John Cabot

John Cabot was one of the most famous explorers and navigators of his time. He was the second European after Christopher Columbus to explore North America and for thinking that sailing west from Europe was the shorter route to Asia.

He was Italian born and his name was actually Giovanni Caboto. He was born in Genoa, Italy in 1450. Exact date of his birth is not confirmed. He belonged to a wealthy merchant family and his father Giulio Caboto was a spice merchant. In 1461 John Cabot moved to Venice with his family.


Quick Facts: –

  • In 1496, King Henry VII gave permission to John Cabot to sail under the English flag and to discover and explore new lands.
  • He attempted his first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in the summer of 1496. Very little is known about this expedition.
  • On the 2nd of May 1497 he sailed from Bristol aboard his ship named “The Matthew” weighing 50 tons.
  • He sighted the North American coast on June 24th 1497 and called it the New-found land which he claimed for the King of England.
  • In 1474 he married a lady named Mattea. They had three sons together: Ludovico, Sancto and Sebastiano.
  • John Cabot received Venetian citizenship in 1476 after having lived in Venice for 15 years.
  • Cabot was granted a patent for a further expedition in February 1498.
  • He started this other expedition in May 1498 to discover Japan with a fleet of five ships.
  • Some historians believe that the fleet was lost at sea and some believe that Cabot eventually reached the east coast of Canada.