Just who discovered America's mainland? As Ian Wilson shows in John Cabot and the Matthew, it was John Cabot, and a West Country crew of just 18, who left Bristol, England in May 1497. Sailing for 35 days, they reached the North American mainland in June. Up to that time, and for more than a year after, Columbus had only found West Indian Islands, and to his dying day continued to believe that these belonged to Asia. Ian Wilson suggests that Bristol mariners may even have found the American offshore island of Newfoundland as early as the 1480's, well before Columbus landed in the West Indies. John Cabot, however, was a discoverer in the mould of Columbus, ambitious to find a new, Atlantic route to Asia. After his first expeditions success he set off in 1498 with a full fleet of five vessels. Had they retu ed Cabot's name would surely rank above Columbus's in the history books? But it was not to be. A dark pal of mystery has hung over what exactly happened to Cabot and his ships, a mystery which Ian Wilson tries to unravel in the context of the trading rivalry-and espionage-between the great maritime nations of England, Spain, and Portugal. And he speculates on a subject dear to Bristolian hearts-did America get its name from the Bristol customs official Richard Ameryk, who was Cabot's paymaster, rather than the less likely Florentine, Amerigo Vespucci. John Cabot and the Matthew has been published to mark the 500th anniversary of Cabot's voyage, and the building of the replica Matthew. Ian Wilson, who lived in Bristol for 26 years, is the best selling author of such books as The Turin Shroud, Jesus: The Evidence, The Undiscovered (a review of lost cities, sunken ships, and unlocated tombs waiting to be found again) and the Columbus Myth.
Item Publish Date: 1996 / 02 / 29
Measurements: 8 in X 8 in X 14 mm
Weight: 0.44 kg
Page Count: 72