John Cabot (born as Giovanni Caboto, 1450-1499) was well known Italian navigator who while sailing under English flag became first European after Viking explorers who interacted with the North American mainland. Only few short years after Christopher Columbus discovery of New Indies, Cabot reached the shores of Newfoundland, claiming it for England.
John Cabot was born in Italian port of Genoa as a son of spice merchant Guilo Caboto. From very young age he became connected to the sea, especially after his family moved to Venice where their business became very lucrative. After many years of sailing and transporting exotic spices that land merchant brought from the Far East, John Cabot finally realized that he must find a way to personally visit those spice regions and transport the goods directly to the Europe, without the need of land based traders. For that purpose he dedicated much of his early life to learning navigation, cartography, astronomy, mathematics and seamanship. During that period of time, several navigators managed greatly to stir imagination and ambition of John Cabot – 1488 discovery of Cape of Good Hope by Bartholomeu Dias and 1492 discovery of West Indies and “The New World” by Christopher Columbus. When that happened, Calbot new that he must secure government funded mission which would enable him to reach Asia.
In early 1490s John Cabot and his family (wife Mattea and three sons) moved to Bristol, England where he started petitioning for government support. His impressive reputation and great knowledge of seas soon managed to reach the ears of English Tudor King Henry VII who hoped to form his own exploratory fleet and secure newfound lands and riches for his country. On May 2 1497 John Calbot set sail on his ship Matthew and went to East with hope of reaching India, or at least sea passage through Columbus’ new land that would lead it to Asia. After 55 days on the sea, Calbot and his crew reached New World (either Cape Breton Island or Labrador) which made him second European explorer who set his foot on North American continent.
Their return home brought great attention from English community and government, who quickly gathered funds for another more ambitious mission. On July 25 1498 5 ships and 300 sailors embarked from the port of Bristol under the leadership of John Cabot, visiting Labrador, Greenland, Nova Scotia and New England.
Shortly after returning home, John Cabot died from unknown cause sometime in 1499. Even though he did not manage to find route to India, his discoveries paved the way for countless of future explorers to visit North America and form permanent settlements, which would later cause permanent English colonization of United States and Canada.
|Known As (Other Names)
|Giovanni Caboto, Zuan Chabotto, Giovanni Chabotte, Juan Caboto, Jean Caboto
|Place of Birth
|Either Castiglione Chiavarese, Republic of Genoa or Gaeta, Kingdom of Naples
|First European since the Vikings to explore the mainland of North America
|Ludovico, Sebastian, Sancto
|Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland