EXPLORER OF THE NEW WORLD: John Cabot

John Cabot

by NA

John Cabot made the first English voyage to North America. His voyage, in 1497, gave England a claim to the mainland of North America and led to the founding of the English colonies of America. Cabot was born in Genoa, Italy. His Italian name was Giovanni Cabot. As a boy he moved to Venice, Italy with his parents.

He grew up there and became a map maker and a trader. Cabot got married and had three sons. He moved to Bristol, England in the 1400s and was living there when Cristobal Colon made his historic voyage to America for Spain in 1492. People assumed that Colon had reached the Indians which now called the East in Asia.

Cabot believed there was a shorter rough Colon had taken. He dreamed of crossing the Atlantic Ocean farther North and bringing spices and riches from Asia.

In May 1497, in a small ship, The Matthew ship with a crew of 18 men. He sighted land on June 24. Cabot probably reached either Newfoundland or Cape Briton Island, which now is called Nova Scotia. He claimed the land for England.

Cabot believed he had reached Asia. Although he did not find the spices and riches he had hoped for. But he did find the important fishing area which now is called The Grand Banks.