Amerigo Vespucci, Italian explorer

Amerigo Vespucci, Italian explorer

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Credit: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection/NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY/ SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512), Italian explorer, with a scroll showing the Americas. Vespucci joined an expedition across the Atlantic in 1497, five years after the first voyage of Columbus. Exploring the coast of what is now Venezuela on his second voyage in 1499, he travelled to the south-east towards the Amazon Delta, establishing that land continued south of the equator. He realised that this was not Asia, as Columbus believed, but a 'New World'. His account of his voyages was published in many languages and, unlike the diaries of Columbus, was widely read. German cartographer Martin Waldseemuller suggested that Vespucci's New World be named 'America', the feminine version of the name Amerigo. His 1507 map of the world showed for the first time the name America. This artwork dates from the 18th century.

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