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Cabot, John (c. 1450–c. 1498)

Born Giovanni Caboto (or Cabato) in one of the Italian states, John Cabot first surfaces in Venetian records in 1476, when he gained citizenship after fifteen years of residence. Married to a Venetian, Mattia, in 1484, Cabot gained a reputation as an expert navigator and ship captain in the service of Venice. In 1496, perhaps inspired by the rush of proposals following Christopher Columbus’s voyages, Cabot approached England’s King Henry VII for sponsorship in a voyage across the North Atlantic. Henry VII, reluctant to challenge Spanish claims in the Atlantic because of treaty obligations, agreed to lend his patronage to an exploration of the northern latitudes. In lieu of cash financing, he waived customs duties for profitable products brought back and encouraged nobles to invest in the plan in exchange for 20 percent of any eventual profits. An abortive 1496 expedition from Bristol was followed by the May 20, 1497, launch of the ship Matthew, with the support and investment of Bristol merchants and fishermen. Cabot sailed west to Ireland and then westward across the Atlantic on a route that fell between 51 and 55 degrees north latitude. After thirty-five days at sea, Cabot and his crew of eighteen made landfall on June 24, 1497, not in Japan, as they had hoped, but somewhere on the coast of Canada between Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula and Cape Breton Island. He described the landfall as “the mainland and some islands” and reported encountering native people who used ochre and supplied him with a needle and snares for small game. Cabot and the crew enacted a formal ceremony claiming the land for England, noted the large number of trees that could provide masts for ships, then collected fresh water and sailed east for fifteen days, arriving off the coast of Brittany. Henry VII was delighted to receive Cabot back in London in August 1497 and rewarded him with 10 pounds in gold and a pension of 20 pounds per year to be taken from the Bristol customs revenue. The following year, Cabot collected London investors and ships for a six-vessel expedition to the North Atlantic. Again, he hoped to open a lucrative spice trade between England and the East Indies, and departed with trade goods for prospective negotiations. Cabot failed to return from this voyage, although one ship that had turned back made it to England. In 1501, explorer Gaspar Corte-Real discovered a broken Italian sword in Canada, which he proposed must have been Cabot’s, but there is no trace or record of his survival. In 1508, Cabot’s son, Sebastian, who probably also had gone on the 1497 voyage, sailed for Labrador in the employ of a consortium of Bristol and Azores merchants. A gifted cartographer, Sebastian later went into the pay of the Spanish monarchy and claimed nothing further for England. Henry VII and his son Henry VIII were increasingly bound by French and Spanish interests not to interfere in exploration claims, but the timber and cod fishing intrigued English merchants. Through Cabot’s expedition, the monarchy did, however, establish a tenuous claim on Canada and the Americas that British rulers called back into play at the time of Queen Elizabeth I in the 1590s. Cabot himself is the subject of intense national interest in Canada, where numerous towns wish to claim the prestige of his landfall. He also serves as a viable alternative for English-speaking Canadians to the French Catholic explorer Jacques Cartier as the true European founder of the country. The Italian navigator John Cabot and his son, Sebastian, sailing under the flag of England, depart from Bristol on their first voyage of discovery in May 1497, seeking Cathay. They landed somewhere on the Newfoundland coast. (Brown Brothers, Sterling, Pennsylvania) Margaret Sankey See also: Exploration; Newfoundland; Document: John Cabot’s Discovery of North America (1497). Bibliography Pope, Peter Edward. The Many Landfalls of John Cabot. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997. Simons, Eric N. Into Unknown Waters: John and Sebastian Cabot. London: D. Dobson, 1964. Williams, Alan F. John Cabot and Newfoundland. St. John’s, Canada: Newfoundland Historical Society, 1996. Did an English expedition BEAT Columbus to the Americas? Record of … travelquaz

Cabot, John (c. 1450–c. 1498)

John Cabot – Wikiwand travelquaz

Cabot, John (c. 1450–c. 1498)

Caboto Stock Photos & Caboto Stock Images – Alamy travelquaz

Cabot, John (c. 1450–c. 1498)

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