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Amerigo Vespucci

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It has been suggested that Vespucci, in the two letters published during his lifetime, exaggerated his role and created deliberate fabrications. Scholars now believe that the two letters were not written by him; they were fabrications by others, based (in part) on genuine letters by Vespucci. The publication and widespread circulation of the letters may have led Waldseemüller to name the new continent America on his 1507 world map in Lorraine. Vespucci used a Latinised form of his name – Americus Vespucius – in his Latin writings, which Waldseemüller used as a base for the new name (its feminine form, America). According to the book accompanying the map, "I do not see what right any one would have to object to calling this part, after Americus who discovered it and who is a man of intelligence, Amerige, that is, the Land of Americus, or America: since both Europa and Asia got their names from women". Vespucci may not have been aware that Waldseemüller named the continent after him.

On February 22, 1512, Amerigo Vespucci died of malaria in Seville, Spain. He was just a month shy of 58 years old.


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