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Vespucci, Amerigo

Born: 1454 AD
Died: 1512 AD

1454 – Amerigo Vespucci, born on the 9th of March in Florence, Italy, as the third child of a respected family. He was a child of the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution. The Vespucci family had been prominent for over a century, with family members holding important positions in the city’s government. These family connections enabled Amerigo to receive an exceptional education, including an introduction to the latest geographic theories, and very early in his education he decided to make geography his intellectual focus.

1492 – 1496 – He was placed as a clerk in the great commercial house of the Medici, then the ruling family in Florence, he seems to have usually resided in Spain, especially at Seville and Cadiz, probably as an agent of the Medici.

1492 – Christopher Columbus declared that he had reached India by sailing west. As this information became public he began to question the veracity of Columbus’s claims. The length of his voyage was less than a month, and he believed that was too short a period of time to travel such a great distance.

1499 – He, on the 16th of May, started on a second voyage in a fleet of three ships under Alonzo de Ojeda (Hojeda). Sailing southwest over 500 leagues they crossed the ocean in forty-four days, finding land in 5° S.

1507 – He was held in such high esteem, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller named this new region "America" to honor Vespucci’s achievements as a geographer.

1508 – He received Spanish letters of naturalization, and on the 6th of August was appointed piloto mayor or chief pilot of Spain.

1512 – Died at Seville on the 22nd of February.