Amerigo Vespucci

“Amerigo Vespucci: (1454-1512 Italian-Spanish navigator and explorer of the New World. Born in Florence, he entered the Medici family business and in 1419 was sent to Seville, where he helped outfit the ships for Christopher Columbus’s expeditions. By 1496 he was manager of the Seville agency. He took part in (or four—the number is disputed) voyages to the New World; he was navigator on a Spanish expedition (1499-1500) that probably discovered the mouth of the Amazon River, and he led a Portuguese expedition (1501-2) that discovered Guanabara Bay (Rio de Janeiro) and the Rio de la Plata. In the accounts of they voyages (published 1507), the terms America and New World were used to describe the lands visited by Amerigo Vespucci (in Latin, Americus Vespucius). As chief navigator for the Seville-based Commercial House for the West Indies (from 1508), he prepared maps of newly discovered lands from data supplied by ships’ captains.”

Excerpted/Adapted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

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