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Amerigo Vespucci - Forgotten Namesake of America

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Everyone knows Columbus, but few know Vespucci. And yet, the continent of America was named after the banker and explorer Amerigo Vespucci. This film attempts to find the truth about the almost unknown Italian – was he a swindler, as was later claimed, or a daring navigator who first recognised the significance of Columbus’ discovery ?

A banker from Florence, sent to Seville in 1491 by the Medici banking house, Vespucci met Columbus and helped finance an expedition to reach Asia on the western route. Until he died, Columbus remained convinced he’d landed in India, but Vespucci set out to see for himself. His report on his voyages, ‘Mundus Novus’, was a bestseller, and he mapped a large part of the unknown coast. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller noted a name on a map of this new continent: America. Vespucci may have been forgotten, but his name lives on.