Amerigo Vespucci


Vespucci was the one person for whom North and South America was named after. Vespucci had a wonderful life and
found many things on his voyages. Amerigo Vespucci was born
in Florence, Italy in March of 1451, and grew up in a
considerable mansion near the river. As a young boy,
Amerigo's happiest moments studying the stars. He excelled
in mathematics and his hobby was copying maps. His dream as
a young boy was to travel and get a better picture about
what the Earth looked like. Amerigo spent half of his life
as a business man hoping to strike it rich so he could
explore. Amerigo was the third son, there were two older
brothers, Antonio and Girolamo, the youngest was Bernardo.
The parents were Stagio and Elisabetta Vespucci. Italy, at
this time was not yet a civilized country. Italy was a
bunch of city- states each self governed and looking for
money for it's own purposes and not for the benefit of the
country. Florence, where Amerigo was born and grew up, was
in the city-state governed by the powerful Medici family.
Later in Vespucci's life he ends up working for this family
helping govern the city-state. Italy, at this time was not
a good country as it is today. In 1492 Vespucci left
Florence for Seville, Spain because Italy had the monopoly
and didn't need, or want, exploration. Well into his
forties, around 1495, Vespucci became the director of a
ship company that supplied ships for long voyages. This was
the first opportunity Vespucci had to make voyages and he
was very happy about this, therefore he was only looking
for "new worlds" to discover and not money or rewards for
finding exotic places. In 1497 Vespucci said that he went
on a voyage to the "New World." Little is known about this
because there was not much evidence to support that he
actually made this voyage such as: journals, maps they
used, or any crew members journals about what happened. He
was said to be back in 1498. Later on down the road, after
this journey was said to take place people began to doubt
this and Columbus became known as the founder of the "New
World" even though he thought he was in India.
In 1499 Vespucci was said to have made his second voyage
with Alonso de Ojeda as the captain. This voyage could be
backed by a great deal of evidence and is supposed to have
occurred. The watchman finally did spot land, the Cape Verde Islands, and this is the first time anyone has been
purposely to the "New World." On this first journey
Vespucci explored the north eastern coast of South America
and also came in contact with Cuba, Hispaniola, and the
Bahaman Islands. Vespucci got back to Spain in 1500 and
told everyone about his findings of the land and the
people. On May 19, 1501 Vespucci left from the ports of
the sponsoring Spain on his third voyage. On this voyage
Vespucci was second in charge behind Gonocalo Coelho,
another one of Spains' explorers. They explored on this
expedition the Cape Santo Agostinho at the shoulder of
present day Brazil. This voyage was one of the less
successful because they explored only limited water area.
 On the fourth, and last, voyage Vespucci explored more of
South America.
In 1503, on this journey, led by Amerigo Vespuccci himself,
the captain and crew explored the south eastern side of
South America. They ran along the coast and visited such
places as Cape Soo Roque, Guanabara Bay, Rio de la Plata,
Cape Santo Agostinho, San Julian and spotted the Falkland
Islands. His crew returned back to Spain in 1504 and told
their story to mapmakers to put on the maps. After the
findings of the "New World" a mapmaker suggested they call
it America, after the knowing founder. Martin Waldseemuller
a German mapmaker was one of the first to believe that
Vespucci was the first European to reach the "New World."
In 1507, he suggested they call it America and soon this
name was used throughout and eventually used officially in
the naming of the continent.
 Vespucci left a controversy when he died saying that he
did not make the voyage that started in 1497. Today
scholars still doubt that Vespucci made the voyage.
Vespucci also claimed, in his writings, that he captioned
all the journeys himself when he only captained one of the
four reported expedition. The results to Vespucci's
findings was that North and South America were named after
him, and back in the late 1400's and the early 1500's they
would know that there was a "New World" out there and they
didn't have to go on believing that Asia was just beyond
the horizon and that in reality there was two of the
biggest continents in the way of their destination, Asia.
1. Baker, Nina
Amerigo Vespucci

McCelland & Stewart Limited Canada, 1956 2. World Book Encyclopedia 1985 Vol. 29 (V) p.p. 274 3. Bohler, Richard World Explorers and Discovers Mac Millan Publishing Company New York, 1992 p.p. 439-441

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