Today in the Middle Ages: May 13, 1501

Amerigo Vespucci departed Lisbon on May 13, 1501 on the voyage that would put his name on two continents.

Vespucci, a Florentine cartographer and navigator, made his second New World voyage in the service of Portugal. He reached the coast of South America and claimed to have gone as far south as Patagonia, although internal evidence in his letters suggests this claims is exaggerated. He corrected Columbus' error that the New World was a part of Asia.

Contrary to popular legend, Vespucci did not name the Americas for himself. The name America was first applied by German printer Martin Waldseemüller in his 1507 atlas, Cosmographiae introductio.