Born in Florence, Amerigo Vespucci was a great Italian navigator who would give origin to the name of the American continent. He arrived in Spain as a simple merchant, long before Columbus had his first departure and in this place, he had an important mission as a merchant and had great contacts and business with some important people of the time and place. As we already know, Christopher Columbus died thinking that he had discovered the Indies, without suspecting for a moment that in reality, those islands were a new continent. Amerigo Vespucci was in charge of informing the Crown of Castile that these islands were not Asian, but, on the contrary, were part of a fourth part. His role was very important in the discovery of America, although, all the merits went to Christopher Columbus. However, history ultimately gave him his merits by giving him an important role in the discovery of the continent.
Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian merchant who arrived in Spain long before Christopher Columbus made his first voyage. He did important business and had many contacts. He was the one who had the task of informing the Crown of Castile that the place discovered was not Asia, but a new continent.
Originally from Florence, he was born on March 9, 1454, son of Nastagio Vespucci, an important foreign exchange man, and Lisa di Giovanni Mini. 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. He actively participated in two exploratory trips in the New World, what we know today as America. In 1508 he was appointed senior pilot of the House of Seville and published two important works, the Mundus Novus, and the Letter to Soderini, in which dates the identification he made of America. He opened a school for the children of Florentine aristocrats and trained Amerigo with Aristotle’s own teachings on astronomy and geography. Amerigo Vespucci died in Seville in 1491.
In 1502, he was aboard in a fleet consisting of three Portuguese ships, which were under the command of Gonzalo Cohelo, during which time they found ships of Pedro Alvarez Cabral and in them, travelled the Atlantic coast of South America; this route was made from Rio de Janeiro to Argentine Patagonia.
Later, in March of that same year, he was already in command of these three ships and made explorations along Rio de la Plata, this activity took place approximately on March 20 of that year, and at the beginning, he named the river as “Jordan River“.
During 1505, he thought that America could be reached through a strait that would allow them to navigate freely and for this reason, he decided to group with the Spanish navigator Juan de la Cosa, and with him, he made several trips through America, obtaining in each of them great wealth and profits.
Amerigo Vespucci only managed to make two different journeys of exploration to the New World, at least this is what is known for certain, because many historians around the world, based on their letters, think that he could have made at least six different journeys there.
Amerigo Vespucci is credited with the discovery of the American continent. When Vespucci returned to Lisbon, he wrote a letter to Pier Francesco de Médicis informing him that the lands to which Christopher Columbus had arrived were not the Indies, but rather a new continent, that these lands were larger than had been thought.
Two important works published Amerigo Vespucci, two letters. One of them called it “New World” and was a Latin translation of the letter he had originally sent to Pier Medicis. In this letter he carefully described his trip to South America, which took place during the years 1501 and 1502. This letter was printed again and then distributed throughout Europe very quickly.
The second letter was known as “Letter from Amerigo Vespucci about the newly discovered islands in his four journeys”. This letter was written in Italian and was addressed to Piero Soderini. It was printed on an unspecified date between 1504 and 1505, and in it Vespucci stated that he had travelled to America during his travels. A Latin translation was made and published in 1507.
Amerigo Vespucci left us the contribution of having discovered that the land that Columbus had managed to reach was not part of Asia, but that it was a completely new continent. It is for this reason that the continent is given its name, because it was discovered by him. In addition, Vespucci managed to embark on a fifth expedition that managed to reach the coasts of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.
Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Amerigo Vespucci. Recovered on 27 October, 2023, de Euston96: https://www.euston96.com/en/amerigo-vespucci/