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Posted by on Apr 9, 2020 in TellMeWhy |

Who Was John Cabot and How Did His Discovery Impacted the World?

Who Was John Cabot and How Did His Discovery Impacted the World?

John Cabot was an Italian navigator and explorer. Because he lived in several different countries, he has different names. In Italian, he is known as Giovanni Caboto, and in Venetian, he is known as Zuan Chabotto. In English, his name is John Cabot. He is famous for being the first European to land on the mainland North America. Christopher Columbus was the first to discover the New World, but he landed on an island, not the mainland North America.

John Cabot (1450 – c. 1500), and his son Sebastian (1476-1557), in 1497 made the discovery of the coast of North America under the commission of Henry VII of England which is the earliest known European exploration of coastal North America since the Norse visits to Vinland in the eleventh century.

They sailed west in search of a route to Asia and discovered Cape Breton Island and subsequently Newfoundland (1498). After John’s death Sebastian worked as a navigator and cartographer for Henry VIII and the king of Spain. He explored the coast of South America and found the Merchant Adventurers Company in London. To mark the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Cabot’s expedition, both the Canadian and British governments elected Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland, as representing Cabot’s first landing site. However, alternative locations have also been proposed.

Cabot’s discoveries under the English crown dramatically helped England to get their first colonies in the New World. Cabot’s adventurism and explorations blazed a trail for future explorers to refine maps and discover the true gravity of his and Columbus’s discoveries. These colonies that Cabot helped establish have become modern day America and Canada. Also with the establishment of colonies in the New World, that was made possible by Cabot, Canada and Northern America were Europeanized before other parts of the New World. In his honor, there was a statue erected in Port Bristol of Cabot, holding a map in his hand, looking out to sea. Also, in his home country of Italy, in the city of Rome, there was a college named after him that still provides education today.

By sailing to newly found land in the Americas under the English flag John Cabot solidified his name in history. His discoveries led to the colonization of Canada, Labrador, and Cape Breton Island. Though he did not accomplish his goal of reaching Asia by a northwest sea route he was the first recorded sailor to venture that far north and return.

Content for this question contributed by Michele Mazanec, resident of Sagamore Hills, Summit County, Ohio, USA