If you ask the average American who discovered America you will likely hear the name “Christopher Columbus“. Widely regarded as the discoverer of America, Columbus is one of the best known historical names in the US, with a holiday in his honor, as well as countless statues and monuments of him around the world. While he is also a very controversial character in America’s history, he is undoubtedly the one most recognized for the discovery of the Americas.
There is however one less recognized person, who’s role was equally as crucial to the discovery of the “New World” as Columbus’. That man is Amerigo Vespucci. Vespucci was able to discover what Columbus never did, that the lands discovered on Columbus’ journey to discover trade routes was in fact a whole new land mass.
Employed by The Medici Family to oversee their ship-outfitting business, Vespucci actually had a part in outfitting Columbus’ ship for his third voyage. When Vespucci finally decided to outfit his own ship and set sail in 1499, what he discovered would completely shatter the time period’s conceptions of the world’s geography. When Vespucci set sail for the America’s, the Europeans where all convinced that the land discovered by Columbus was a undiscovered part of Asia. Vespucci however, drew a differing opinion concluding his numerous journeys to this land. On his second journey, Vespucci sailed down the coastline of what is today South America, and concluded that due to his ability to reach Tierra del Fuego, that landmass could not be part of Asia.
America is named after Amerigo Vespucci, despite the fact that he is by no means a household name. Much like William Dawes, the other guy who rode with Paul Revere and did not recieve nearly as much recognition, Amerigo Vespucci was a crucial part to the discovery of “The New World” to the Europeans, however he is not nearly as well recocognized as his counterpart Christopher Columbus today.