Cradled in the valley of the Arno, its noble architecture fitly supplementing its numerous natural charms, lies the Tuscan city of Florence, the birthplace of immortal Dante, the early home of Michael Angelo, the seat of the Florentine Medici, the scene of Savonarola's triumphs and his tragic end. Fame has come to many sons of Florence, as poets, statesmen, sculptors, painters, travellers; but perhaps none has achieved a distinction so unique, apart, and high as the subject of this volume, after whom the continents of the western hemisphere were named.
Amerigo Vespucci was born in Florence, March 9, 1451, just one hundred and fifty years after Dante was banished from the city in which both first saw the light. The Vespucci family had then resided in that city more than two hundred years, having come from Peretola, a little town adjacent, where the name was highly regarded, as attached to the most respected of the Italian nobility. Following the custom of that nobility, during the period of unrest in Italy, the Vespuccis established themselves in a stately mansion near one of the city gates, which is known as the Porta del Prato. Thus they were within touch of the gay society of Florence, and could enjoy its advantages, while at the same time in a position, in the event of an uprising, to flee to their estates and stronghold in the country.
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About the Author
In 1872, he abandoned his business pursuits to hunt in Florida. In 1874 he made a second trip, successfully explored Lake Okeechobee, and published in periodicals a description of the lake and its shores. From 1876 to 1878 he made ornithological surveys to the Lesser Antilles where he discovered 22 bird taxa new to science. Two of them - the Lesser Antillean flycatcher and the Montserrat oriole - were named in his honor by his colleague George Newbold Lawrence.
In 1881, moved by a desire to see the vestiges of early American civilization, he journeyed through Mexico, and during that and two subsequent trips gathered the material for several books. On his return from various explorations he prepared accounts of his travels at the request of scientific societies, and later a series of popular lectures, illustrated with photographic views, projected by the magic lantern. His lectures, originally delivered before the Lowell Institute in Boston, included "Mexico, Historical and Picturesque," "Ancient Cities of Mexico," "The Mexican Indian," "Adventures in the West Indies," and "Through Florida with Gun and Camera."
Ober was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1893.
Ober died May 31, 1913, in his home in Hackensack, New Jersey. He was among the founders of the Explorers Club in 1904.
Table of Contents
I. YOUNG AMERIGO AND HIS FAMILY
II. AMERIGO'S FRIENDS AND TEACHERS
III. VESPUCCI'S FAVORITE AUTHORS
IV. IN THE SERVICE OF SPAIN
V. CONVERSATIONS WITH COLUMBUS
VI. VESPUCCI'S DEBATABLE VOYAGE
VII. VESPUCCI'S "SECOND" VOYAGE
VIII. WITH OJEDA THE FIGHTER
IX. CANNIBALS, GIANTS, AND PEARLS
X. FAMOUS FELLOW-VOYAGERS
XI. ON THE COAST OF BRAZIL
XII. THE "FOURTH PART OF THE EARTH"
XIII. THE FOURTH GREAT VOYAGE
XIV. KING FERDINAND'S FRIEND
XV. PILOT-MAJOR OF SPAIN
XVI. HOW AMERICA WAS NAMED