U.S. or American?

Every time a U.S. release openly his “I’m American” or refer to their country as “America”, Latin Americans can not help but feel that something is twisted on the inside, isn’t it a little?

It bothers them and immediately comes to mind the idea, words, words less, that of course, the Americans believe they own the continent and self awarded the adjective, as if nothing existed from Mexico down.

The sad conclusion is that, yes, there is no mortal sin when Americans refer to themselves as Americans, for the simple reason that, like it or not, their country is called as our continent.

An example: the likeness of the United States of America, the official name of Mexico is the Mexican United States, and yet no one claims that Mexicans call themselves Americans.

In both cases, the United States element refers to its form of government, as well, another example, with the BolivarianRepublic of Venezuela, whose inhabitants we have never claimed to them that they do call themselves Republicans.

Also, it is not that every American represents the living embodiment of the spirit of “Uncle Sam” when he refers to himself as “American” but they do not have in their language another adjective that defines them other than that.

Of course in their dictionaries also American is defined as on the continent, but not in the first sense, which invariably refers to citizens of the United States of America.

It happens in reverse in Spanish dictionaries, where American is in the first instance, which is America, the continent, and then is the meaning of the U.S., meaning it can not be excluded by the reality that many Spanish also tell Americans

At best, in dictionaries of English synonyms are established as American-made Spanish words Yankee with a dismissive tone as Yankee or yank.

And considered as an adjective, ie, concerning United States or American has quality, can be used in addition to the two mentioned, stateside or, abbreviations U.S., United States, prefixed to the word.

But yes, to be clear: in Spanish, the correct adjective is American, and U.S. is considered valid. American and U.S. are inadmissible, but of course, there are long-established use expressions such as American football and dream. There’s nothing to do.

Now, lets we now go to the real issue: why, then, the United States adopted the same name as our continent?

Let’s start with the name of America, we already know that it comes from Amerigo Vespucci because it was he who found not the territory which we should merit Christopher Columbus, but the fact that it was a continent.

And although he was called Americo they ended up putting America to stay in tune with the names of the other continents, all feminized: Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Antarctica to consider for those also.

Clarifying the point, remember that part of the present territory of the country in question was known as the Thirteen British Colonies, which belonged to the UK until the late eighteenth century, when it became independent.

The Declaration of Independence was when first was established as the name of the United States of America: United States, for the form of government, and America as a geographical reference, in a context in which there was talk of countries, such as non-existent, but the continent.

Of course, when the Americans won their independence, busy thing, even had no idea that the rest of the American colonies (seen how naturally arises here America also as a reference?) Would follow suit regarding kingdoms such as Spain, Portugal and France

Half a century after the Monroe Doctrine would come, summarized in the phrase “America for Americans”, together with its multiple interpretations, imperialism and interventionist policy in the Americas.

But that, dear readers, is another story, make no mistake, it has nothing to do with the origin of place names in the United States of America.


The Spanish translation was provided in the February edition.

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