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2004 Focus on Amerigo Vespucci

Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512)

Amerigo Vespucci was one of the early explorers of the New World, the continents of North and South America are named in his honor. He was born in Florence, Italy in 1454. Well-educated by his uncle, he became a businessman involved in trading goods. He moved to Seville, Spain in 1491 and worked in trading. He was there when Christopher Columbus returned from his first journey to the New World. He helped Columbus get ready for his second and third voyages.

Vespucci was a skilled navigator. He went on four voyages to Central and South America between 1497 and 1504 for Spain and Portugal. He went to many places, including Venezuela and Brazil. Vespucci was one of the first explorers to come up with the idea that these places he had visited were not part of Asia (as Columbus thought) but were a "New World." In 1507, a pamphlet published called "The Four Voyages of Amerigo" the author suggested that the new lands that Amerigo had explored be named in his honor.

The name America was only meant to apply to South America, later on, both continents became known by his name. After his explorations, Amerigo returned to Seville and became its Master Navigator. He died in 1512.


Past Years Themes
A Quarter Century of Celebrating

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2003 Focus on Italian Opera
Celebrating The Centennial Enrico Caruso's Debut in America
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2002 Constantino Brumidi: Artist of the United States Capitol
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Download 2002 program Book PDF
2001 Giuseppe Verdi: A Tribute to Italy's Patriotic Composer
2000 Italy in the Year 2000: Italian Heritage and Cultural Roots at the Threshold of the New Millennium
1999 The Italians of New York: Five Centuries of Struggle and Achievement
1998 New York City at 100: Italian Americans Commemorate the Immigrant Experience (Patria e famiglia)
1997 The Voyages of Giovanni Caboto: 500th Anniversary
1996 Italy and its Regions (L'Italia delle Regioni)
1995 Guglielmo Marconi: Centennial of the Radio
1994 Italian Americans in Law: From Beccaria to Scalia
1993 The Legacy of Italy's Artistic and Cultural Contributions to the World
1992 Cristoforo Colombo 500th Anniversary: The Legacy Lives on
1991 Italian Americans: The Legacy of Cristoforo Colombo
1990 William Paca: Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Jurist, 3 times Governor of the State of Maryland
1989 Italians Reaching Out: Antonio Meucci, Inventor of the Telephone, and Mother Cabrini, Missionary of the Immigrants
1988 Lorenzo Da Ponte/Academia
1987 Year of the U.S. Constitution: Mazzei and the Italian Contribution
1986 Year of Lady Liberty
1985 Building America
1984 Year of the Etruscans
1983 Italian Culture Week
1982 Italian Culture Week
1981 Italian Festival of the Arts
1980 Italian Culture Week
1979 Italian Culture Week
1978 Italian Week, Board of Education of New York
1977 Italian Culture Week
1976 Italian Culture Week


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