As Columbus was ignorant of having found a new continent, so was he denied the honor of giving it a name, this falling by accident, design, or carelessness of truth, to Amerigo Vespucci, a native of Florence, whose active years were spent in Spain and Portugal. Vespucci made three voyages into the western seas. In the second, 1501, he visited the coast of Brazil, and pushed farther south than any navigator had yet done, probably so far as the island of South Georgia, in latitude 54 degrees.
His account of this voyage found its way into print in 1504, at Augsburg, Germany, the first published narrative of any discovery of the mainland. Although, as above noted, it was not the earliest discovery of the main, it was widely regarded such, and caused Vespucci to be named for many years as the peer, if not the superior of Columbus. The publication ran through many editions. That of Strassburg, 1505, mentioned Vespucci on its title-page as having discovered a new "Southern Land." This is the earliest known utterance hinting at the continental nature of the new discovery, as separate from Asia, an idea which grew into a conviction only after Magellan's voyage, described in the next chapter. In 1507 appeared at St. Die, near Strassburg, a four-page pamphlet by one Lud, secretary to the Duke of Lorraine, describing Vespucci's voyages and speaking of the Indians as the "American race." This pamphlet came out the same year in another form, as part of a book entitled "Introduction to Cosmography," prepared by Martin Waldseemuller, under the nom de plume of "Hylacomylus." In this book the new "part of the world" is distinctly called "THE LAND OF AMERICUS, OR AMERICA," There is some evidence that Vespucci at least connived at the misapprehension which brought him his renown—as undeserved as it has become permanent--but this cannot be regarded as proved.

See also: 1493-1500


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