Amerigo Vespucci born March 9, 1451 and died February 22, 1512) was an Italian merchant, explorer and cartographer. He played a role in 2 voyages which explored the east coast of South America between 1499 and 1502. On the second of these voyages he discovered that South America extended much further south than was previously believed. . This convinced him that this land was in fact a new not continent not Asia which was was the belief at that time In 1507, Martin Waldseemuller produced a world map on which he named the new continent "America" after Vespucci's first name, Amerigo. In an accompanying book, Waldseemuller published one of the Vespucci accounts, which led to criticisms of Vespucci as trying to usurp Christopher Columbus's glory. However, the rediscovery in the eighteenth century of other letters by Vespucci has led to the view that the early published accounts were fabrications, not by Vespucci, but by others.