July 6, 2022
Giovanni Caboto (c. 1455–1499), also known as John Cabot, was an Italian-born explorer who made his voyage under the English flag. He was the first European since the Vikings to visit Canada, and the second European on the North American continent, arriving just a week after Amerigo Vespucci. Caboto was probably born near Naples, but moved to Venice and in 1482 married a Venetian woman. He engaged in foreign trade in the ports of the eastern Mediterranean and developed into a skilled seafarer. Around 1490, Caboto and his family moved to Spain and tried to join the Spanish and Portuguese expeditions of discovery. He was not taken care of, so the Cabots moved to England in the mid-1490s. They settled among the merchants of Bristol. These had already financed expeditions of discovery in the past. However, Caboto received official blessing for his project and King Henry VII ordered him on his journey in 1496. In 1497, Caboto left Bristol in search of a sea route to India, and ended up in Newfoundland instead. The following year he set out again with five ships, none of which returned.