John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto) was European explorer and among the rare early Europeans who ventured to explore North America. It is uncertain where he was born, but the mostly believed origin is Italy. Known for his three voyages, It is believed that John Cabot might have died on his last voyage. Read on for more interesting facts about John Cabot.
Lived in Venice in his childhood
Born in 1450, as a child, he lived with his parents in Venice. He began living in Venice in 1461 and got Venetian citizenship in 1476. He married a Venetian woman, Mattea, with whom he had three sons, Ludovico, Sebastiano, and Sancio.
A spice trade merchant
He traveled to the middle-east several times to engage in spice trade. During this period, he studied making maps and globe. It was from traveling to the middle-east he developed the desire to travel more and explore the east further.
Time in Bristol
In 1495, John Cabot was in Bristol. Bristol was a famous port due its good location and the right winds. He was in Bristol when he tried to convince the British crown that it was possible to to reach Asia via routes other than that followed by Christopher Columbus.
In 1496, John Cabot and his crew left Bristol with a single ship. The ship could only reach Iceland due to bad weather, food shortage and disputes within crew.
John Cabot began his second voyage on May 2, 1497 in search of a passage to reach Asia through the North West. He departed with a small ship, “Matthew”, with just 20 crew members. 35 days since the beginnning of the journey, he found himself in Cape Breton. Then on June 24, 1497, Cabot landed on an island where he saw no signs of inhabitation. The island was called “Newfoundland”. In the waters near Newfoundland, heavy schooling by the fish was so intense that it slowed down their ship. He might have also visited Nova Scotia and Maine during this journey. He ended the voyage on 6 August by returning to England.
The final voyage
In May 1498, John Cabot departed with a fleet of five ships. The ships carried items that would help Cabot trade with foreigners. The ship crew reported that one day that they lost one ship because it was caught in the storm. After this, no news ever came from Cabot and the ships never returned. It is still not known how exactly did John Cabot die.
Discoveries of John Cabot
John Cabot discovered the North American continent for Europe. In fact, it was due to the journey of John Cabot, after which Britain gained a strong foothold on North America. The discovery of Newfoundland of Canada is attributed to John Cabot. He was among the first Europeans to set foot in the island in 1497 and did so during a mission commissioned by King Henry VII. Before him, the Norse stayed in Newfoundland for a short span of time.
John Cabot is commemorated through the Cabot Tower in Bristol.