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Issues in Dermatology
June 2001

The Rediscovery of Previously Described Dermatoses

Arch Dermatol. 2001;137(6):715-718. doi:10-1001/pubs.Arch Dermatol.-ISSN-0003-987x-137-6-did00002

Who discovered America? By some accounts, it was Christopher Columbus, who left Palos, Spain, on August 3, 1492, and dropped anchor off the coast of Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, not far from Haiti, on October 12 of the same year. Other historians, paleographers, and polemicists offer different accounts based on literary and archeological evidence suggesting that first the Phoenicians and later the Vikings arrived on these coasts and discovered the New World well before Genoa's maritime genius. Even assuming these latter accounts are true, we cannot ignore the outstanding achievements of Columbus: he introduced Europe to the new continent and initiated a new adventure in human endeavor, what have come to be known as "modern times." Nevertheless, only a small part of the New World remains associated in name with this discoverer—Columbia. Place names have been unfair in that respect, and the name "America" was proposed to designate a quarter of the world in honor of Amerigo Vespucci, who made several expeditions to the lands discovered by Columbus and who succeeded him as the piloto mayor.1 "But what," you are no doubt asking yourself, "does this have to do with skin diseases?"

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