An explorative perspective

Zuan or Giovanni or John?

Giovanni Caboto (Zuan Chabotto) (1450-1500?), probably born in Genoa from a Venetian family, moved to England in 1490. Known as Giovanni or Zuan (Venetian) he became known as John Cabot in England. He settled in Bristol, the second-largest seaport in England, looking to raise funds for exploration trips.

John Cabot statue, Bristol, July 2020

In May 1497, with the support of King Henry VII, Cabot sailed west from Bristol on the Matthew in the hope of finding a route to Asia. In June, he sighted land, called it New-found-land and claimed it for England.

Upon his return to England, he quickly planned a second expedition and set out in May 1498, this time with a fleet of four or five ships. The success of the expedition is unclear, as he did not return. It is generally believed that he did reach North America but was unable to make the return voyage across the Atlantic. However, we do have a replica of the ship he made his first exploration journey on.

Replica of Matthew, Bristol, July 2020

 


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Copyright Debbie Smyth, 25 July 2020

Posted as part of SquarePerspectives

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