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John Cabot was a Venetian navigator and explorer. He was known as Giovanni Caboto in Italian, John Cabot in English and as Zuan Chabotto in Venetian. In attempting to find a direct route to Asia, Cabot became the first early modern European to discover North America.
See the fact file below for more information on John Cabot or alternatively, you can download our 26-page John Cabot worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Giovanni Caboto, in English named John Cabot, was born in Italy around 1450 A.D.
- His father was Giulio Caboto and he had a brother named Piero.
- Cabot’s family moved to Venice when he was 11 where he was taught navigation and sailing from Italian seamen. He also spent time in Seville, Spain, where he worked building a stone bridge.
- Gaeta (in the Province of Latina) and Castiglione Chiavarese (in the Province of Genoa) have both been proposed as birthplaces of John Cabot.
- In 1471, Cabot was accepted into the religious confraternity of St John the Evangelist. This was one of the city’s prestigious confraternities, and his acceptance suggests that he was already a respected member of the community.
- In 1474, John Cabot married a Venetian girl, Mattea, and they had three sons: Ludovico, Sancto and Sebastiano. Sebastiano would later follow in his father’s footsteps, becoming an explorer in his own right.
Sebastiano said that his father originally came from Genoa.
- Cabot fell into financial trouble in the late 1480s and left Venice as an insolvent debtor by 5 November 1488.
- He moved to Valencia, Spain, where his creditors attempted to have him arrested. While in Valencia, John Cabot proposed plans for improvements to the harbor. These proposals were rejected.
- Early in 1494, he moved to Seville where he pitched for, was contracted to build and, for five months, worked on the construction of a stone bridge over the Guadalquivir river.
- After this, Cabot appears to have sought support from the Iberian crowns of Seville and Lisbon for an Atlantic expedition, before moving to London to seek funding and political support. He likely reached England in mid-1495.
- Hearing of opportunities in England, Cabot traveled there and met with King Henry VII, the Tudor King of England, who gave him a grant to “seeke out, discover, and finde” new lands under the English flag.
- In early May of 1497, Cabot left Bristol, England, on the Matthew, a fast and able ship weighing 50 tons, with a crew of 18 men. Cabot and his crew sailed west and north, under Cabot’s belief that the route to Asia would be shorter from northern Europe than Columbus’ voyage along the trade winds.
- In June 1497, fifty days later, John Cabot reached the east coast of North America. The location of the landing is unknown but it is generally believed to be either Cape Breton Island or Labrador. He went ashore and claimed the land for England.
- John Cabot explored the area and named some regions, including Cape Discovery, Island of St. John, St. George’s Cape, Trinity Islands and England’s Cape. These may correspond to modern-day places located around what became known as Cabot Strait, between southwestern Newfoundland and northern Cape Breton Island.
- John Cabot arrived back in Bristol on 6th August, 1497. He was rewarded with a gift of £10, a pension of £20 and the gratitude of King Henry VII.
- In London, later in 1497, Cabot proposed to King Henry VII that he set out on a second expedition across the North Atlantic. This time, he would continue westward from his first landfall until he reached the island of Cipangu (Japan).
- In February 1498, King Henry VII issued letters patent for John Cabot’s second voyage and that May Cabot set off from Bristol with about five ships and 200 men.
- Some of the ships were said to be carrying merchandise, including cloth, caps, lace points and other “trifles”. John Cabot intended to engage in trade on this expedition. In July, one of the ships was caught in a storm and was forced to land in Ireland, but Cabot and the other four ships continued.
- Historians have long debated exactly where Cabot explored. The records of Cabot are scarce and full of uncertainties mainly due to the fact that he never kept any form of diary or captain’s log.
- The London merchant named Hugh Say suggested Cabot made landfall around southern Labrador and northernmost Newfoundland, then worked his way southeast along the coast until he reached the Avalon Peninsula, at which point he began the journey home.
- There were also reports that Cabot had found an enormous new fishery. The fish was cod and their abundance on the Grand Banks later lay the foundation for Newfoundland’s fishing industry.
- It is not known if Cabot died during the voyage or returned safely and died shortly after, but historian Alwyn Ruddock suggests that Cabot and his expedition successfully returned to England in the spring of 1500.
Modern Day: John Cabot University
- John Cabot University is a small American liberal arts university in the Trastevere district of Rome, Italy.
- The university was named after the Venetian explorer Giovanni Caboto, better known by the English form of his name.
- The university has three campuses in central Rome, namely Guarini Campus, Tiber Campus and Caroline Critelli Guarini Campus.
- It was founded in 1972 as a small affiliate program with Hiram College, before becoming its own independent university in 1991 and earning accreditation in 2003. Until about 1991, it was known as John Cabot International College.
John Cabot Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about John Cabot across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use John Cabot worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about John Cabot who was a Venetian navigator and explorer. He was known as Giovanni Caboto in Italian, John Cabot in English and as Zuan Chabotto in Venetian. In attempting to find a direct route to Asia, Cabot became the first early modern European to discover North America.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- John Cabot Facts
- Just John
- John’s Family Tree
- 50 Days Later
- Well Equipped
- John’s Journey
- Cabot Crossword
- Word Hunt
- Turn of Events
- Captain’s Log
- I am Legend John Cabot
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Link will appear as John Cabot Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 20, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.