Amerigo Vespucci was born March 9th, 1454 in Florence which at the time was the Republic of Florence. It is now present day Italy. Vespucci, like Christopher Columbus, was an Italian explorer but sailed under a different flag. He was also a merchant and cartographer which is also known as a mapmaker. He was the third son of Ser Anastasio but his father was not present for most of his childhood and he was raised by his uncle in the Republic of Florence.
Life and Discoveries
- Christopher Columbus said that Vespucci was a man whom fortune had shined on him unfavorably. He had many talents and accomplished much but was never rewarded for them. He wrote that in the early 1500s and by the time 1510 had come fortune had shown on him.
- Vespucci was elevated to the position of chief of navigation in Spain. In this position he would organize the various expeditions for Spain to the Indies. He was given a huge salary.
- King Manuel I of Portugal hired Vespucci to be an observer. He would participate in many voyages that would explore the coast of what we now know to be South America.
- Amerigo Vespucci is often recognized as the man whom America got its name. This happened in 1507 when Martin Waldseemuller drew up a world map and labeled the “Indies” as two new continents and called them America, after Amerigo. This was due to two controversial letters in which Amerigo talks of the two new continents. Many at the time believed this was Amerigo’s attempt to upstage Christopher Columbus, but evidence actually suggests that it may have been fabricated letters.
- Amerigo Vespucci died February 22nd, 1512 of an unknown cause.