John and Sebastian Cabot were Italian sailors who were early explorers of North America. Like Columbus, John Cabot sought sponsors for his voyage outside Italy and in 1496 was commissioned by Henry VII Tudor to sailed for the new world. In 1497 he is thought to have landed in Canada, which gave England a claim to North America. His son Sebastian also sailed for England and was one of the first of many who sailed under the British flag in search of the 'Northwest Passage.'
Sources of Information for John and Sebastian Cabot
As the various authorities consulted in the preparation of this book appear in the footnotes and throughout the text, it is deemed hardly necessary to refer to them in detail. The so-called Flateyar-Bok, or Codex Flateyensis, is reproduced in Reeve's Finding of Wineland the Good, and in Professor Rafn's. Antiquatates Americanae, the latter published at Copenhagen in 1837, in the original Icelandic, with Latin and Danish translations. The first writer of recent times, it is said, to call attention to the Icelandic voyages to America, was Arngrim Jonsson, in his Crymogaea (Hamburg, 1610); but the "first to bring the subject prominently before European readers" was Thormodus Torfaeus, in two books, the Historia Vinlandiae Antiquae, and of Graenlandiae Antiquae (Copenhagen, 1705 and 1706).
Referring to the Cabots, the writers making first mention of them were, in chronologic sequence: Peter Martyr, in his Decades, 1524; Gomara, in the Historia General de las Indias, 1552; Richard Eden, in his reprint of the Decades, in 1555, said to be the first account in English which has descended to the present time; Hakluyt's Divers Voyages Touching the Discovery of America, 1582; amplified in his Principal Navigations and Discoveries of the English Nation, 1589; Purchas, in his Pilgrimage, 1613, etc.
Modern works are numerous, but deserving of mention axe: Richard Biddle's Sebastian Cabot, 1831—a valuable and critical study of the subject, but with a strong and unwarranted bias in favor of its hero; Harrisse's Jean et Sebastien Cabot, 1882; Tarducci's John and Sebastian Cabot, translated by H. E. Browning, Detroit, 1893; The Discovery of North America, by G. E. Weare, I897; the last two most excellent works; the former particularly full, fair, and exhaustive.