Cabot’s Voyages (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: England begins to sponsor exploration and land claims in North America.
Summary of Event
The late fifteenth century was an age of intense, increasingly national rivalry in Europe. When it became known that Christopher Columbus, by sailing west, had landed on a hitherto unknown coast, all the nations fronting the Atlantic became interested in exploring the New World and laying claim to some of the lands that Spain and Portugal planned to reserve for themselves. England, at peace after the Wars of the Roses, with a strong government headed by the canny monarch Henry VII, had no intention of being left out. Like other monarchs of the era, Henry was willing to use the services of good seamen whenever they were available. He turned to an Italian, John Cabot, to begin his outreach for a piece of the New World.
Very little is known about John Cabot. No portrait, no personal description of him, no letter, not even a signature has been found. The assiduous researches of several scholars have, however, turned up a few facts. It is reasonable to conclude that Cabot was born in Genoa, nursery of seamen, possibly in 1450, a year before Columbus. In 1484, he was married and living in Venice, where he had resided the fifteen years required to gain Venetian citizenship. Between 1490 and 1493, a John Cabot, possibly the navigator, resided in Valencia, Spain. In 1495, Cabot was in England trying to interest...
(The entire section is 1698 words.)
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