms of multilateralism and non-intervention. In 1933, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the U.S. went along with the new reinterpretation, especially in terms of the Organization of American States.The U.S. government feared the victorious European powers that emerged from the Congress of Vienna (1814–1815) would revive the monarchical government. France had already agreed to restore the Spanish monarchy in exchange for Cuba. As the revolutionary Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) ended, Prussia, Austria, and Russia formed the Holy Alliance to defend monarchism. In particular, the Holy Alliance authorized military incursions to re-establish Bourbon rule over Spain and its colonies, which were establishing their independence.Great Britain shared the general objective of the Monroe Doctrine, albeit from an opposite standpoint and ultimate aim, and even wanted to declare a joint statement to keep other European powers from further colonizing the New World. The British Foreign Secretary George Canning wanted to keep the other European powers out of the New World fearing that its trade with the New World would be harmed if the other European powers further colonized it. In fact, for many years after the Monroe Doctrine took effect, Britain, through the Royal Navy, was the sole nation enforcing it, the U.S. lacking sufficient naval capability. Allowing Spain to re-establish control of its former colonies would have cut Great Britain off from its profitable trade with the region. For that reason, Canning proposed to the U.S. that they mutually declare and enforce a policy of separating the New World from the Old. The U.S. resisted a joint statement because of the recent memory of the War of 1812, leading to the Monroe administration's unilateral statement.

However, the immediate provocation was the Russian Ukase of 1821 asserting rights to the Pacific Northwest and forbidding non-Russian ships from approaching the coast.

New World Order (conspiracy theory)

The New World Order or NWO is claimed to be an emerging clandestine totalitarian world government by various conspiracy theories.The common theme in conspiracy theories about a New World Order is that a secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government—which will replace sovereign nation-states—and an all-encompassing propaganda whose ideology hails the establishment of the New World Order as the culmination of history's progress. Many influential historical and contemporary figures have therefore been purported to be part of a cabal that operates through many front organizations to orchestrate significant political and financial events, ranging from causing systemic crises to pushing through controversial policies, at both national and international levels, as steps in an ongoing plot to achieve world domination.Before the early 1990s, New World Order conspiracism was limited to two American countercultures, primarily the militantly anti-government right and secondarily that part of fundamentalist Christianity concerned with the end-time emergence of the Antichrist. Skeptics such as Michael Barkun and Chip Berlet observed that right-wing populist conspiracy theories about a New World Order had not only been embraced by many seekers of stigmatized knowledge but had seeped into popular culture, thereby inaugurating a period during the late 20th and early 21st centuries in the United States where people are actively preparing for apocalyptic millenarian scenarios. Those political scientists are concerned that mass hysteria over New World Order conspiracy theories could eventually have devastating effects on American political life, ranging from escalating lone-wolf terrorism to the rise to power of authoritarian ultranationalist demagogues.

New World Pictures

New World Pictures (also known as New World Entertainment and New World Communications Group, Inc.) was an American independent production, distribution and (in its final years as an autonomous entity) multimedia company. It was founded in 1970 by Roger Corman as New World Pictures, Ltd.: a producer and distributor of motion pictures, eventually expanding into television production in 1984. New World eventually expanded into broadcasting with the acquisition of seven television stations in 1993, with the broadcasting unit expanding through additional purchases made during 1994.

20th Century Fox (then owned by News Corporation), controlled by Rupert Murdoch, became a major investor in 1994 and purchased the company outright in 1997; the alliance with Murdoch, particularly through a group affiliation agreement with New World reached between the two companies in May 1994, helped to cement the Fox network as the fourth major U.S. television network.

Although effectively defunct, it – along with various regional subsidiaries (i.e. "New World Communications of Tampa") – continues to exist as holding companies within the complex 21st Century Fox corporate structure.

Old World

The term "Old World" is used commonly in the West to refer to Africa, Asia and Europe (Afro-Eurasia or the World Island), regarded collectively as the part of the world known to its population before contact with the Americas and Oceania (the "New World"). It is used in the context of, and contrasts with, the New World (the Americas and Oceania).


A peccary (also javelina or skunk pig) is a medium-sized pig-like hoofed mammal of the family Tayassuidae (New World pigs). They are found throughout Central and South America and in the southwestern area of North America. Peccaries usually measure between 90 and 130 cm (3.0 and 4.3 ft) in length, and a full-grown adult usually weighs about 20 to 40 kg (44 to 88 lb).

Peccaries, native to the Americas, are often confused with the pig family that originated in Afro-Eurasia, since some domestic pigs brought by European settlers have escaped over the years and their descendants are now feral "razorback" hogs in many parts of the US.In many countries, especially in the developing world, they are kept as pets, in addition to being raised on farms as a source of food.


Porcupines are rodents with a coat of sharp spines, or quills, that protect against predators. The term covers two families of animals, the Old World porcupines of family Hystricidae, and the New World porcupines of family Erethizontidae. Both families belong to the infraorder Hystricognathi within the profoundly diverse order Rodentia and display superficially similar coats of quills: despite this, the two groups are distinct from each other and are not closely related to each other within the Hystricognathi.

The Old World porcupines live in southern Europe, Asia (western and southern), and most of Africa. They are large, terrestrial, and strictly nocturnal. In taxonomic terms, they form the family Hystricidae.

The New World porcupines are indigenous to North America and northern South America. They live in wooded areas and can climb trees, where some species spend their entire lives. They are less strictly nocturnal than their Old World relatives, and generally smaller. In taxonomic terms, they form the family Erethizontidae.

Most porcupines are about 60–90 cm (25–36 in) long, with an 20–25 cm (8–10 in) long tail. Weighing 5–16 kg (12–35 lb), they are rounded, large, and slow, and use aposematic strategy of defense. Porcupines occur in various shades of brown, gray, and white. Porcupines' spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated erinaceomorph hedgehogs and Australian monotreme echidnas.


A primate ( (listen) PRY-mayt) (from Latin primat-, from primus: "prime, first rank") is a mammalian animal constituting the taxonomic order Primates. Primates arose 55–85 million years ago from small terrestrial mammals (Primatomorpha), who adapted to living in the trees of tropical forests: many primate characteristics represent adaptations to life in this challenging environment, including large brains, visual acuity, color vision, altered shoulder girdle, and dexterous hands. Primates range in size from Madame Berthe's mouse lemur, which weighs 30 g (1 oz), to the eastern gorilla, weighing over 200 kg (440 lb). There are 190–448 species of living primates, depending on which classification is utilized. New primate species continue to be discovered: over 25 species were described in the first decade of the 2000's, and eleven since 2010.

Primates are divided into two distinct suborders (see diagram under History of terminology). The first is the strepsirrhines (from Greek "wet-nosed") - lemurs, galagos, and lorisids. (The colloquial names ending in "-nosed" actually refer to the rhinarium of the primate.) The second is haplorhines - the "dry-nosed" primates (from Greek "simple-nosed") - tarsiers, monkeys, and apes, the latter including humans. Simians (infraorder Simiiformes, from Greek simos "flat-nosed") are monkeys and apes, cladistically including: the catarrhines (from Latin "narrow nosed") consisting of the Old World monkeys and apes; and the platyrrhines (from Latin "flat-nosed"): this division occurred about 60 million years ago. Forty million years ago, simians from Africa migrated to South America, presumably by drifting on debris, and gave rise to the New World monkeys. Twenty five million years ago the remaining Old World simians (catarrhines) split into apes and Old World monkeys. Common names for the simians are the (Old World) baboons, macaques, gibbons, and great apes; and the (New World) capuchins, howlers and squirrel monkeys.

Primates are characterized by large brains (relative to body size) compared to other mammals, as well as an increased reliance on visual acuity at the expense of the sense of smell, which is the dominant sensory system in most mammals. These features are more developed in monkeys and apes, and noticeably less so in lorises and lemurs. Trichromatism, three independent channels for conveying color information, is present in some primates. Except for apes, primates have tails. Most primates also have opposable thumbs. Many species are sexually dimorphic; differences may include muscle mass, fat distribution, pelvic width, canine tooth size, hair distribution, and coloration. Primates have slower rates of development than other similarly sized mammals, reach maturity later, and have longer lifespans. Depending on the species, adults may live in solitude, in mated pairs, or in groups of up to hundreds of members. Some primates, including some great apes (gorillas and humans) and baboons, are primarily terrestrial rather than arboreal; but all species possess adaptations for climbing trees. Arboreal locomotion techniques used include leaping from tree to tree, and swinging between branches of trees (brachiation); terresterial locomotion techniques include walking on two limbs (bipedalism) and modified walking on four limbs (knuckle-walking).

Primates are among the most social of animals, forming pairs or family groups, uni-male harems, and multi-male/multi-female groups. Non-human primates have at four types of social systems, many defined by the amount of movement by adolescent females occurring between groups. Most primate species remain at least partly arboreal: the exceptions are some great apes, baboons - and humans, who left the trees for the ground and now inhabit every continent.

Close interactions between humans and non-human primates (NHPs) can create opportunities for the transmission of zoonotic diseases, especially diseases caused by viruses, including herpes, measles, ebola, rabies, and hepatitis. Thousands of non-human primates are used around the world in research because of their psychological and physiological similarity to humans. About 60% of primate species are threatened with extinction. Common threats include deforestation, forest fragmentation, monkey drives, and primate hunting for use in medicines, as pets, and for food. Large-scale tropical forest clearing for agriculture most threatens primates.

Spanish colonization of the Americas

The overseas expansion under the Crown of Castile was initiated under the royal authority and first accomplished by the Spanish conquistadors. The Americas were incorporated into the Spanish Empire, with the exception of Brazil, Canada, and several other small countries in South America and The Caribbean. The crown created civil and religious structures to administer the region. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Catholic faith through indigenous conversions.

Beginning with the 1492 arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean and continuing control of vast territory for over three centuries, the Spanish Empire would expand across the Caribbean Islands, half of South America, most of Central America and much of North America (including present day Mexico, Florida and the Southwestern and Pacific Coastal regions of the United States). It is estimated that during the colonial period (1492–1832), a total of 1.86 million Spaniards settled in the Americas and a further 3.5 million immigrated during the post-colonial era (1850–1950); the estimate is 250,000 in the 16th century, and most during the 18th century as immigration was encouraged by the new Bourbon Dynasty. In contrast, the indigenous population plummeted by an estimated 80% in the first century and a half following Columbus's voyages, primarily through the spread of Afro-Eurasian diseases. This has been argued to be the first large-scale act of genocide in the modern era, although this claim is largely disputed due to the unintended nature of the disease introduction, which is considered a byproduct of Columbian exchange. Racial mixing was a central process in the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and ultimately led to the Latin American identity, which combines Hispanic and native American ethnicities.

Spain enjoyed a cultural golden age in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when silver and gold from American mines increasingly financed a long series of European and North African wars. Spanish wars of conquest included laying waste to much of the Netherlands and a failed attempt to invade England. In the early 19th century, the Spanish American wars of independence resulted in the secession and subsequent balcanization of most Spanish colonies in the Americas, except for Cuba and Puerto Rico, which were finally given up in 1898, following the Spanish–American War, together with Guam and the Philippines in the Pacific. Spain's loss of these last territories politically ended the Spanish rule in the Americas.

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