The large land mass in the Western Hemisphere consisting of northern and southern continents originally connected by an isthmus, but now separated by the Panama Canal. Although discovered by Christopher Columbus, America is named for Amerigo Vespucci who first recognized it as a new continent. The term America is often used loosely to designate the United States of America.
America, a ship-rigged whaler, was purchased by the Navy at New Bedford, Mass., on 8 November 1861 as part of its "Stone Fleet." Filled with stones, she was sailed to Charleston, S.C., and sunk at the harbor mouth on 19 and 20 December 1861 to block the channel into that Confederate port.