Amerigo Vespucci (/vɛˈspuːtʃi/; Italian: [ameˈriːɡo veˈsputtʃi]; March 9, 1454 – February 22, 1512) was an Italian explorer, financier, navigator, and cartographer who was born in the Republic of Florence. Sailing for Portugal around 1501-1502, Vespucci demonstrated that Brazil and the West Indies were not Asia's eastern outskirts (as initially conjectured from Columbus' voyages) but a separate, unexplored land mass colloquially known as the New World. It came to be called "the Americas", a name derived from Americus (the Latin version of Vespucci's first name). He became a citizen of the Crown of Castile and died in Seville (1512).
|Born||March 9, 1454|
Florence, Republic of Florence (Italy)
|Died||February 22, 1512 (aged 57)|
|Other names||Américo Vespucio (Spanish)|
Americus Vespucius (Latin)
Américo Vespúcio (Portuguese)
|Occupation||Merchant, explorer, cartographer|
|Known for||Demonstrating to Europeans that the New World was not Asia but a previously-unknown fourth continent[a]|
Vespucci was born and raised in Florence, on the Italian Peninsula. He was the third son of Ser Nastagio (Anastasio) Vespucci, a Florentine notary, and Lisabetta Mini; Anastasio's father was also named Amerigo. His family lived near All Saints' Church in Ognissanti, which was also known as San Salvatore, which may have influenced his naming of the Bay of All Saints and the city of Salvador, Bahia.
Vespucci was educated by his uncle, Giorgio Antonio Vespucci, a Dominican friar in the monastery of San Marco in Florence. Although his elder brothers were sent to the University of Pisa to pursue scholastic careers, Amerigo embraced a mercantile life and was hired as a clerk by the Florentine house of Medici (headed by Lorenzo de' Medici). Vespucci's patron was Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici, who became head of the business after the elder Lorenzo's death in 1492. The Medici dispatched Donato Niccolini and the 38-year-old Vespucci in March 1492 as confidential agents to investigate the Medici branch office in Cádiz, whose managers (and dealings) were under suspicion.
In April 1495, due to the intrigues of Bishop Juan Rodríguez de Fonseca, the Crown of Castile broke their monopoly deal with Christopher Columbus and began licensing other navigators for the West Indies. Around this time (1495–96), Vespucci was engaged as executor of the estate of Giannotto Berardi, an Italian merchant who had recently died in Seville. Vespucci organized the fulfillment of Berardi's contract with the Castilian crown to provide twelve vessels for the Indies. After they were delivered, he continued as a provisions contractor for Indies expeditions and is known to have secured beef for at least one (if not two) of Columbus' voyages.
Vespucci's expeditions became known in Europe after two accounts attributed to him were published between 1502 and 1503. In 1507, Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the new continent America after the feminine Latin version of Vespucci's first name. In an accompanying book, Waldseemüller published one of the Vespucci accounts; this led to criticism that Vespucci was trying to usurp Christopher Columbus' glory. The 18th-century rediscovery of other letters by Vespucci has led to the view that the early published accounts (notably the Soderini Letter) could be fabrications, not by Vespucci but by others.
Two letters attributed to Vespucci were published during his lifetime. Mundus Novus (New World) was a Latin translation of a lost Italian letter sent from Lisbon to Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici describing a voyage to South America in 1501–1502. It was published in late 1502 or early 1503 and reprinted and distributed in a number of European countries. Lettera di Amerigo Vespucci delle isole nuovamente trovate in quattro suoi viaggi (Letter of Amerigo Vespucci concerning the isles newly discovered on his four voyages), known as Lettera al Soderini or just Lettera, was a letter in Italian addressed to Piero Soderini, published in 1504 or 1505. It was a purported account of four voyages to the Americas made by Vespucci between 1497 and 1504. A Latin translation was published by Martin Waldseemüller in 1507 in Cosmographiae Introductio as Quattuor Americi Vespucij navigationes (Four Voyages of Amerigo Vespucci), a book on cosmography and geography.
On March 22, 1508, King Ferdinand made Vespucci chief navigator of Spain at a large salary and commissioned him to found a school of navigation to standardize and modernize navigation techniques used by Iberian sea captains exploring the world. Vespucci developed a rudimentary but fairly accurate method of determining longitude, which was improved by more accurate chronometers.
During the 18th century, three unpublished letters were rediscovered from Vespucci to Lorenzo de' Medici. One describes a voyage made in 1499–1500 which corresponds with the second of the four reported voyages. Another was written from Cape Verde in 1501 in the early part of the third voyages, before crossing the Atlantic. The third letter was sent from Lisbon after the completion of that voyage.
It has been suggested that Vespucci exaggerated his role and created deliberate fabrications in the two letters published during his lifetime. Scholars now believe that he did not write the two letters; they were fabrications by others, based in part on genuine letters by Vespucci. The publication and widespread circulation of the letters may have led Waldseemüller to name the new continent America on his 1507 world map in Lorraine. Vespucci used a Latinized form of his name (Americus Vespucius) in his Latin writings, which Waldseemüller used as a base for the new name in its feminine form. According to the book accompanying the map, "I do not see what right any one would have to object to calling this part, after Americus who discovered it and who is a man of intelligence, Amerige, that is, the Land of Americus, or America: since both Europa and Asia got their names from women". Vespucci may not have been aware that Waldseemüller named the continent after him.
The two disputed letters say that Vespucci made four voyages to America; at most, two can be verified by other sources. It is disputed as to when Vespucci first visited the mainland; according to historians such as Germán Arciniegas and Gabriel Camargo Pérez, his first voyage was made in June 1497 with Spanish pilot Juan de la Cosa.
Vespucci's historical importance may rest more in his letters (whether or not he wrote them all) than in his discoveries. From these letters, the European public first learned about the newly discovered continents of the Americas; their existence became generally known throughout Europe within a few years of the letters' publication. According to Vespucci:
Concerning my return from those new regions which we found and explored… we may rightly call a new world. Because our ancestors had no knowledge of them, and it will be a matter wholly new to all those who hear about them, for this transcends the view held by our ancients, inasmuch as most of them hold that there is no continent to the south beyond the equator, but only the sea which they named the Atlantic and if some of them did aver that a continent there was, they denied with abundant argument that it was a habitable land. But that this their opinion is false and utterly opposed to the truth… my last voyage has made manifest; for in those southern parts I have found a continent more densely peopled and abounding in animals than our Europe Asia or Africa, and, in addition, a climate milder and more delightful than in any other region known to us, as you shall learn in the following account.
Although Vespucci's first and fourth voyages may have been fabricated, his second and third voyages are certain.[b]
A letter, written to Piero Soderini and published in 1504, purports to be an account by Vespucci of a visit to the New World on which he left Spain in May 1497 and returned in October 1498. Some modern scholars[b] doubt that the voyage took place, however, and consider the letter a forgery. Whoever wrote the letter makes several observations about native customs, including the use of hammocks and sweat lodges.
Around 1499–1500, Vespucci joined an expedition in the service of Spain with Alonso de Ojeda (or Hojeda) as the fleet commander. Its intention was to sail around the southern end of the African mainland into the Indian Ocean. After reaching the coast of present-day Guyana, Vespucci and de Ojeda seem to have separated. Vespucci sailed south, discovering the mouth of the Amazon River and reaching 6°S before turning around, seeing Trinidad and the Orinoco River, and returning to Spain via Hispaniola. The letter, to Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici, says that Vespucci determined his longitude celestially on August 23, 1499 on this voyage. The claim may be fraudulent, however, which could cast doubt on the letter's credibility.
Vespucci's last certain voyage was led by Gonçalo Coelho in 1501–1502 in the service of Portugal. Departing from Lisbon, the fleet sailed first to Cape Verde and met two of Pedro Álvares Cabral's ships returning from India. In a letter from Cape Verde, Vespucci said that he hoped to visit the same lands that Álvares Cabral had explored (suggesting an intention to sail west to Asia as on the 1499–1500 voyage). Reaching the coast of Brazil, they sailed south along the coast of South America to the Rio de Janeiro bay. If Vespucci's account is correct, he reached the latitude of Patagonia before turning back; this seems doubtful, however, since his account does not mention the broad estuary of the Río de la Plata which he would have seen if he had reached that far south. Portuguese maps of South America created after Coelho and Vespucci's voyage do not show any land south of present-day Cananéia (25° S), which may have been the southernmost extent of their voyages.
After the first half of the expedition, Vespucci mapped Alpha Centauri, Beta Centauri, the constellation Crux, and the Coalsack Nebula. Although these stars had been known to the ancient Greeks, gradual axial precession had lowered them beneath the European horizon and they had been forgotten. Returning to Lisbon, Vespucci wrote in a letter from Seville to Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici that the land masses they explored were much larger than anticipated and different from the Asia described by Ptolemy or Marco Polo; therefore, they must be a New World: a previously-unknown fourth continent in addition to Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Vespucci's fourth voyage, another expedition for the Portuguese crown down the east coast of Brazil, set out in May 1503 and returned in June 1504. Like his reported first voyage, Vespucci's fourth (and final) voyage is also disputed. The only source for this last voyage is the Soderini Letter; since several modern scholars dispute Vespucci's authorship of that letter, it is uncertain if Vespucci undertook this trip.[b] Portuguese documents confirm a voyage in 1503–04 by Gonçalo Coelho (probably the same captain as the 1501 mapping expedition, Vespucci's third voyage), so it is possible that Vespucci went on this one as well. It is not independently confirmed that Vespucci was aboard, and there are difficulties with reported dates and details. The letters were controversial after Vespucci's death (particularly among supporters of Columbus, who believed that Columbus' achievement was being denigrated), and damaged Vespucci's reputation.
Vespucci, a cousin of the husband of Simonetta Vespucci, married Maria Cerezo. One of the few references to Maria is in a royal decree in 1512,[c] giving her a lifetime pension of ten thousand maravedís per year (deducted from the salary of Vespucci's successor). They had no children.
Soon after his return to Spain, Vespucci became a Spanish citizen. On March 22, 1508, he was made the country's pilot major by Ferdinand II of Aragon in honor of his discoveries. Vespucci ran a school for navigators in Seville's Casa de Contratación. He died on February 22, 1512 at his home in Seville.
Amerigo Vespucci's Letter from Seville (18 July 1500), written to his patron Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici, describes experiences on Alonso de Ojeda's May 1499 voyage. Vespucci's findings during the Age of Discovery led Europeans to believe that North and South America were not connected to Asia, which was a common belief at the time and was even held by Vespucci himself. Despite the surrounding controversy among many historians about which Vespucci letters were real, and which ones were forged, this particular letter of Vespucci's is notable for its detailed description of the Brazilian coast and its inhabitants.Bernard Giraudeau
Bernard René Giraudeau (18 June 1947 – 17 July 2010) was a French actor, film director, scriptwriter, producer and writer.CMA CGM Amerigo Vespucci
CMA CGM Amerigo Vespucci is an Explorer class containership built for CMA CGM. It is named after Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. It has a capacity of 13,830 TEU.Colegio Amerigo Vespucci
Colegio Amerigo Vespucci is an Italian private school in Caracas, Venezuela.Cosmographiae Introductio
Cosmographiae Introductio ("Introduction to Cosmography"; Saint-Dié, 1507) was a book published in 1507 to accompany Martin Waldseemüller's printed globe and wall-map (Universalis Cosmographia), which were the first appearance of the name 'America'. Waldseemüller’s maps and book, along with his 1513 edition of Ptolemy’s Geography, were very influential and widely copied at the time.
It is widely held to have been written by Matthias Ringmann although some historians attribute it to Waldseemüller himself. The book includes the reason for using the name America in the wall map and the globe, and contains a Latin translation of the four journeys of Amerigo Vespucci as an appendix.
The full title of the book is: Cosmographiae introductio cum quibusdam geometriae ac astronomiae principiis ad eam rem necessariis. Insuper quatuor Americi Vespucii navigationes. Universalis Cosmographiae descriptio tam in solido quam plano, eis etiam insertis, quae Ptholomaeo ignota a nuperis reperta sunt.
(translation: Introduction to Cosmography With Certain Necessary Principles of Geometry and Astronomy To which are added The Four Voyages of Amerigo Vespucci A Representation of the Entire World, both in the Solid and Projected on the Plane, Including also lands which were Unknown to Ptolemy, and have been Recently Discovered)
The map of the world in 1507, entitled Universalis cosmographia secundum Ptholomaei traditionem et Americi Vespucii aliorumque lustrationes, was published in an edition of 1000 copies, of which it seems only a single copy survives. The surviving copy was found in the library of Prince von Waldburg-Wolfegg-Waldsee in the Castle of Wolfegg in Württemberg. It was bought by the Library of Congress in 2001. This preservation seems to be due the several sheets being bound into a single cover by the cartographer, Johannes Schöner.
The map consists of twelve sections printed from woodcuts combined with metal types, each measuring 18 x 24.5 inches (46 x 62 cm). Each section is one of four, that form one of three zones. The map uses a modified Ptolemaic coniform projection with curved meridians to depict the entire surface of the Earth.Doan Bui
Doan Bui is a French woman journalist born in Le Mans.
She received the prix Albert-Londres 2013 for her report Les Fantômes du fleuve on migrants trying to penetrate Europe in Greece through Turkey, published by Nouvel Observateur.In 2016, she was awarded the prix Amerigo Vespucci for her work Le Silence de mon père (Éditions L'Iconoclaste).Florence Airport
Florence Airport, Peretola (IATA: FLR, ICAO: LIRQ), Italian: Aeroporto di Firenze-Peretola and formally Amerigo Vespucci Airport, is the international airport of Florence, the capital of the Italian region of Tuscany. It is the second-busiest Tuscan airport in terms of passengers after Pisa International Airport. It serves as a focus city for Vueling.France Huser
France Huser is a French novelist and art critic who lives and works in Paris.François Garde
François Garde (born 1959 in Le Cannet, Alpes-Maritimes) is a French writer and high-ranking officialGilles Lapouge
Gilles Lapouge is a French writer and journalist with the daily O Estado de S. Paulo. He won the 2007 Prix Femina Essai.Italian training ship Amerigo Vespucci
The Amerigo Vespucci is a tall ship of the Italian Navy (Marina Militare) named after the explorer Amerigo Vespucci. Its home port is La Spezia, Italy, and it is in use as a school ship.Naming of the Americas
The naming of the Americas, or America, occurred shortly after Christopher Columbus's voyage to the Americas in 1492. It is generally accepted that the name derives from Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer, who explored the new continents in the following years. However, some have suggested other explanations, including being named after a mountain range in Nicaragua, or after Richard Amerike of Bristol.New World
The New World is one of the names used for the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas (including nearby islands such as those of the Caribbean and Bermuda), and Oceania.
The term originated in the early 16th century after Europeans made landfall in what would later be called the Americas in the age of discovery, expanding the geographical horizon of classical geographers, who had thought of the world as consisting of Africa, Europe, and Asia, collectively now referred to as the Old World (a.k.a. Afro-Eurasia).
The phrase gained prominence after the publication of a pamphlet titled Mundus Novus attributed to Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci.The Americas were also referred to as the "fourth part of the world".Pierre-Jean Rémy
Pierre-Jean Rémy is the pen-name of Jean-Pierre Angremy (21 March 1937 – 28 April 2010) who was a French diplomat, novelist, and essayist. He was elected to the Académie française on 16 June 1988, and won the 1986 Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française for his novel Une ville immortelle.Ponte Amerigo Vespucci
Ponte Amerigo Vespucci is a bridge over the Arno River in Florence, Italy and named after Florence-born explorer Amerigo Vespucci. It joins the Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci to the Lungarno Soderini. To the east is the Ponte alla Carraia.
This bridge, like most of the other bridges over the Arno, is a reconstruction. Plans were made in 1908 to bridge this section of the Arno to service quartiere di San Frediano, but the plans were never realized. In 1949, a bridge, ponte di via Melegnano, was constructed from the recycled remains of other bridges that had been destroyed by the Nazi army as they withdrew before the advancing Allied forces during World War II.
Between 1952 and 1954, a competition for the construction of a new bridge was held, and the plan of the architects George Giuseppe Gori, Enzo Gori and Ernesto Nelli and of engineer Riccardo Morandi was chosen. The plan called for three spans in a thin, flat arch over two piers which supports the roadway. The final effect gives the impression of a single, slightly curved span. Construction on the bridge was completed in 1957.
It was designed to be reflective of the nearby historical structures but also to be an obviously modern structure.Prix Amerigo Vespucci
The prix Amerigo-Vespucci is a French literary award established in 1990, during the first International Festival of Geography (IFG) at Saint-Dié-des-Vosges. It rewards works on the theme of adventure and travel and refers to the Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci.
Featuring 2500 euros (in 2014), it is traditionally awarded at the inauguration of the Book Fair. An Amerigo Vespucci Youth Award is also presented.SS Amerigo Vespucci
SS Amerigo Vespucci (Hull Number 2767) was a Liberty ship built in the United States during World War II. She was named after Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian explorer for which North America and South America are named.
The ship was laid down on 20 February 1944, then launched on 10 March 1944. The ship survived the war only to suffer the same fate as nearly all other Liberty ships that survived did; she was scrapped in 1962.Waldseemüller map
The Waldseemüller map or Universalis Cosmographia ("Universal Cosmography") is a printed wall map of the world by German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller, originally published in April 1507. It is known as the first map to use the name "America". The name America is placed on what is now called South America on the main map. As explained in Cosmographiae Introductio, the name was bestowed in honor of the Italian Amerigo Vespucci.
The map is drafted on a modification of Ptolemy's second projection, expanded to accommodate the Americas and the high latitudes. A single copy of the map survives, presently housed at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Waldseemüller also created globe gores, printed maps designed to be cut out and pasted onto spheres to form globes of the Earth. The wall map, and his globe gores of the same date, depict the American continents in two pieces. These depictions differ from the small inset map in the top border of the wall map, which shows the two American continents joined by an isthmus.