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, or Amerigo Vespucci, a navigator from whose name the largest quarter of the world has

, or Amerigo Vespucci, a navigator from whose name the largest quarter of the world has very unjustly been named, was born at Florence, March 9, 1451, of a distinguished family, and educated by an uncle, a man of learning- who had the care of the education of the Florentine nobility. Vespucci made great progress in natural philosophy, astronomy, and cosmography, the principal branches in which the Florentine nobility were instructed, because being for the most part destined for commerce, it was necessary they should become acquainted with the sciences connected with navigation. Commerce had been the foundation of the grandeur and prosperity of the republic, and as each family educated some member who was to serve his country in that pursuit, that of Vespucci chose Amerigo, or Americus, to follow the example of their ancestors in this respect. Accordingly he left Florence in 1490, and went to Spain, to be initiated in mercantile life. He is said to have been at Seville in 1492, when Columbus was preparing for a new voyage, and the rage for new discoveries was at its height. The success of that celebrated navigator raised this passion in Americus, who determined to give up the pursuit of trade, in order to go and reconnoitre the new world, of whose existence Europe had just heard.