At about 2:00 in the morning of 12 October, a lookout on the Pinta, Rodrigo de Triana, spotted land, and immediately alerted the rest of the crew with a shout. Thereupon, the captain of the Pinta, Martín Alonso Pinzón, verified the discovery and alerted Columbus by firing a gunshot.
Columbus called the island San Salvador; the natives called it Guanahani. Exactly which island this corresponds to is unresolved. The prime candidates are San Salvador Island, Samana Cay, and Plana Cays.
Columbus later maintained that he himself had already seen a light on the land a few hours earlier, thereby claiming for himself the lifetime pension promised by Ferdinand and Isabella to the first person to sight land.
The New World is one of the names used for the the Americas, a term which was coined by Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci. The term originated in the 16th century after Europeans made landfall in what would later be called the Americas in the age of discovery. The terms Old World vs. New World are meaningful in historical context.