Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian explorer, cartographer and navigator, best known for naming the North American continent with a slight variation of his first name and for proving the fact that New World is not part of an Asia but a new continent.
He was born in Florence, Italy in 1454 where he worked for the famous Medici family as a banker. In 1492, he moved to Spain, and few years later in 1458 king Manuel I of Portugal invited him to be part of a crew that will explore the Indian Ocean. Historical records of his journeys to the New World are not completely accurate, there is speculation of four but only two are completely verified.
On that journey under the leadership of Captain Alonso de Ojeda flotilla of ships separated in two parts, and Vespucci headed to the west toward the Brazil. There he discovered mouth of the great Amazon River. On a next expedition, he was elected to be a leader and they discovered that land of South America extended far more to the south than they have previously thought. On his way back, he passed near the rivers of Trinidad and Orinoco.
In 1501, he embarked on his last journey that was lead by the Portuguese explorer Gonçalo Coelho. Again, they explored the land of South America reaching the bay of Rio de Janeiro. During that time, he observed that Americas land size is way bigger than previous estimates and that these lands must be considered to be a fourth continent.
During his voyages, he mapped several charts of the nigh sky seen from the southern hemisphere, most notably constellation Southern Cross as well as the Alpha and Beta Centauri. Publication about his journeys released around 1503 made him very popular in Europe, and few years later German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller made a map of Vespucci’s journeys in witch for the first time he named the newfound continent America. Christopher Columbus wrote several times about Vespucci, and he never objected to the naming of the new continent.
Popularity of his journeys made him one of the most important explorers of that time and in 1508, King Ferdinand named him the chief navigator of Spain with the responsibility to coordinate and plan Spain’s naval ship exploration of the Indies and the New World. He also founded first school of navigation with duties to standardize navigation techniques used by naval captains of that time.
He died in Spain on February 22, 1512 at the age of 57.
|Known As (Other Names)||Américo Vespucio, Americus Vespucius, Américo Vespúcio, Alberigo Vespucci|
|Born||March 9, 1454|
|Place of Birth||Florence, Republic of Florence, in present-day Italy|
|Died||February 22, 1512|
|Place of Death||Seville, Crown of Castile, in present-day Spain|
|Category (Occupation/Profession)||Merchant, Explorer, Cartographer|
|Education||Monastery of San Marco|
|Known For||Demonstrating that the New World was not Asia but a previously unknown fourth continent.|
|Famous Expedition(s)||Exploration the east coast of South America|
|Parent(s)||Ser Nastagio, Lisabetta Mini|