John Cabot

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John Cabot
John Cabot - Explorer (c1450 - c1500)

John Cabot was an Italian born explorer who became the second European (After Columbus) to find North America while searching for a westerly route to Asia. He explored the east coast of Canada and, having been commissioned by the Tudor King Henry VII, claimed the land for England. His death remains the subject of speculation.

This page details facts about John Cabot's life and the events that shaped his history.

John Cabot the Explorer - Fun Facts for Kids !
John Cabot Fact   1: John Cabot was born ‘Giovanni Caboto’, sometime around 1450 in Genoa Italy, to Giulio Caboto a spice merchant. The name Caboto is translated as ‘coastal trader’.
John Cabot Fact   2: In 1461, at the age of eleven, he moved to Venice with his family. While there he learned his father’s trade and picked up nautical skills from the seamen in the port.

John Cabot Fact   3: John Cabot married a Venetian girl, Mattea, in 1474 and went on to have three sons, Ludovico, Sancto and Sebastiano. Sebastiano would later become an explorer himself.
John Cabot Fact   4:

In 1476, having lived in Venice for fifteen years, he was granted Venetian citizenship. This allowed him to trade around the Mediterranean Sea.

Christopher Columbus
John Cabot Fact   5:

Venetian records show that he got into financial difficulties and, in November 1488, left Venice for Valencia as a debtor.

John Cabot Fact   6:

It appears likely that John Cabot had become inspired by the achievements of explorers such as Christopher Columbus and Bartholomeu Dias, when he set off for England. He settled, with his family, in Bristol in the mid 1490s.


Picture of Christopher Columbus

John Cabot Fact   7: Believing that sailing west from Europe would be a shorter route to Asia, he successfully sought financial backing for an expedition. The source of his backing is believed to be from the Florentine banking firm of the Bardi family and Henry VII, the Tudor King of England.
King Henry VII John Cabot Fact 8:

In 1496 Henry VII gave John Cabot written authority, in the form of a patent, to sail under the English flag and to discover and explore previously unknown islands and countries.

John Cabot Fact 9:

On 2nd May 1497 he sailed from Bristol aboard his fifty ton ship, the Matthew. He planned to sail west across the Atlantic and find a route to China and the Indies.

John Cabot Fact 10:

Fifty days later, in June 1497, John Cabot reached the east coast of North America. The location of the landing is unknown, but it is generally believed to be either Cape Breton Island or Labrador. He went ashore and claimed the land for England.

John Cabot Fact 11:

Cabot began the return leg of his journey on 26th June 1497, arriving back in Bristol on 6th August

Picture of King Henry VII

John Cabot Fact   12: He was rewarded with a gift of £10, a pension of £20 and the gratitude of King Henry VII.

John Cabot Fact   13: In February 1498 John Cabot was granted a patent for a second expedition, and began making preparations.

John Cabot Fact 14:
John Cabot and a fleet of five ships left Bristol in May 1498. One of the ships was forced to land in Ireland having been caught in a storm, however the others carried on.

John Cabot Fact 15:
The fate of John Cabot and his fleet from this point on has remained the subject of great speculation. It was believed for many years that the fleet was lost at sea, however some historians are now claiming that he reached and explored the east coast of Canada. Documents appearing to place him in London in 1500 have also been located but not yet published.

John Cabot the Explorer (c1450 - c1500) Fun Facts Info for Kids !

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