From there the fleet split up: Ojeda proceeded northwest toward modern Venezuela, while two ships headed south with Vespucci aboard. She was an active participant in his business and held power of attorney for Vespucci when he was away.[11]. Several scholars now believe that Vespucci did not write the two published letters in the form in which they circulated during his lifetime. America is named after Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer who set forth the then revolutionary concept that the lands that Christopher Columbus sailed to in 1492 were part of a separate continent. In February 1931, the ship Amerigo Vespucci was floated off from Napoli. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. In the first series of documents, four voyages by Vespucci are mentioned; in the second, only two. Amerigo 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. Writing later about his experience, Vespucci gave the impression that he had a leadership role, but that is unlikely, due to his inexperience. Test your knowledge of the world’s explorers by taking this quiz. [3] The family resided in the District of Santa Lucia d'Ognissanti along with other families of the Vespucci clan. [12] Historians have differed sharply on the authorship, accuracy and veracity of these documents. Naturalized Castilian in the year 1505, he dedicated himself to commerce in Spain in the 15th century and was hired by the Medicis who were a powerful and wealthy family of the time. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). He supposed that the ships, once past this point, emerged into the seas of southern Asia. Barardi invested half a million "maravedis" in Columbus's first voyage, and he won a potentially lucrative contract to provision Columbus's large second fleet. [29], Upon his death, Vespucci's wife was awarded an annual pension of 10,000 "maravedis" to be deducted from the salary of the successor chief pilot. Vespucci's reputation was perhaps at its lowest in 1856 when Ralph Waldo Emerson called Vespucci a "thief" and "pickle dealer" from Seville who managed to get "half the world baptized with his dishonest name."[16]. After Hispaniola they made a brief slave raid in the Bahamas, capturing 232 natives, and then returned to Spain. There are also difficulties with the reported dates and details in the account of this voyage. In March 1508, he was named chief pilot for the "Casa de Contratación" or House of Commerce which served as a central trading house for Spain's overseas possessions. A few days ago I wrote you at some length about my return from those new regions we searched for and found with the fleet, at the expense and by the command of the most serene King of Portugal, and which can properly be called a "New World", since our forebears had absolutely no knowledge of it, nor do any of those who are hearing about it today...On 7 August 1501,[b] we dropped our anchor off the shores of that new land, thanking God with solemn prayers and the celebration of the Mass. He was one of the more colorful characters of the early age of discovery in the Americas and captained one of the first journeys to the New World. Felipe Fernández-Armesto (2007) calls the authenticity question "inconclusive", and hypothesizes that the first voyage was probably another version of the second; the third is unassailable, and the fourth is probably true.[47]. On 17 August 1501 they reached Brazil at a latitude of about 6° south. [5][6], After his return from Paris, Amerigo worked for a time with his father and continued his studies in science. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The voyage of 1501–02 is of fundamental importance in the history of geographic discovery in that Vespucci himself, and scholars as well, became convinced that the newly discovered lands were not part of Asia but a “New World.” In 1507 a humanist, Martin Waldseemüller, reprinted at Saint-Dié in Lorraine the “Quattuor Americi navigationes” (“Four Voyages of Amerigo”), preceded by a pamphlet of his own entitled “Cosmographiae introductio,” and he suggested that the newly discovered world be named “ab Americo Inventore…quasi Americi terram sive Americam” (“from Amerigo the discoverer…as if it were the land of Americus or America”). 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. Amerigo Vespucci. His motivations for leaving Florence are unclear; he continued to transact some business on behalf of his Medici patrons but more and more he became involved with Berardi's other activities, most notably his support of Christopher Columbus's voyages. The first series consists of a letter in the name of Vespucci from Lisbon, Portugal, dated September 4, 1504, written in Italian, perhaps to the gonfalonier (magistrate of a medieval Italian republic) Piero Soderini, and printed in Florence in 1505; and of two Latin versions of this letter, printed under the titles of “Quattuor Americi navigationes” and “Mundus Novus,” or “Epistola Alberici de Novo Mundo.” The second series consists of three private letters addressed to the Medici. The voyage completed by Vespucci between May 1499 and June 1500 as navigator of an expedition of four ships sent from Spain under the command of Alonso de Ojeda is certainly authentic. On 13 February 1502, they left the coast to return home. Earlier generations of Vespucci had funded a family chapel in the Ognissanti church, and the nearby Hospital of San Giovanni di Dio was founded by Simone di Piero Vespucci in 1380. Born: March 9, 1451. Many historians have analysed these documents and have arrived at contradictory conclusions. The Americas are generally believed to have Although Vespucci subsequently helped to prepare other expeditions, he never again joined one in person. Died: 22-Feb - 1512. But the Spanish government did not welcome his proposals, and at the end of 1500 Vespucci went into the service of Portugal. [5] Meanwhile he continued to show an interest in geography, at one point buying an expensive map made by the master cartographer Gabriel de Vallseca. [6] In addition to managing Medici's trade in Seville, Berardi had his own business in African slavery and ship chandlery. That land would eventually become present-day Brazil. Vespucci was born on 9 March 1454, in Florence, a wealthy Italian city-state and a center of Renaissance art and learning. A suitable form would be Amerige, meaning Land of Amerigo, or America, since Europe and Asia have received women's names. He requested to be buried in a Franciscan habit in his wife's family tomb. Before crossing the Atlantic they resupplied at Cape Verde where they encountered Cabral on his way home from his voyage to India. This is perhaps the most controversial of Vespucci's voyages and many historians doubt that it took place as described. Amerigo Vespucci (/vɛˈspuːtʃi/;[1] Italian: [ameˈriːɡo veˈsputtʃi]; 9 March 1454 – 22 February 1512) was an Italian merchant, explorer, and navigator from the Republic of Florence, from whose name the term "America" is derived. Omissions? [12], In 1515, Sebastian Cabot became one of the first to question Vespucci's accomplishments and express doubts about his 1497 voyage. Other cartographers followed suit, and by 1532 the name America was permanently affixed to the newly discovered continents. Amerigo's grandfather, also named Amerigo Vespucci, served a total of 36 years as the chancellor of the Florentine government, known as the "Signoria"; and Nastagio also served in the "Signoria" and in other guild offices. Death. Originally from Florence, he was born on March 9, 1454, son of Nastagio Vespucci, an important foreign exchange man, and Lisa di Giovanni Mini. The claim inspired cartographer Martin Waldseemüller to recognize Vespucci's accomplishments in 1507 by applying the Latinized form America for the first time to a map showing the New World. Under Portuguese auspices Vespucci completed a second expedition, which set off from Lisbon on May 13, 1501. The Soderini Letter gave Vespucci credit for discovery of this new continent and implied that the Portuguese map was based on his explorations. Opinions began to shift somewhat after 1857 when Brazilian historian Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen wrote that everything in the Soderini Letter was true. The king wanted to know the extent of this new discovery and determine where it lay in relation to the line established by the Treaty of Tordesillas. Their intention was to explore the coast of a new landmass found by Columbus on his third voyage and in particular investigate a rich source of pearls that Columbus had reported. In February, he was summoned by the king to consult on matters of navigation. He continued his work as a chandler, supplying ships bound for the Indies. Vespucci had meanwhile succeeded Berardi on the latter’s death in 1495 and at some point he started to go adventuring himself. While in Spain, Vespucci was drawn to the excitement surrounding the growing interest in exploration. Sailing south along the coast they found friendlier natives and were able to engage in some minor trading. Later, Bartolomé de las Casas argued that Vespucci was a liar and stole the credit that was due Columbus. Traditionally, Vespucci's voyages are referred to as the "first" through "fourth", even by historians who refute one or more of the trips. Italian navigator. Updates? As a boy Vespucci was given a humanistic education by his uncle Giorgio Antonio. The evidence relies almost entirely on a handful of letters attributed to him. Vespucci's findings have been lost but Capponi returned to Florence around this time and Berardi took over the Medici business in Seville. Professor of Geography, University of Rome, 1915–59. In 1479 he accompanied another relation, sent by the famous Italian Medici family to be their spokesman to the king of France. Vespucci was the son of Nastagio, a notary. As a young man, he was fascinated with books and maps. Amerigo Vespucci was educated by his uncle, Fra Giorgio Antonio Vespucci, a Dominican friar of the monastery of San Marco in … Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Vespucci died on 22 February 1512. During the next few months he received payments from the crown for his services and in April he was declared by royal proclamation a citizen of Castile and León. The evidence for Vespucci's voyages of exploration consists almost entirely of a handful of letters written by him or attributed to him. Seville, Spain. In 1505, King Ferdinand gave … He was also hired to captain a ship as part of a fleet bound for the "spice islands" but the planned voyage never took place. [45] In 1839, Alexander von Humboldt after careful consideration asserted the 1497 voyage was impossible but accepted the two Portuguese-sponsored voyages. It is unknown whether Vespucci was ever aware of these honours. The name for the Americas is derived from his given name. Location of death: Seville, Spain. Not much is known about his personal life other than the fact that he was married to a woman called Maria Cerezo. 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