Commonly known as John Cabot, few facts are certain about Giovanni Caboto early years. Most sources state his birthplace as Genoa, citing the family name that was common to the area. Other sources mention Gaeta, near Naples. The years of his birth and death also vary.
He spent his childhood in Venice, and in the early 1480's married. Caboto worked as a merchant and in the spice business, fostering his interest in trade and exploration. Like Columbus, Caboto was interested in finding a shorter route to the east, and after Columbus' return to Spain in 1493, Caboto appealed to both Spain and Portugal for financial backing. Denied by both, he headed to England and received backing from King Henry VII, sailing as John Cabot. In 1497, in his second attempt, Caboto sailed northwest and landed on the North American continent claiming the "new found land" for the king of England. During his third attempt in 1498, Cabot and his five ships disappeared.
The Cabot Dilemma
Written by Janice Mancuso