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portrait of Amerigo Vespucci

Portrait of an Explorer

Skeptical that Christopher Columbus had discovered a route to India, Amerigo Vespucci consulted the journals of Marco Polo, says Gregory Hedberg, donor of a portrait of the explorer to the James Ford Bell Library. The costumes described by Polo and Columbus didn’t match up, so Vespucci sailed from Europe to learn more. It was he, Hedberg says, who determined that the land now known as South America was new to Europeans.

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