300-400 years ago a great deal of the world was undiscoveried. But now
there seems little more to explore, the wild north was conquered, the
jungle was conquered too. And it seems that all the pages of the great
book called “The Earth” has been filled in, but exploration still goes on.
In the 15th century people knew only 3 continents: Europe, Asia and
Africa. They knew nothing about America. The man who was thought to be the
discoverier of America was born in 1451 in Italy. His name was Cristopher
Knowing that the earth was round he desided to reach India by sailing to
the west. It was very difficult for him to organize an expedition as
nobody wanted to help him. At last the Spanish government gave him some
money. In the 1492 he sailed with 3 small ships in to the Atlantic ocean.
They had been sailing for more than 2 months and at last they saw land.
Columbus was certain that the lands he discoveried were part of India and
he called these islands “The West Indias”. He made 3 voyagers to America.
His last voyage was made in 1502-1504. After that, seriously ill, he
remained in Spain until his death. He died believing that Cuba was part of
Asia. Colum-buse\'s voyagers gave Europe first important knowledge of the
new world. Many places have been named in his honour. America however was
named after another explorer Amerigo Vespucci.
Americus Vespucius (or Amerigo Vespucci, as the name is spelled in
Italian) was born in Florence, Italy, in 1454. He was in Spain at the time
of Columbus\' first and second voyages. In a letter, written in 1504 and
printed in 1505, he claimed to have made four voyages, on the first of
which, in 1497, he explored the South American coast. This would make him
the first European to land on the American continent, for at that time
Columbus had only reached the outlying islands. Most scholars reject
Vespucius\' version of this voyage. Vespucius perhaps did accompany a
Spanish expedition that of Alonzo de Ojeda to South America in 1499, and
in 1501 and 1503 he probably went with Portuguese expeditions. Probably he
never commanded an expedition himself and, of course, was not the first
person to set foot on the continents to which his name is given. Vespucius
died in Seville, Spain, in 1512.
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