|Giovanni da Verrazzano - Explorer (1485 – 1528)|
Giovanni da Verrazzano (aka da Verazzano & da Verrazano) was an Italian born explorer and navigator who sailed for France. Following a period of piracy/privateering for King Francis I of France, he explored the North East coast of America and discovered present day New York harbour and Narragansett Bay. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, linking Staten Island and Brooklyn, was named after him.
This page details facts about Giovanni da Verrazzano's life and the events that shaped his history.
|Giovanni da Verrazzano the Explorer - Fun Facts for Kids !|
|Giovanni da Verrazzano Fact 1:||Giovanni da Verrazzano was born in 1485 near Val di Greve, Florence in Italy. His family were wealthy and provided him with a good education.|
|Giovanni da Verrazzano Fact 2:||Around 1506 Giovanni da Verrazzano is believed to have moved to Dieppe, in France, where he began his maritime career.|
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Sailing on behalf of King Francis I, Giovanni da Verrazzano practiced piracy and privateering. Preying on both Portuguese and Spanish ships, it is generally believed that one of his victims was a Spanish treasure ship. The ship had been sent from Mexico to King Charles V of Spain by Hernando Cortes, and was loaded with a cargo of gold valued at approximately two million dollars.
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Giovanni da Verrazzano appears to have operated under various aliases during the period including, Jean/Juan Florin and Florentin (The Florentine).
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In 1523 King Francis I of Spain commissioned Giovanni da Verrazzano to undertake a voyage of exploration to the New World. Giovanni da Verrazzano began his expedition with a small fleet of four ships.
|Giovanni da Verrazzano Fact 6:||Soon after setting out the fleet encountered a storm. The storm was severe and caused the loss of two ships. The remaining ships, the ‘Dauphine’ (with Giovanni da Verrazzano on board) and the ‘Normande’, were both damaged and returned to Brittany for repairs. Following the repairs, the expedition resumed with the two remaining ships until a change of plan that would see Giovanni da Verrazzano continuing with only one ship, the ‘Dauphine’.|
|Giovanni da Verrazzano Fact 7:||On 17th January 1524, with fifty men and sufficient supplies for eight months, Giovanni da Verrazzano headed west from the Portuguese island Madeira. On 24th February he encountered another violent storm. The ship managed to survive the storm and in March 1524 Giovanni da Verrazzano arrived at the New World near Cape Fear, North Carolina.|
|Giovanni da Verrazzano Fact 8:||Giovanni da Verrazzano headed south in search of an anchorage, however he was unable to find one so turned around and headed north along the North Carolina coast. Throughout the journey he wrote accounts of both the land and the American tribes he came into contact with.|
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It was heading north that led Giovanni da Verrazzano to discover the Bay of New York at the entrance of what is now known as the Hudson River (named after Henry Hudson who explored the area in 1609). Whilst there he gave the name ‘Angouleme’ to a harbour he discovered. That harbour is now known as Manhattan.
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Giovanni da Verrazzano anchored in a straight between Long and Staten Islands. This straight is now known as Verrazano’s Narrows. He then continued his exploration stopping at Narragansett Bay before sailing on to Maine and Newfoundland.
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Concluding this expedition, Giovanni da Verrazzano returned to France reaching Dieppe on 8th July 1524. While there he wrote a letter to Francis I, the King of France. This letter describes the land and inhabitants of the east coast of the United States of America, and is the earliest record known to exist.
|Giovanni da Verrazzano Fact 12:||It is generally believed that Giovanni da Verrazzano made two further voyages, the first in 1527 when he sailed to Brazil and returned with a profitable cargo of a red dye wood.|
|Giovanni da Verrazzano Fact 13:||The second and final voyage is the subject of some speculation. One version tells how Giovanni da Verrazzano was captured by the Spanish and executed for piracy in November 1527. The other version describes how Giovanni da Verrazzano sailed to the Lesser Antilles, anchored near one of the islands (possibly Guadeloupe) and went ashore by boat. He was met by natives who proved to be cannibals. They promptly killed and ate him in view of the men on his ship.|
|Giovanni da Verrazzano the Explorer (1485 - 1528) Fun Facts Info for Kids !|