Amerigo Vespucci

Namesake of America

Amerigo Vespucci

Born on March 9, 1451, a Florentine explorer. Discovered America after everyone else, but still got to put his name on it.

Explorations

  • On May 10, 1497 Vespucci left from Cadiz with Spanish ships (according to a letter he may or may not of written) In his letter it said he left from Cadiz and traveled through the West Indies and also traveled into the center of America in around a 5 week time period. If the letter is true, then Vespucci discovered America roughly a year before Columbus. They got back around October 1498.
  • His second trip started in May of 1499. He was a navigator under the command of Alonzo de Guyana. They traveled Guyana’s coast, where apparently Vespucci left his commander to explore Brazil, there he discovered the Amazon River and Cape St. Augustine.
  • The third trip was to Cape Verde happening in May of 1501. He took this trip for King Manuel I of Portugal. This trip was his most successful. He didn’t start off in command, but some Portuguese officers asked him to and he agreed. His ships sailed along the coast of South America from Cap Sao Roque to Patagonia. They discovered Rio de Janeiro and Rio de la Plata. He thought he discovered a new continent, but in reality he only traveled to South America.
  • June 10, 1503, Vespucci and Gonzal Coelho came back to Brazil. He ended up finding Bahia and the island of South Georgia.
  • Some historians believe that he made 2 more trips that were both to Juan De La Cosa in 1505 and 1507, others believe that his fourth trip was his last. (1)
How America Got Its Name

Did this actually happen?

For sure, Vespucci did explore America, but there’s tons of arguements saying that he wasn’t the one who actually found it first. (We were taught that Christopher Columbus was the one who originally found it, but now we know that Leif Ericsson was here way before anyone else.) (2)
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"Martin Waldseemüller's 1507 map was the first to use the word "America." Waldseemüller had proposed naming the newly discovered continents after the Italian explorer." (3)