Stefan Zweig: Amerigo, the story of a historical error

Ed. Elliot pp. 130 "Whoever expects justice from history demands more than it wants to give: often ascribes deeds and immortality to the simple and mediocre man and leaves the best, the bravest and the wisest in the dark."

In this way Stefan Zweig closes his essay on the story of the attribution of the name "America" ​​to the new continent.

Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) dies suicide with his wife on the same day as the publication of his latest study, as well as on the day of the death of Americo Vespucci (February 22).
As you have already understood, the book is not the biography of Amerigo Vespucci but the history of the mistakes that led to the name of Amerigo and not Colombo, the first to reach the continent (after dark ages).
A chain of errors and jokes of fate that starts from a harmless suggestion of a forgotten man, Waldseemuller, who wrote: "... because Amerigo discovered it from today it could be called land of Amerigo that is America ".
In fact, Amerigo was perhaps the first to realize that the earth (ri) discovered by Columbus was not Spice India but a new continent, immense and perhaps more like the earthly paradise of sacred texts than the Indies of spices and silks. .
Amerigo wrote in his letters: "If in the World is any Earthly Paradise, no doubt it must be not very far from these places [..] a country where souls are not upset by the struggle for money, for possession, for power A country where there are no princes or tax collectors, where it is not necessary to wear oneself to earn the daily bread, where the earth still nourishes man and man with eternity is not eternally an enemy of his fellow man. "
It is the hope in the Earthly Paradise, "ancient hope, religious, messianic, that this unknown Vesputius reawakens with his relation" to Laurentius Petrus Franciscus de Medici that will make the civilized world want to conquer America. It is the mistake and perhaps the bad faith of some publishers of the time that makes the name America be attributed to the new earth.
An intense book, to read and reread, to study and deepen, even in memory of Stefan Zweig, a great scholar perhaps a little forgotten.
Alessandro Rugolo