36 Facts About Amerigo Vespucci


Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian merchant, explorer, and navigator from the Republic of Florence, from whose name the term "America" is derived.


Between 1497 and 1504, Vespucci participated in at least two voyages of the Age of Discovery, first on behalf of Spain and then for Portugal.


Amerigo Vespucci claimed to have understood, back in 1501 during his Portuguese expedition, that Brazil was part of a continent new to Europeans, which he called the "New World".


Amerigo Vespucci was the third son of Nastagio Vespucci, a Florentine notary for the Money-Changers Guild, and Lisa di Giovanni Mini.


Amerigo's grandfather, named Amerigo Vespucci, served a total of 36 years as the chancellor of the Florentine government, known as the Signoria; and Nastagio served in the Signoria and in other guild offices.


Amerigo Vespucci was introduced to geography and astronomy, subjects that played an essential part in his career.


In 1478, Guido Antonio Vespucci led a Florentine diplomatic mission to Paris and invited his younger cousin, Amerigo Vespucci, to join him.


Amerigo Vespucci's role is not clear, but it was likely as an attache or private secretary.


In 1482, when his father died, Amerigo Vespucci went to work for Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici, head of a junior branch of the Medici family.


Amerigo Vespucci served first as a household manager and then gradually took on increasing responsibilities, handling various business dealings for the family both at home and abroad.


Amerigo Vespucci dispatched Vespucci to investigate the situation and provide an assessment of a suggested replacement, Florentine merchant Gianotto Berardi.


Amerigo Vespucci's findings have been lost but Capponi returned to Florence around this time and Berardi took over the Medici business in Seville.


Amerigo Vespucci was the executor of Berardi's will, collecting debts and paying outstanding obligations for the firm.


Amerigo Vespucci continued to provision ships bound for the West Indies, but his opportunities were diminishing; Columbus's expeditions were not providing the hoped-for profits, and his patron, Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco Medici, was using other Florentine agents for his business in Seville.


Sometime after he settled in Seville, Amerigo Vespucci married a Spanish woman, Maria Cerezo.


Amerigo Vespucci was an active participant in his business and held power of attorney for Vespucci when he was away.


Traditionally, Amerigo Vespucci's voyages are referred to as the "first" through "fourth", even by historians who dismiss one or more of the trips.


Certain earlier historians, including contemporary Bartolome de las Casas, suspected that Amerigo Vespucci incorporated observations from a later voyage into a fictitious account of this supposed first one, so as to gain primacy over Columbus and position himself as the first European explorer to encounter the mainland.


The Soderini letter is one of two attributed to Amerigo Vespucci that were edited and widely circulated during his lifetime.


In 1499, Amerigo Vespucci joined an expedition licensed by Spain and led by Alonso de Ojeda as fleet commander and Juan de la Cosa as chief navigator.


Amerigo Vespucci assumed they were on the coast of Asia and hoped by heading south they would, according to the Greek geographer Ptolemy, round the unidentified "Cape of Cattigara" and reach the Indian Ocean.


From 1505 until his death in 1512, Amerigo Vespucci remained in service to the Spanish crown.


Amerigo Vespucci continued his work as a chandler, supplying ships bound for the Indies.


Amerigo Vespucci was hired to captain a ship as part of a fleet bound for the "spice islands" but the planned voyage never took place.


Amerigo Vespucci was paid an annual salary of 50,000 maravedis with an extra 25,000 for expenses.


Amerigo Vespucci was charged with compiling a "model map" based on input from pilots who were obligated to share what they learned after each voyage.


Amerigo Vespucci left most of his modest estate, including five household slaves, to his wife.


Amerigo Vespucci requested to be buried in a Franciscan habit in his wife's family tomb.


Amerigo Vespucci's voyages became widely known in Europe after two accounts attributed to him were published between 1503 and 1505.


Many supporters of Columbus felt that Amerigo Vespucci had stolen an honour that rightfully belonged to Columbus.


Knowledge of Amerigo Vespucci's voyages relies almost entirely on a handful of letters written by him or attributed to him.


Several scholars now believe that Amerigo Vespucci did not write the two published letters in the form in which they circulated during his lifetime.


Amerigo Vespucci has been called "the most enigmatic and controversial figure in early American history".


Later, Bartolome de las Casas argued that Amerigo Vespucci was a liar and stole the credit that was due Columbus.


Humboldt called into question the assertion that Amerigo Vespucci recognized that he had encountered a new continent.


Amerigo Vespucci denied Vespucci's authorship of the 1503 Mundus Novus and the 1505 Letter to Soderini, the only two texts published during his lifetime.