Amerigo Vespucci

By Kaleigh Davis

Amerigo Vespucci Famous Explorer

Amerigo Vespucci's Background

Amerigo Vespucci was born on March 9, 1451, in Florence, Italy. He was the third son in the family of Ser Nastagio and Lisabetta Mini. Amerigo's family was friends with the wealthy family, the Medici's, who ruled from the 1400s to 1737. He was born in Italy, but became a naturalized citizen of Spain in 1505. Amerigo recieved his early education from his paternal uncle, a Dominican friar named Giorgio Antonio Vespucci. In his early 20s, another uncle, Guido Antonio Vespucci, gave him one of the first of his many jobs. His uncle was an ambassador of Florence under King Louis XI of France. Amerigo's uncle sent him on a brief mission to Paris. That trip he took awakened his fascination with travel and exploration. He married Maria Cerezo in 1505.

Amerigo Vespucci's Achievements and Discoveries

America was named after Amerigo Vespucci. From 1499-1500 and sailing for Spain, Amerigo Vespucci was under the command of Alonso de Ojeda. On this trip, they discovered the Orinoco River and the Amazon River in South America. Amerigo and Alonso thought that the rivers were part of Asia. From 1501-1502 and sailing for Portugal, Amerigo mapped some parts of the eastern coast of South America, and realized that it was not part of Asia, but a new world! So, Christopher Columbus was the one who discovered America, but Amerigo Vespucci was the one who recognized that the land wasn't part of Asia, but a new world. John Lienhard from the University of Houston states, "All this leads us to ask, "Who really discovered America?" Was it the person who first found it or the person who first recognized it for what it was?"

Amerigo Vespucci's Impact on the World

Amerigo Vespucci was the first person to recognize America, so America was named after him. If he had not discovered that it was a new world, then today we might not have known where South America was. Also, if Amerigo had not recognized that South America was not part of Asia, then South America probably wouldn't be considered a continent. We might not have known what South America was. So now we know where and what South America is, thanks to Amerigo Vespucci!

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