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Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512). Engraving of the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, who gave his name to America after a false account of his travels claimed he discovered the continent. In 1499 Vespucci followed Columbus's tracks to the New World and explored the coast of Venezuela. An account of his travels was published in 1507, which claimed, impossibly, that he had reached the American mainland in 1497 and visited the Pacific Ocean, Antarctica and the east coast of Canada.
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