Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci is best known for his namesake: the continents of North and South America. But why were these continents named after him, especially since his voyages happened after Christopher Columbus arrived on the continent, in 1492? 

Vespucci was the first person to recognize North and South America as distinct continents that were previously unknown to Europeans, Asians and Africans, according to Avihu Zakai (“Exile and Kingdom: History and Apocalypse in the Puritan Migration to America“, Cambridge University Press, 2002). Prior to Vespucci’s discovery, explorers, including Columbus, had assumed that the New World was part of Asia. Vespucci made his discovery while sailing near the tip of South America in 1501, according to The New World Encyclopaedia.


Source link