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Vespucci, Amerigo ( March 1454–22 February 1512), merchant and explorer after whom America is named, was born in Florence, Italy, the son of Nastagio Vespucci, a notary, and Lisa Mini. The date 9 March is often cited as his birth date as a result of confusion with an Amerigo Vespucci, born on 9 March 1451 and otherwise unrecorded, who can be presumed to have died in infancy. The explorer Vespucci’s family was wealthy and well connected. He was educated by his uncle Giorgio Antonio Vespucci, confessing, in a letter of 1476, the imperfection of the Latin he acquired. From 1478 to 1480 he accompanied his uncle Guido Antonio Vespucci on an embassy to Paris. From 1484, an extensive series of letters shows him at intervals in various Tuscan ports, probably engaged in family business. By 1488 he was in the employ of Lorenzo di Pier Francesco dei Medici, with whose family he established a relationship of confidence....