The Americas, or America, also known as the New World, are the combined continental landmasses of North America and South America, in the Western Hemisphere. Along with their associated islands, they cover 8.3% of the Earth's total surface area (28.4% of its land area). Since the Americas extend 14,000 km (8,700 mi) from north to south, the climate and ecology vary widely, from the arctic tundra of Northern Canada, Greenland, and Alaska, to the tropical rain forests in Central America and South America.
The earliest known use of the name America dates to April 25, 1507, where it was applied to what is now known as South America. It appears on a small globe map with twelve time zones, together with the largest wall map made to date; both created by the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller in France.These were the first maps to show the Americas as a land mass separate from Asia. An accompanying book, Cosmographiae Introductio states, “[…]that is, the South American mainland, after Americus who discovered it and who is a man of intelligence, Amerigen, that is, the Land of Americus, or America[…]". Americus Vespucius is the Latinized version of the Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci’s name, and America is the feminine form of Americus.