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Renaissance
Amerigo Vespucci



Amerigo Vespucci
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.33

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    columbia, far-stretching, mapmaker, Mundus, mapmakers, navigator, best, controversy, original, encompass, various, religion, shores, basis, route, evidence
     content words:    Renaissance Europe, Christopher Columbus, Atlantic Ocean, West Indies, South America, Mundus Novus, Martin WaldseemÃ1/4ller, Americus Vespucius, North America, Amerigo Vespucci


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Amerigo Vespucci
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     Students in Renaissance Europe learned about three continents. To the south of their own continent there was Africa, and to the east there was Asia. Europeans had made long and dangerous journeys to Asia for years. By the 1400s, mapmakers and geographers were starting to think that there might be a better way. Maybe it was possible to sail west across the ocean to Asia.
 
2     That was the route that Christopher Columbus was looking for when he sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. Columbus never found his way to China or the West Indies as he had hoped, but he believed that he was getting close.
 
3     Amerigo Vespucci's voyages took a similar route to the one taken by Columbus. He landed on the shores of South America and traveled up and down the coast, exploring as he went.
 
4     He sent back letters along the way. In his letters, he told stories about the native people of the various places where he landed. He told interesting details about the foods that they ate, the way they practiced their religion, and their family life. People all over Europe enjoyed his letters, and the letters were published in many languages.
 
5     Vespucci came to a different conclusion than Columbus about where he had landed, and he wrote about that, too. In one of his letters, named "Mundus Novus" or "New World", he said, "We learned that the land is not an island, but a continent, because it extends along far-stretching shores that do not encompass it, and it is populated by numerous inhabitants."

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