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Why "America" instead of "United States of America"?

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This question may have already been asked, but I have always wondered why most unitedstatians call themselves "americans" and refer to their country as "america". To my knowledge, there are five continents: Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Spaniards refer to ourselves as Spanish and not Europeans.

I reckon that an Argentinian is as much American as a Canadian, Costa Rican or somebody from the USA. Moreover, and if there were 6 continents (North and South America as separated units), Canadians and Mexicans would also be Americans with the same rights to this name as those from the USA.

It puzzles many of us here in Europe, sorry, Spain. Any idea why the name has been appropriated in such an overwhelming way?

Regards,

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