Sebastian Cabot


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Cabot, Sebastian,

b. 1483–86?, d. 1557, explorer in English and Spanish service; son of John CabotCabot, John,
fl. 1461–98, English explorer, probably b. Genoa, Italy. He became a citizen of Venice in 1476 and engaged in the Eastern trade of that city. This experience, it is assumed, was the stimulus of his later explorations.
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. He may well have accompanied his father on the 1497 and 1498 voyages, and he was for many years given the credit for his father's achievements. In the 19th cent., scholars, finding discrepancies in the Sebastian stories, branded him an impostor and applied his accounts to the 1498 voyage of John Cabot. However, recent research indicates that the Sebastian narratives relate to a later voyage (1509) made in search of the Northwest PassageNorthwest Passage,
water routes through the Arctic Archipelago, N Canada, and along the northern coast of Alaska between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Even though the explorers of the 16th cent.
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. He may have reached Hudson Bay. In 1512 he entered Spanish service and in 1518 became chief pilot. After the return of Magellan's ship Victoria, he sailed (1526) from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with the ostensible purpose of loading spices in the Moluccas. Instead he explored the Río de la Plata country, spending several years along the Paraguay, Plata, and Paraná rivers, but the hostility of the Native Americans and the scarcity of food forced him to leave the country. He returned to Spain in 1530, a distrusted and discredited man. In 1548 he reentered English service, and in 1553 he became governor of a joint-stock company (later the Muscovy CompanyMuscovy Company
or Russia Company,
first major English joint-stock trading company. It began in 1553 as a group supporting exploration of a possible northeast passage to Asia.
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) organized to seek a Northeast PassageNortheast Passage,
water route along the northern coast of Europe and Asia, between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Beginning in the 15th cent., efforts were made to find a new all-water route to India and China.
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 and open trade with China. Under his instructions an expedition sailed the same year under Sir Hugh Willoughby, who was lost in midvoyage and was replaced by Richard ChancellorChancellor, Richard,
d. 1556, English navigator. When, largely under the inspiration of Sebastian Cabot, a group of men in England undertook to finance a search for the Northeast Passage to Asia, Chancellor was chosen as second in command under Sir Hugh Willoughby.
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. The expedition reached the White Sea, and a commercial treaty was negotiated with Russia, breaking the monopoly of the Hanseatic LeagueHanseatic League
, mercantile league of medieval German towns. It was amorphous in character; its origin cannot be dated exactly. Originally a Hansa was a company of merchants trading with foreign lands.
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.

Bibliography

See C. R. Beazley, John and Sebastian Cabot: The Discovery of North America (1964); R. C. Howard, Bristol and the Cabots (1967); R. Biddle, A Memoir of Sebastian Cabot (repr. 1970); David Goodnough, John Cabot and Son (1979).

References in periodicals archive ?
French, played with fastidious dry wit by Sebastian Cabot in the original, is essayed here by Tim Curry in a manner so campy it makes his work in ``The Rocky Horror Picture Show'' seem understated by comparison.
25pm - 7pm) Walt Disney's classic animation, based on Rudyard Kipling's stories, with the voices of Phil Harris and Sebastian Cabot.
Sterling Hayden, Sebastian Cabot, Carol Kelly and Eugene Martin head the cast.