Amerigo Vespucci

Italian explorer, financier, navigator, and cartographer

Background

Amerigo Vespucci was born and raised in Florence, Italy. He sailed out of invitation of king Manuel l of Portugal and under the Portuguese flag. On May 10, 1497, he embarked on his first voyage and sailed through the West Indies and made their way to the mainland of Central America. In May of 1499, he embarked on his next expedition as a navigator. He crossed equator and explored the coast of Brazil and found the Amazon River and Cape St. Augustine. On May 14, 1501, he sailed on his third voyage that sailed along the coast of South America from Cape Sao Roque to Pantagonia. He discovered present-day Rio de Janeiro and Rio de la Plata. On June 10, 1503, he sailed back to Brazil but didn't make any new discoveries ending his fourth voyage. Amerigo died February 22, 1512. Amerigo Vespucci helped discover the New World (America). He was also the first person to set foot in Brazil. They named the second super-continent "America", deriving its name from Americus, the Latin version of Vespucci's first name.

More Background on Vespucci

Amerigo Vespucci was the third son in a cultured family. He became a natural citizen of Spain in 1505. His parents were Ser Nastagio and Lisabetta Mini and they were friends of the wealthy and tempestuous Medici family, who ruled Italy from the 1400s to 1737. His father worked as a notary in Florence. He received early education from his paternal uncle. He was married to a woman named Maria de Cerezo. He educated in physics, geometry, and astronomy. He was very smart. In his early 20s, his other uncle Guido Antonio Vespucci gave him one of his very first jobs. His uncle, who was an ambassador of Florence under King Louis Xl of France, sent his nephew on a brief mission to Paris. This trip awakened his fascination of travel and exploration. Even though he greatly contributed to history, he is almost always overshadowed by Christopher Columbus.
Mini Bio: Amerigo Vespucci