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fl. 1461-98, English explorer, probably b. Genoa, Italy. He became a citizen of Venice in 1476 and engaged in the Eastern trade of that city. This experience, it is assumed, was the stimulus of his later explorations. Like Columbus (though there is no evidence that either influenced the other), he apparently believed that the riches of East Asia might be more easily reached by sailing west. He went to England, probably in the 1480s, and resided chiefly at Bristol, a port then promising as a base for discovery. Under a patent granted by Henry VII (Mar. 5, 1496), Cabot sailed from Bristol in 1497 and discovered the North American coast, touching at Cape Breton Island or Newfoundland. In 1498 he again sailed for America to explore the coast. The fate of the expedition is unknown, although there is presumptive evidence that it reached America and that some of its members returned. The English claims in North America were based on his discovery. His son was Sebastian

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