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John Cabot


1476  Cabot granted citizenship of Venice (15 years residency to qualify).

Married to Venetian woman, Mattea; had three sons, eldest Sebastian.

1488  In debt, faced prison, did a runner to Valencia.

Cabot on record as being involved in a building project, to improve the town’s harbour.

 1493 Christopher Columbus passes through en-route to Barcelona, for an audience with the King and Queen of Spain, having discovered the New World the previous year. 

Later in the year the harbour project fails and debtors catch up with him, so he does another runner, this time to Seville.

1494  Involved in project to build a bridge over the main river linking Seville to the Atlantic (guadalquivir). Bristol imports 30% of its wine from Seville, so strong commercial link between cities.

Bridge project fails and Cabot is ordered to leave the city in December this year.

1495  Arrives in Bristol. Spends the year networking then visits London towards the end of the year.

1496  5th March, Official licence signed by King Henry VII, which grants Cabot to sail with free and full authority to find , discover and investigate…

1496  (Summer months)  First voyage fails due to lack of provisions and bad weather. Bristol crew turn back home.

1497  (May)  Sets sail on the Mathew with crew of 18 / 20, with enough provisions for 7 / 8 months.

Discovers land 24th June, probably Nova Scotia. Returned to Bristol on the 6th August.

1498  (Early May) Sets sail again with five ship convoy. Never heard of again according to English records.

1499 Spain gave authority to Alonso de Hojeda to sail with three ships and intercept Cabot. Spanish historian Martin Fernandez Navarette is certain that Hojeda encountered certain Englishmen in the vicinity of Coquibacoa (south of Hispaniola).


N.B. These notes came Steve Spear. They were background notes for the old city historic walk.