On This Day

John Cabot

Explorer John Cabot

Profession: Explorer


Why Famous: John Cabot is considered the first European to land on the North American Continent since the Vikings.

Cabot rose to prominence as a Venetian merchant who travelled widely. After leaving Venice due to bad debts he reached England in 1495. In 1496 he was granted a royal patent to search for new lands under the flag of England, by King Henry VII.

Cabot departed from the port of Bristol in 1497 aboard his ship the Matthew and reached the coast of what is though to be Newfoundland in June of 1498. He returned to England and was reward by the king.

Cabot set off on another voyage in 1498 but was either unsuccessful or lost at sea.

Birthplace: Genoa, Liguria, Italy

Historical Events

  • 1496-03-05 English King Henry VII grants John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto) a commission to explore for new lands
  • 1497-05-02 John Cabot's expedition departs Bristol searching for new lands across the Atlantic
  • 1497-06-24 John Cabot claims Eastern Canada for England (believes he has found Asia in Nova Scotia)
  • 1497-08-06 Italian explorer John Cabot returns to Bristol from North America (Newfoundland) - first European to do so since the Vikings
  • 1497-08-10 John Cabot tells King Henry VII of his trip to "Asia"

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