Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
Giovanni Caboto was born at the perfect time in history around 1450. He was going to become an adult when new discoveries were abounding and the chance to make a name for yourself was high. This young Italian man would in later years be known throughout history as John Cabot.
With the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus Europe was in an uproar to find Asia and explore this new land. Due to many reasons including financial, Caboto moved to England where his name became John Cabot, the English version of Giovanni Caboto. With Cabotís sailing experience from his time in Italy, the king of England commissioned him to find Asia.
Cabotís theory was to go further north than Columbus. Though Columbus firmly believed that he had reached Asia, the popular thought was that he had hit a small landmass between Europe and Asia. Though it wasnít a discovery to be ignored, it was not what Europe was looking for. If Cabot went further north, he would miss the land mass that Columbus had stumbled upon and have a greater chance to reach Asia.
In truth, Cabotís thoughts were right. Columbus had landed on islands located in the Caribbean. He had only discovered a small landmass compared to what was out there. Cabotís theory of taking a more northerly route brought him directly to mainland America. John Cabot became the first European since the Vikings that touched the shores of North America.
Like many explorers, Cabot had thought that he had found Asia. It had to be in his mind. Though he did not find the people and the spices that he had expected, there was no doubt in his mind that he had found Asia.
To most Europeans the world was smaller than it actually was. Scientists had calculated that Asia was closer than in reality. Therefore, there could not be such a large land mass between the two cultures. Land was found. Conclusion was that Asia was discovered.
Upon returning to England, Cabot was honored by all. He had found the way to Asia where others had failed. After receiving multiple honors in his new home country, Cabot was sent out again to find Japan. What he found was disappointment.
There were no beautiful Asian cities to be found. There was only forest upon forest. Cabot returned to England empty handed without having found the way to Asia. He remained in England where he died shortly in 1499.
Though it might seem that Cabot failed in his two voyages, he had successes on a lot of levels. He was the first person after Columbus to land in the New World and stake claim. England received its first New World claim somewhere around the Newfoundland area. It was only after Cabotís voyages that the desire to find the Northwest Passage to Asia sparked many more voyages that led to extensive explorations of the New World. Cabotís voyage brought economic stimulus by his discovery of the Grand Banks which to this day is a fishing paradise.
John Cabot was an explorer , who like many others, did not find out what he set out to but instead found so much more. He was such an inspiration that even one of his sons took up the mantle and explored.