John Cabot

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Portrait of Cabot
Newfoundland Postage stamp, 1897 issue

John Cabot (Italian: Giovanni Caboto, (1450 – 1499) was an Italian navigator and explorer.[1] In 1497, sailing westward from England in his ship Matthew, he landed in what he thought was Asia.[1] In fact he came to North America, in what is now eastern Canada, which he claimed for King Henry VII.[2] The exact place Cabot landed has not been determined. He died in England in 1499.[3]

Early years[change | change source]

Giovanni Caboto (his Italian name) was probably born in Genoa about 1450.[4] Most of his early life was not written about so much of his history is missing. When he was still young his family moved to Venice.[4] Venice was a larger seaport than Genoa and at the time was the most important in all of Europe.[4] Growing up there he learned a great deal about sailing and the sea. Cabot became an excellent sailor. His father was a trader and taught Giovanni (John) all about the spice trade.

Cabot married a young woman named Mattea (female form of the name Matthew) about 1482.[4] They had three sons who all sailed with their father.[4] By this time he was a merchant and traveled widely.[5] He and his family moved to the port of Bristol, England about 1490.[5]

Voyage to North America[change | change source]

He set sail from Bristol. Cabot sailed across the North Atlantic in about seven weeks.[6] His ship, the Matthew had a crew of 20 men. During the voyage they saw enormous quantities of Cod fish.[6] Fishermen would soon follow to take advantage of the rich fishing of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "John Cabot Biography Explorer (c. 1450–c. 1499)". Bio/A&E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  2. "John Cabot". History/A&E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  3. "John Cabot: Explorer". EnchantedLearning.com. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Robin S. Doak, Cabot: John Cabot and the Journey to North America (Minneapolis, MN: Compass Point Books, 2003), pp. 4–12
  5. 5.0 5.1 "John Cabot - c.1450 - 1498". BBC. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Doug Sylvester, World Explorers (San Diego: Classroom Complete Press Ltd, 1997), p. 36