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Sebastian Cabot

Picture of Sebastian Cabot

Picture of Sebastian Cabot

Short Biography of the life of Sebastian Cabot - Explorer, Cartographer and Navigator
The following biography information provides basic facts about the life Sebastian Cabot:

  • Nationality - Italian-born English explorer
  • Lifespan - 1474 - 1557

  • Family - Father was John Cabot . Two brothers - Ludovico and Sancto Cabot
  • Education - Well educated
  • Career - Explorer, Cartographer and Navigator
  • Famous for : Searching for the Northwest passage across North America, attempting to circumnavigate the world and making expeditions to Russia

Facts, Timeline & History about the life of Sebastian Cabot - Explorer, Cartographer and Navigator
The following are additional facts and a timeline about the life and history of Sebastian Cabot:

  • 1474: Sebastian Cabot ( Sebastiano Caboto ) was born in the Italian port of Venice
  • Sebastian Cabot was the son of the famous explorer John Cabot
  • The  Italian word ‘Caboto’ means “a coastal seaman” which was quite a common name given to sailors and navigators
  • Sebastian Cabot had two brothers called Ludovico and Sancto Cabot
  • His mother's name was Mattea
  • Sebastian Cabot came from a family who were merchants in the lucrative spice trade
  • His father, John Cabot, had access to Italian seamen and the ships which had sailed to the East from Venice. John Cabot was ambitious and 'cut out the middle man', travelling the spice trade routes himself and then selling the spices on his return
  • 1490's: Sebastian Cabot moved with his family from Venice, Italy to Bristol in England
    • Bristol was an important European port and city
    • Bristol faced West and had a history of ship building with many experienced sailors living in the area
  • Sebastian Cabot became involved in the family business and would have learnt about cartography, navigation, astronomy, mathematics and seamanship in his early life
  • 1497 May 2: John Cabot embarked on his ship, the Matthew, to explore the lands across the Atlantic, hoping to find a sea route, a north west passage to the Indies and China. King Henry VII had granted John Cabot the right to 'seek islands and countries of the heathen towards the west, east, and north', with five ships sailing under the English flag
  • Sebastian Cabot claimed to have sailed with his father on this famous voyage of discovery on the ship the Matthew to the New World
  • John Cabot and his son Sebastian returned safely to England where John Cabot was rewarded by the King. Sebastian's father made a second voyage in 1498, but died shortly after his return
  • So Sebastian Cabot had a famous father who was known to the King and courtiers of England and to the merchants who traded in spices.
  • Sebastian Cabot had skills as a map maker, or cartographer, and had experienced voyages of exploration
  • Sebastian Cabot married a woman called Juana ( Joanna ) by whom he had a daughter Elizabeth. His wife died in 1514 and he re-married in Spain in 1525
  • 1508: Sebastian Cabot leads an English expedition in search of a Northwest passage across North America ( but there is some doubt that this journey actually occurred)
  • We next hear about Sebastian Cabot in 1512
  • 1512 May: Sebastian Cabot accompanied the English army of King Henry VIII against France as a map maker, or cartographer
  • Sebastian Cabot was paid twenty shillings "for making a carde of Gascoigne and Guyenne"
    • Instructions to make a carde "shall devide all the superficiall parte of the Carde into perfect squares or quadratures," allowing a more precise representation of earth or sea
  • 1512 September: Sebastian Cabot is invited to the court of Spain to advise the King's councillors about the coast of Newfoundland
  • 1512 October 30: King Fredinand appoints Sebastian Cabot as a captain in the Spanish navy
  • Sebastian Cabot moves to Spain with his wife and daughter
  • March 1514:  Preparations were underway for Sebastain Cabot to lead a Spanish expedition to Newfoundland - the date was set for March 1516
  • 1516 January: King Ferdinand dies and the proposed expedition to Newfoundland planned for March is postponed
  • Sebastian Cabot remains in Spain
  • 1518 February: Charles V of Spain appoints Sebastian Cabot Pilot Major and official examiner of pilots
  • 1520: Sebastian Cabot visits England and the court of King Henry VIII.  The niece of Charles V is the Queen of England, Katherine of Aragon
  • Thomas Wolsey offers him the command of five vessels on an expedition to Newfoundland but Sebastian Cabot declines and returns to Spain
  • Sebastian Cabot enters secret discussions with Venice, Italy in order to conduct an expedition for his own country to find the north-west passage to China but plans for the expedition come to nothing
  • 1525 : Sebastian Cabot re-married. The name of his Spanish wife was Catalina de Medrano
  • 1525 March 4: Sebastian Cabot was appointed commander of a Spanish expedition to leave from Seville "to discover the Moluccas ( the Spice Islands), Tarsis, Ophir, Cipango and Cathay (China)."
  • 1525 April: Sebastian Cabot is appointed Captain General and leads the Spanish expedition of three ships to the New World to find a sea route to China and the Indies
  • 1525 June: Sebastian Cabot reaches Brazil and sails towards the Straits of Magellan
  • The expedition sails as far as the Rio de la Plata (a river between Argentina and Uruguay in South America)
  • Sebastian Cabot learns of immense riches of gold and silver to be found in the New World
  • 1526 - 1529: The expedition explores the area around the Rio de la Plata and the Parana River instaed of searching for a route to the Indies. The men face hostile Indians and Sebastian Cabot argues and abandons some of his men
  • Hostile natives, lack of food, failure to find any gold or silver and a depleted expedition force Sebastian Cabot to return to Spain
  • 1530 August: Sebastian Cabot returns to Seville. The expedition was seen as a total failure and Sebastian is condemned to two years banishment to Oran in Africa
  • 1533 June: Sebastian Cabot is reinstated in his former post of Pilot Major in Spain
  • 1547: Sebastian Cabot moves back to England where he is appointed Great Pilot (much to the annoyance of the Spanish King)
  • 1551 December: Sebastian Cabot founds the company of Merchant Adventurers which was later renamed as the Muscovy Trading Company
  • 1553 May: Sebastian Cabot is appointed to head an exploration with three ships to search for a passage to the East by the northeast
  • Two of the vessels were caught in the ice near Arzina and the crews frozen to death
  • Sebastian Cabot sailed as far as the White Sea, off the Barents Sea in north-west Russia. He made his way to Moscow and negotiated a trade agreement with Russia
  • 1554: Sebastian Cabot returned to England with news of the trade agreement with Russia
  • 1555 and 1556: Sebastian Cabot  leads two more expeditions to Russia on Trade Missions
  • Sebastian Cabot's ship is called the 'Searchthrift'
  • 1557: The date of death of Sebastian Cabot is uncertain but he was believed to have died in the year 1557

    Famous Explorers - Sebastian Cabot - Explorer, Cartographer and Navigator
    Some interesting facts, timeline and biography information about the History, Life & Times of Sebastian Cabot. Additional details, timelines, facts, history and information about famous European Explorers and events in the great Age of Exploration can be accessed via the Elizabethan Era Sitemap.

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