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Amerigo Vespucci
Portrait of Amerigo Vespucci.jpg
Portrait of Amerigo Vespucci
Born March 9, 1454
Florence, Republic of Florence (Italy)
Died February 22, 1512 (aged 57)
Seville, Crown of Castile (Spain)
Occupation Merchant, explorer, cartographer
Known for Demonstrating to Europeans that the New World was not Asia but a previously-unknown fourth continent
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Amerigo Vespucci (9 March 1454 - 22 February 1512) was an Italian merchant, explorer and cartographer. He was the first person to explain that the New World discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 was not the eastern area of Asia, but an unknown continent (the Americas).

Referred to as the New World, in 1507 this second super continent was named America, its name coming from Americus, which is the Latin version of Vespucci's first name.

Amerigo traveled to the New World in 1499 landing in the northeastern portion of South America and voyaged again in 1502.

While on one of his voyages, Vespucci wrote two letters to a friend in Europe. He described his travels and was the first to identify the New World of North and South America as separate from Asia. (Columbus thought he had reached Asia to the day he died.)

Amerigo Vespucci also described the culture of the indigenous people, and focused on their diet, their religion, marriage, and childbirth practices. The letters were published in many languages and were distributed across Europe, selling much better than Columbus' diaries.

Vespucci spent his final years in Spain where he ran a school for navigators.

He died of malaria on February 22, 1512 at his home in Seville, Spain.

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