Amerigo Vespucci(redirected from Americus Vespucius)
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|Birthplace||Florence, Republic of Florence, in present-day Italy|
Merchant, Explorer, Cartographer
|Known for||Demonstrating that the New World was not Asia but a previously-unknown fourth continent.[a]|
See biographies by G. Arciniegas (tr. 1955), F. J. Pohl (1966), and F. Fernández-Armesto (2007); J. B. Thacher, The Continent of America (1971).
Born between 1451 and 1454 in Florence, Italy. Died Feb. 22, 1512, in Seville. A navigator.
For many years Vespucci was a petty clerk in the banking house of Medici and an agent of that firm in Seville. From May 1499 to September 1500 he was in the Spanish naval service and from the spring of 1501 to June 1504, in the Portuguese. Then he returned to Spain and from 1508 to 1512 held the post of pilot major in Castile. Between 1499 and 1504, Vespucci took part in several expeditions to the coasts of the New World. Vespucci’s letters about these travels became renowned and were republished several times between 1505 and 1510. The Lotharingian cartographer M. Waldseemüller ascribed the discovery of “one-fourth of the world,” made by Columbus, to Vespucci and proposed that the continent be named America in honor of Amerigo Vespucci. This name was soon generally accepted for South America, and on Mercator’s map of 1538 it was first applied to North America as well.
REFERENCESMagnaghi, A. Amerigo Vespucci. Rome, 1926.
Arciniegas, G. Amerigo y el Nuevo Mundo. Mexico City .