John Cabot


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Cabot, 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. Like ColumbusColumbus, Christopher,
Ital. Cristoforo Colombo , Span. Cristóbal Colón , 1451–1506, European explorer, b. Genoa, Italy. Early Years
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 (though there is no evidence that either influenced the other), he apparently believed that the riches of East Asia might be more easily reached by sailing west. He went to England, probably in the 1480s, and resided chiefly at Bristol, a port then promising as a base for discovery. Under a patent granted by Henry VII (Mar. 5, 1496), Cabot made a first voyage in 1496, but turned back because of bad weather. In 1497 Cabot again sailed from Bristol and discovered the North American coast, touching at Cape Breton Island or Newfoundland. In 1498 he sailed a third time for America to explore the coast. The fate of the expedition is unknown, although there is presumptive evidence that it reached America and that some of its members returned. The English claims in North America were based on his discovery. His son was Sebastian CabotCabot, Sebastian,
b. 1483–86?, d. 1557, explorer in English and Spanish service; son of John Cabot. 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.
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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); D. Goodnough, John Cabot and Son (1979); D. Hunter, The Race to the New World (2011).

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Dr Evan Jones, a historian at Bristol University, has discovered that a Bristol merchant, William Weston, undertook a voyage to the New Found Land in 1499, just two years after the first voyage of Venetian explorer John Cabot who sailed from Bristol to North America in 1497.
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