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Who was Amerigo Vespucci? This is a question I asked myself as I was researching the man credited with the discovery of the new world. Much information has been written about Christopher Columbus and very little about Amerigo Vespucci. To understand who Amerigo Vespucci was is to look at his life and times in that time period. This paper is an attempt to look at his history and try to get a better understanding of his life in the “Age of Discovery”. To have an understanding of Vespucci is to remember that to the day of his death, Columbus persisted in claiming he was in parts of Asia. This is part of the old world mentality and shows that Columbus never fully comprehended the achievements of his voyages. Two continents are named after Amerigo Vespucci. A great achievement for a man who many feel is a charlatan of geography. Did he discover America or was this honor bestowed on the wrong man?
Amerigo Vespucci was born in Florence Italy on March 9, 1454, the first year of the new age of printed material. He was the third son of Ser Natasagio Vespucci and was named for his grandfather. “The Vespucci family was considered one of the most cultured and respected aristocratic families of Florence.”[Pohl 14]. His uncle, Giorgio Vespucci a scholar and collector of manuscripts influenced Amerigo. His uncle taught him the physical sciences, which included the teachings of Aristotle and Ptolemy. This included astronomy, cosmography and geography, which will mold Amerigo into a well-rounded person of the times. Amerigo acquired a love for Vergil, Dante, and Petrarch under the watchful eye of his uncle and became very skillful in mathematics and Latin. This education would also spark the investigation and inquiry into the voyages of Columbus in his search for the spice trade to the west.
Amerigo’s father wanted his son to enter the commercial life of the mercantile career that was a custom for a son in those days. Base...
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