|The Amazon.com home page in 1999|
Amazon.com, also known simply as Amazon, was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos.
Bezos incorporated the company as "Cadabra" in 1994 as a play on the "magical" incantation "abracadabra." A year later, he changed the name because he was told it was heard as "cadaver" and a dead body is not a good association for a company.
Bezos also bought the domain relentless.com for possible use, but was told by friends it soiunded too sinister. and briefly considered naming his online store Relentless, but friends told him the name sounded a bit sinister.
The company went online as Amazon.com in 1995.
Bezos selected the name Amazon in a dictionary search wanting an "A" name that would be high on an alphabetized list (an old print phone book idea) and because the Amazon river was by far the "biggest" river in the world, and it matched his goal to be the biggest store in the world. The current logo features a curved "smile arrow" leading from A to Z, representing that the company carries every product from A to Z.
The Amazon River (originally called Río Santa María del Mar Dulce, or Mar Dulce, "sweet sea" because of its fresh water pushing out into the ocean) took on its current name from another Spanish explorer, Francisco de Orellana. He was the first European man to travel from the river's sources in the Andes to the end of the river. He used the name Amazonas because the natives that attacked his expedition were mostly women and he was reminded of the woman warriors, the Amazons, from Hellenic culture. The Amazons were real Scythian women who fought and later were mythologized by the Greeks.