By Dylan Alikhan and Sabina Beleuz
Born in Florence, Italy during the Renaissance period; lived from
An Italian explorer, navigator and cartographer.
Vespucci was sent to his uncle Giorgio, a priest, in the Republic of
Florence (now Italy) to study logic, theology, grammar, history, and
As a young boy, Amerigo's happiest moments were studying the
stars. He excelled in mathematics and his hobby was copying maps.
His dream as a young boy was to travel and get a better picture about
what the Earth looked like.
Vespucci spent his early career in the banking firm of Lorenzo di
Pierfrancesco de' Medici.
Vespucci moved to Seville in 1491
In 1505 he became a Spanish citizen.
In 1508 Vespucci became Piloto Mayor
(chief pilot) of Spain.
Purpose of Journey
Quicker way to sail to Asia
He was very interested in finding a quicker way to sail to Asia.
Find latitude in the Southern Hemisphere
Vespucci was interested in locating a star that was fixed to the South Pole as the North Star
was fixed to the North Pole. If he found it, explorers would be able to find latitude in the
Southern Hemisphere .
Although Vespucci didn't find the star, he did give map makers 3,300 miles more to add to
Discover where Columbus had actually reached
Vespucci wanted to find out for himself where Columbus had actually reached.
Columbus claims that he had reached Asia when he actually travelled to the Indies.
Finding treasure in the New World for Spain
In 1499, King Ferdinand V of Spain granted for Vespucci to explore the New World, in the
hopes of finding treasure in the New World.
Claim land and waters for Portugal
In 1501, King Manuel of Portugal commissioned Vespucci to set sail to the New World to
claim land and waters for Portugal.
Route of Expedition
He claimed that he made four voyages: 1497, 1499, 1501, and 1503.
Vespucci wrote a letter describing of a lengthy visit to the New World, leaving Spain in
May 1497 and returning in October 1498.
Vespucci went as an astronomer and "as a merchant" from the Spanish city of Cadiz
on May 18th, 1499, in an expedition led by a Spanish explorer, Alonso de Ojeda.
The intention was to sail around the southern end of the African mainland into the
He traveled to Guyana, after sailed southward, discovering the mouth of the Amazon
River, and Trinidad, and returning to Spain by way of Hispaniola.
Vespucci set sail from Lisbon on May 13th, 1501, in the service of Portugal.
The fleet sailed first to Cape Verde, after that to coast of Brazil, they sailed south along
the coast of South America.
In this expedition, Vespucci mapped Alpha, Beta Centauri, and constellation Crux (the
On his return to Lisbon, Vespucci wrote in a letter(Mundus Novus -New World) to
Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici that the land masses they explored were much
larger than anticipated and different from the Asia described by Ptolemy or Marco Polo
and therefore, must be a New World
The expedition returned home in March, 1502.
Little is known of his last voyage in 1503–1504 or even whether it actually took place.
Sailors could estimate their north-south position by watching the North Star at
night. However, as a ship travelled further south, the North Star appeared lower in
the sky. This made it difficult to map out distance east and west. Vespucci began to
keep track of his distance from the equator and used stars and other constellations
not visible in Europe.
Vespucci and his crew had difficulties exploring the New World on foot because of
the dense forests.
It was initially difficult to communicate with the natives but he was able to teach
them sign language.
Vespucci and his crew were frequently attacked by native tribes when they tried to
land on the shore.
Vespucci’s forth voyage was his last, because he contracted malaria and died in
Spain in the year 1512 at the age of 58.
Other Notable Occurrences
Soon after Vespucci’s death, scholars were questioning his claim of discovery, they
found very little evidence supporting his claim of having a voyage in 1497.
He had claimed to have led all his expedition but he was only navigator or
commander of a single ship.
In 1507 the German mapmaker Martin Waldseemuller, printed the first map that
used the name “America” for the New World clearly named after Amerigo Vespucci.
As a young man he read widely and collected books and maps. He began working
for local bankers and was sent to Spain in 1492 to look after his employer's business
Amerigo Vespucci also described the culture of the indigenous people, and focused
on their diet, religion, and what made these letters very popular - their sexual,
marriage, and childbirth practices.
He excelled in mathematics and his hobby was copying maps. His dream as a
young boy was to travel and get a better picture about what the Earth looked like.
Amerigo spent half of his life as a business man hoping to strike it rich so he could
Best Known As: The explorer after whose name was given to the American continents by
Waldsmuller in 1507
Vespucci was the first European which understood that the lands across the Atlantic were
European public learned about the newly discovered continent of the Americas for the first
time from Lettera al Soderini (Lettera)
a letter in Italian addressed to Piero Soderini.
Printed in 1504 or 1505, it claimed to be an account of four voyages to the Americas made by
Vespucci between 1497 and 1504
In his life time, Vespucci advanced the study of navigation, cartography, and astronomy:
Vespucci’s methods for calculating longitude were more accurate than the traditional means.
Vespucci estimated the size of the Earth’s surface quiet accurately and he was just 50 miles
short off its actual circumference.
Vespucci exchanged ideas with map makers and scientists after his expeditions so they could
revise their maps and measurements of the Earth’s circumference.
In 1508, after only two voyages to the Americas, the position of chief of navigation of Spain
was created for Vespucci, with the responsibility of :
commissioned him to found a school of navigation, in order to standardize and modernize
navigation techniques used by Iberian sea captains then exploring the world.
Did Vespucci discover America?
On 12 October 1492 Christopher Columbus
was the first to reach land to the west of
America in the Bahamas.
Christopher Columbus was followed by
Vespucci and many other explorers who were
all searching for a passage to the Indies.
Fritz, Jean. Around the World in a Hundred Years. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1994.Print
Burton, Rosemary and Cavendish, Richard and Stonehouse, Bernard. Journeys of the Great Explorers.
Hampshire: A.A Publishing, 1992.Print
Wyatt, Valerie. Who Discovered America? Kids Can Press Ltd. 2008, Toronto, Ontario.
Ray, Kurt. Amerigo, Vespucci, Italian Explorer of the Americas. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
2004.New York, NY.
“Vespucci, Amerigo.” Chronicles of America. N.p, 2006-2009. Web. 26 April 2010.
“ Vespucci, Amerigo.” About.com: Geography. The New York Times Company, 2010. Web. 23 April 2010
Alchin, L.K. “Vespucci, Amerigo.” Elizabethan-era.org.uk. N.p, n.d. Web. April 28 2010.
Tomasson, David. “All Individual Explorers.pdf” Tomasson History. N.p, n.d. Web. April 26 2010.
Moyer, Ann E. “Vespucci, Amerigo.” World Book Student. World Book, 2010 Web. 25 April 2010.
N.A “Vespucci, Amerigo.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2010 Web. 25 April 2010.
Vespucci claimed to have six voyages. True False
There is a controversy about Vespucci’s True False
claim of having a voyage in 1497.
Vespucci was voyaging to find an ancient map. True False
Vespucci was born in Florence, Italy. True False
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