Amerigo Vespucci

Vespucci was the one person for whom

North and South America was named after. Vespucci had a

wonderful life and found many things on his voyages.

Amerigo Vespucci was born in Florence, Italy in March of

1451, and grew up in a considerable mansion near the river.

As a young boy, Amerigo's happiest moments studying the

stars. He excelled in mathematics and his hobby was

copying maps. His dream as a young boy was to travel and

get a better picture about what the Earth looked like.

Amerigo spent half of his life as a business man hoping to

strike it rich so he could explore. Amerigo was the third son,

there were two older brothers, Antonio and Girolamo, the

youngest was Bernardo. The parents were Stagio and

Elisabetta Vespucci. Italy, at this time was not yet a civilized

country. Italy was a bunch of city- states each self governed

and looking for money for it's own purposes and not for the

benefit of the country. Florence, where Amerigo was born

and grew up, was in the city-state governed by the powerful

Medici family. Later in Vespucci's life he ends up working

for this family helping govern the city-state. Italy, at this time

was not a good country as it is today. In 1492 Vespucci left

Florence for Seville, Spain because Italy had the monopoly

and didn't need, or want, exploration. Well into his forties,

around 1495, Vespucci became the director of a ship

company that supplied ships for long voyages. This was the

first opportunity Vespucci had to make voyages and he was

very happy about this, therefore he was only looking for

"new worlds" to discover and not money or rewards for

finding exotic places. In 1497 Vespucci said that he went on

a voyage to the "New World." Little is known about this

because there was not much evidence to support that he

actually made this voyage such as: journals, maps they used,

or any crew members journals about what happened. He

was said to be back in 1498. Later on down the road, after

this journey was said to take place people began to doubt

this and Columbus became known as the founder of the

"New World" even though he thought he was in India. In

1499 Vespucci was said to have made his second voyage

with Alonso de Ojeda as the captain. This voyage could be

backed by a great deal of evidence and is supposed to have

occurred. The watchman finally did spot land, the Cape

Verde Islands, and this is the first time anyone has been

purposely to the "New World." On this first journey

Vespucci explored the north eastern coast of South America

and also came in contact with Cuba, Hispaniola, and the

Bahaman Islands. Vespucci got back to Spain in 1500 and

told everyone about his findings of the land and the people.

On May 19, 1501 Vespucci left from the ports of the

sponsoring Spain on his third voyage. On this voyage

Vespucci was second in charge behind Gonocalo Coelho,

another one of Spains' explorers. They explored on this

expedition the Cape Santo Agostinho at the shoulder of

present day Brazil. This voyage was one of the less

successful because they explored only limited water area.

On the fourth, and last, voyage Vespucci explored more of

South America. In 1503, on this journey, led by Amerigo

Vespuccci himself, the captain and crew explored the south

eastern side of South America. They ran along the coast and

visited such places as Cape Soo Roque, Guanabara Bay,

Rio de la Plata, Cape Santo Agostinho, San Julian and

spotted the Falkland Islands. His crew returned back to

Spain in 1504 and told their story to mapmakers to put on

the maps. After the findings of the "New World" a

mapmaker suggested they call it America, after the knowing

founder. Martin Waldseemuller a German mapmaker was

one of the first to believe that Vespucci was the first

European to reach the "New World." In 1507, he suggested

they call it America and soon this name was used throughout

and eventually used officially in the naming of the continent.

Vespucci left a controversy when he died saying that he did

not make the voyage that started in 1497. Today scholars

still doubt that Vespucci made the voyage. Vespucci also

claimed, in his writings, that he captioned all the journeys

himself when he only captained one of the four reported

expedition. The results to Vespucci's findings was that North

and South America were named after him, and back in the

late 1400's and the early 1500's they would know that there

was a "New World" out there and they didn't have