Naming the Americas, Life of Amerigo Vespucci by Cameron Stone

1 Dec

A man by the name of Amerigo Vespucci commenced on his first exploratory voyage. Through this voyage he made the discovery of many things, two of them being what is modern day Rio de Janeiro and Rio de la Plata. Soon after in 1507, America would be named after him. Unfortunately, he later would die in Seville, Spain of malaria.

His early life started when he was born on March 9, 1451 in Florence Italy, to proud parents Nastagio and Lisabetta Mini. Vespucci received his early education from a Dominican friar, named Giorgio Antonio Vespucci who was the boy’s paternal uncle. Young Vespucci’s life became intoxicated with the thought of traveling in his early 20s, when another uncle of his gave him his first job as an ambassador of Florence. Before the young explorer ever journeyed to the unknown, he took on many jobs, the first of which started in Florence, then moving to Seville Spain where became involved in a partnership in a banking business. This is where Amergio affiliated himself with merchants that supplied Christopher Columbus in his later travels. In his 40s, Vespucci left his business and followed his dream to become an explorer.

The voyage set sail on May 9, 1497 where he left Cadiz. Letters and records show that Vespucci and his crew traveled through the West Indies and finally reached the mainland in Central America. Amerigo in fact beat Christopher Columbus in discovering Venezuela by one year. After he died from malaria, mapmakers began the discussion of what to name the portion of land that Amerigo discovered; they came to the conclusion that it should be called America. It was not until 1538, a decade later, when a mapmaker named Mercator decided to name both portions the north and south portion of the continent America, and this is how the Americas got there name.


One Response to “Naming the Americas, Life of Amerigo Vespucci by Cameron Stone”

  1. Colin Boppell December 3, 2012 at 12:23 am #

    This is an awesome story. It’s funny how such random events can lead to the naming of a continent, and the greatest country on Earth. Amerigo would have been pretty surprised if he had lived to see a continent named after him.

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