The discovery of a new continent - Maxicours
Two men are associated with the discovery of the American continent: Amerigo Vespucci and Christopher Columbus. We will examine their life and their contribution to the discovery.
1. Amerigo Vespucci
He was born in 1454 and died in 1512.

He was born into one of the most cultured families in all of Florence (Italy). Amerigo Vespucci was chosen to manage all the financial affairs of the Pier Francesco House of Medici. This job gave him a great deal of excess money of his own.

Early in 1493, he became a sailor and explorer who made several journeys across the Atlantic and claimed to have been the first to have seen South America in 1497.

The name "America" is said to have been based on his first name. Some people have suggested other origins.

Amerigo Vespucci heard sailors telling stories about "the most famous voyage ever taken place", the voyage of the Portuguese Bartolomeu Dias to the Cape of Good Hope in 1488. He also heard occasional mention of the Italian Christopher Columbus who had been granted ships in order to find a western route to India.

2. Christopher Columbus
He was born in 1451. He was an Italian sailor who was the first European to discover America in 1492 by mistake while seeking gold.

He had persuaded King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to pay for his attempt to find a new route to Asia by crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

When he arrived at one of the Caribbean islands, he thought he had landed in Asia and he continued to believe it for the rest of his life. He named the local people Indians (which was a mistake since he had landed in America and not in India).

He made three more journeys to America but they were not commercially successful and he lost favour. He died in poverty in 1506.

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