HAPPY AMERIGO VESPUCCI DAY!
Governor Nelson Rockefeller declared March 9th “Amerigo Vespucci Day” in 1959 to celebrate and honor the man who gave his name to the continent of America. Vespucci was born on March 9, 1451.
Rockefeller felt Vespucci’s admirable spirit and willingness to put himself in uncomfortable and unknown circumstances for the quest of knowledge portrayed the spirit of the many immigrants and peoples who make up the United States.
Vespucci was an Italian explorer who travelled to the Western hemisphere, journeyed up and down the South American coast, and declared that this newfound land was not a part of Asia, but another body of land entirely separate. Prior to Vespucci’s explorations, other Europeans who visited the Americas, including Columbus, thought that the area was part of Asia.
Many people think instead of celebrating Columbus Day, we should celebrate Amerigo Vespucci Day since he was the real discoverer of the separate continents of the Americas.
Here is Visscher’s map of the Americas from 1677. It shows California as an island, which was a common misconception in the 17th century.
Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.
Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.