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What is the history of John Cabot's travels?

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Quick Answer

John Cabot made two voyages to the New World from England, making landfall in Newfoundland, Cape Breton Island or southern Labrador during the first. Cabot never completed his second voyage; historians believe he died in a shipwreck.

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Full Answer

Giovanni Caboto, known as John Cabot in English, was born in Genoa in the middle of the 15th century and moved to Venice while still a child. He was a merchant for much of his early life, and likely traded around the eastern Mediterranean. Like Christopher Columbus, Cabot considered the possibility of traveling west to reach Asia as an alternative to the current eastern routes.

Cabot disappeared from the historical record for the next few decades before resurfacing in Bristol, England in 1495. Soon after, he began his first voyage to the New World. After traveling across the Atlantic Ocean for a month, Cabot made landfall on the North American coast, although the exact location is disputed. Cabot believed he had reached the northern coast of Asia, and soon returned to England.

For his second voyage, Cabot planned to sail until reaching Japan. Of his five ships, one landed in Ireland, severely damaged after a storm. The other four were not found and presumably sank.

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