John Cabot


John Cabot was the first European since the Vikings to explore the mainland of North America and the first to search for the Northwest Passage.






  Giovanni Caboto was born in 1450 in Italy.  When he was eleven he moved to Venice.

  The next known thing about Giovanni is that he went to work for King Henry VII of England.  He came then to be known as John Cabot the English explorer.

  On his first voyage, he left from Bristol with one ship on the mission to look for Hy-Brazil, an island that was supposed to be in the Atlantic Ocean.  But John had to turn back after reaching Iceland due to controversies with the crew.

  Then on his second expedition he again only took one boat, and 18 crew members.  The ships name was Matthew.  It was a small ship, but was fast and able.  Historians aren't sure if he left on May 2 or May 20 of 1497, but he sailed to Dursey Head, Ireland.  From there he was able to land on the coast of Newfoundland on June 24, 1497.

  John and his crew were probably the earliest Europeans to set foot on North America since the age of the Vikings.  They explored around the continent until July 6, then they headed home.

  On the way back to England, the sailors thought they were traveling to far north, so John sailed a little farther south.  They ended up reaching Brittany (a province in France) instead of England.  They didn't end up getting back to Bristol until August 6.

  While back in England Cabot was named Admiral, given a patent for another trip, and given a pension.

  In 1498 John left again, but this time he took five ships.  After starting though one of the ships had to return because it took some damage during a storm, but it started out again after getting fixed.

  That was the last time anyone heard anything about Cabot and the rest of his crew.  It is believed the expedition got lost at sea.   


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