Amerigo Vespucci

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{work, book, publish}
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{math, energy, light}
{service, military, aircraft}

Amerigo Vespucci (March 9, 1454 – February 22, 1512) was an Italian explorer, navigator and cartographer. The Americas are generally believed to have derived their name from the feminized Latin version of his first name.[1][2]



Amerigo Vespucci was born and brought up by his uncle in the Republic of Florence, in what is now Italy.

Vespucci worked for Lorenzo de' Medici and his son, Giovanni. In 1492 he was sent to work at the Seville, Spain branch of the Medici bank.

At the invitation of king Manuel I of Portugal, Vespucci participated as observer in several voyages that explored the east coast of South America between 1499 and 1502. Manuel's commander Pedro Álvares Cabral, on his way to the Cape of Good Hope and India in 1500, had discovered Brazil at latitude 16°52'S. Portugal claimed this land by the Treaty of Tordesillas, and the King wished to know whether it was merely an island or part of the continent that Spanish explorers had encountered further north.

Vespucci, having already been to the Brazilian shoulder, seemed the person best qualified to go as an observer with the new expedition Manuel was sending. Vespucci did not command at the start - the Portuguese captain was probably Gonçalo Coelho - but ultimately took charge at the request of the Portuguese officers. Vespucci, in all probability, voyaged to America at the time noted, but he did not have command and as yet had no practical experience piloting a ship. On the first of these voyages he was aboard the ship that discovered that South America extended much further south than previously thought.

The expeditions became widely known in Europe after two accounts attributed to Vespucci were published between 1502 and 1504. In 1507, Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the new continent America after Vespucci's first name, Amerigo. In an accompanying book, Waldseemüller published one of the Vespucci accounts, which led to criticism that Vespucci was trying to upset Christopher Columbus' glory. However, the rediscovery in the 18th century of other letters by Vespucci, primarily the Soderini Letter, has led to the view that the early published accounts could be fabrications, not by Vespucci, but by others.

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