SH Archive Vespucci: no direct evidence America is named after him OP Username
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2020-06-09 13:14:59 Reaction Score
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(I originally posted this as a reply in the America: Origins of the Word thread, however I want more people to investigate the origins of the word America and see if anyone could come up with direct concrete evidence that America is named after Vespucci if the new continents were in fact named after him)

Hello all...sorry I've been incognito on posting for a little bit...been doing a lot studying on my own...but I have these observations to make...I admit I haven't researched this topic much lately, so I'm going to share what I've more or else noticed looking into this topic today...feel free to look into these observations and find some more evidence so that we can try to keep the possibilities open as to the real identity of America...

The Map That Named America (September 2003) - Library of Congress Information Bulletin

The Waldseemuller Map of the World of 1507 is said to be the first document with the name America appearing and is the first map to depict a full and separate Western Hemisphere with the Pacific Ocean as a separate body of water. Waldseemuller's name doesn't appear on the map. There is only one original map that is said to exist today, which is in possession of the Library of Congress. The original copy was said to have been owned by Johannes Schoner, a Nuremberg astronomer and cartographer, but was then found by a Jesuit cartographer and historian Joseph Fischer in 1901 in the Schloss Wolfegg in Wurttemberg, Germany (so until a Jesuit found this original reference to Amerigo Vespucci in 1901, there actually was no physical reference to any "source" connecting his namesake with the Americas). The western coast of America were called Terra Incognita (Unknown Land) and Terra Ulterior Incognita (Unknown Land Beyond), while only a part of South America bears the name America.

Waldseemüller map - Wikipedia

This Library of Congress article makes no reference to Waldseemuller, who was born in Germany, being involved with the Jesuits. Instead, we have a French connection:

Martin Waldseemüller, the primary author of the 1507 world map, was a 16th-century scholar, humanist, cleric and cartographer who was part of the small intellectual circle, the Gymnasium Vosagense, in Saint-Dié, France. He was born near Freiburg, Germany, sometime in the 1470s and died in the canon house at Saint-Dié in 1522. During his lifetime he devoted much of his time to cartographic ventures, including, in the spring 1507, the famous world map, a set of globe gores (for a globe with a three-inch diameter), and the "Cosmographiae Introductio" (a book to accompany the map). He also prepared the 1513 edition of the Ptolemy "Geographiae"; the "Carta Marina," a large world map, in 1516; and a smaller world map in the 1515 edition of "Margarita Philosophica Nova."

Thus, in a remote part of northeast France, was born the famous 1507 world map, whose full title is "Universalis cosmographia secunda Ptholemei traditionem et Americi Vespucci aliorum que lustrationes" ("A drawing of the whole earth following the tradition of Ptolemy and the travels of Amerigo Vespucci and others"). That map, printed on 12 separate sheets, each 18-by-24-inches, from wood block plates, measured more than 4 feet by 8 feet in dimension when assembled.

There is no mention on the map (Universalis Cosmographia or Universal Cosmography) itself or in the Cosmographiae Introductio stating that America is named after Amerigo Vespucci, but that the MAP ITSELF is based on the tradition Claudius Ptolemy (who is said to have lived 1500 years prior from 100-170 AD) and the TRAVELS of Amerigo Vespucci and others. Both men are pictured on top of the map. Interestingly, America only appears once in name on this map and that location is in South America (possible connection to Inca Amarcu?)

The Cosmographiæ introductio of Martin Waldseemüller in facsimile, followed by the Four voyages of Amerigo Vespucci, with their translation into English; : Waldseemüller, Martin, 1470-1521? : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Pg. 29 of the Cosmographiae Introductio states that it is odd that Vespucci sent an account of his voyages from Portugal to Duke Rene II, the Duke of Lorraine in the French language. Rene II had helped form the Gynasium Vosagense in Saint-Die, France under the leadership of Walter Lud. Matthias Ringmann and Martin Waldseemuller were brought in to publish new editions of Ptolemy's Geography. Ringmann was inspired by Mundus Novus, a booklet attributed to Vespucci about his voyage to the coast of modern-day Brazil. Ringmann was also said to have been inspired by classical writers that wrote about a giant continent on the other side of the world, which he believed Vespucci encountered. The Wikipedia entry then mentions that America is named after Vespucci and states:

The Soderini Letter gave Vespucci credit for discovery of this new continent and implied that the Portuguese map was based on his explorations. They decided to put aside the Geography for the moment and publish a brief Introduction to Cosmography with an accompanying world map. The Introduction was written by Ringmann and included a Latin translation of the Soderini Letter. In a preface to the Letter, Ringmann wrote
Matthias Ringmann - Wikipedia

However, the Soderini Letter is said to be a forgery which attempts to credit Vespucci over Columbus for discovering the new lands. Funny that the only direct source naming Vespucci to the Americas naming doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.

The Wiki footnote on Ringmann's Wikipedia entry to the above quote from the Soderini Letter references pg. 185 of the book Amerigo: The Man Who Gave His Name to America by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto.


Pg. 47 of the Cosmographiae Introducto states that Waldseemuller now believed the New World should not be attributed to Amerigo Vespucci, who he supposedly attributed it to in 1507 when his map was published. He states this in a letter to his friend, Philesius (Matthias) Ringmann, but his maps had reached 1,000 copies printed throughout Europe, which was said to have been a large dissemination for that time period. Three decades had passed and it is said the name stuck because the northern portion of the newly discovered Western hemisphere was also being referred to as America by German cartographers. Interesting that three decades go by and all that anyone could think of was calling an enormous landmass that takes up half the world after a feminized Latin first name of a cartographer previously employed by the Medici family. Again, there is no direct mention that Waldseemuller named the New World after Amerigo Vespucci, just that he used Vespucci's discoveries as a source of information for his 1507 map. If anyone can find a reference written in Latin in the Cosmographiae Introductio about Vespucci being the namesake of the New World as opposed to being an influence for Waldseemuller's map, please let us know (from my limited Latin vocabulary, it doesn't seem that Waldseemuller is naming America after Vespucci, but that he found lands in what is being called in America. Again, if someone can translate and show that Waldseemuller is naming the lands America for Amerigo Vespucci, then it is what it is, even though that still wouldn't 100% prove to me that this 1507 book which accompanies his map is the original source of naming the New World after Vespucci).

The reference to Vespucci's first name being the namesake of the New World comes from a French translation of the 1504 Soderini Letter. The House of Soderini was a Florentine nobility family. Vespucci supposedly wrote the letter himself to Piero Soderini, but the author is unknown. So, the person we have pinpointed in a quote naming the New World after Vespucci is Matthias Ringmann of the French intellectual Gymnasium Vosagense based on the aforementioned quote to the introduction of the French translation Vespucci's Soderini letter, which was originally written in Italian. So, a German humanist residing among French intellectuals is apparently able to name the New World after a cartographer, trumping the names of all nobles from the Church, the Spanish, Portuguese, and French nobility, and the entire Holy Roman Empire. I have a hard time believing higher ranking nobles such as Rene II of Lorraine would approve of a Florentine cartographer being the namesake of the New World, especially when Ringmann states Europe and Asia received women's names and the New World should have a masculine name, considering those continents were named after goddesses rather than a cartographer.

Letter to Piero Soderini, Gonfaloniere

Letter of Amerigo Vespucci to Pier Soderini 1497 < Before 1600 < Documents < American History From Revolution To Reconstruction and beyond

The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Letters of Amerigo Vespucci; and other documents illustrative of his career, by Clements R. Markham, C.B., F.R.S.

Clements Markham, president of the Hakluyt Society, published The Letters of Amerigo Vespucci and Other Documents Illustrative of His Career. He states that three of the letters attributed to Vespucci in the series of letters written to Soderini are definite forgeries. He states that his 1497-1498 voyage was, according to impartial historian Las Casas, was false, as had several modern historians. There is a lot of interesting detail in Markham's work that could be a post unto itself. He dives into the fact that Vespucci was an agent of the Medici family who was operating on their behalf in Cadiz, Spain and was in fact not a pilot of the seas.

I highly suggest reading Vespucci's letter to Soderini (or whoever authored the letter). Highlights of the letter include Vespucci stating that he made 4 voyages to the Americas: two on behalf of the King of Spain to the West and two on behalf of the King of Portugal to the South; references to the North Pole's elevation over the Canary Islands where he stated the Natives were naked and were likely afraid of the sailors because they were clothed and the Natives were not; the next land where they encounter Natives who have broad and ugly faces that seem "Tartar-like" and are great swimmers; they found changes of language every 100 leagues; he said these Natives can't be called Jews or Moors and are worse than pagans because they offer no sacrifices and have no house of prayers but are clean and live Epicurean; they hold gold and jewels to be nothing as opposed to Europeans; they landed in a harbor and found a village built like Venice with drawbridges and huts erected on thick piles; they had domesticated serpents; one tribe that was hostile to them were all "painted and feathered"; and that they arrived back in Spain in October 1498 with 222 captive slaves for sale at the port of Cadiz.

One final thought I have is looking at a list of Early world maps, I notice that the Spanish and Portuguese maps from 1500-1505 have hardly any names written on their lands of their maps, while there are many names written on lands on the Waldseemuller map. Maybe this was a cultural difference between Spanish and Portuguese cartographers as opposed to French and German cartographers, just something I noticed. Many maps before and after 1492 have many names written on lands, I just found it odd that three maps in that time period that were some of the most popular at the time had almost no names written on lands in the Old or New World.

Early world maps - Wikipedia

As an investigator, I cannot certify the naming of America 100% in the court of human minds as being attributed to Amerigo Vespucci based on the evidence presented to me. If this case cannot survive the court of law as 100% accurate proof that Vespucci is the namesake of America, then this "fact" shouldn't be peddled to the minds of children, adolescents, and adults throughout the world by the American academic and publishing institutions that operate a for-profit business rather than a nurturing education structure that promotes investigative research to life and science.
Note: This OP was recovered from BING cache.
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