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PREFACE to The Myth and Mystery of John Cabot

When in September 1992 I began the task of researching and writing the story of John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto) and his various voyages, I did not realize that information on his life and times was as incomplete as my later research confirmed. However, as I read about the times in which he lived and his business associates, a picture of Cabot began to emerge from the shadows. Cabot was, apart from being an experienced sea captain, also a noted chart and globe maker. He was also an astute businessman, interested in business deals which had a good chance of success. The jewel in the crown of his business life was, of course, the letters patent from Henry VII in 1496 giving him permission to sail west in search of the east. As a master mariner and leader, he was able to inspire confidence in all with whom he came into contact, even Henry VII. It is not known for certain where John Cabot died. Some reports say he never returned from the voyage or 1498. Other reports suggest he did return and because he did not find the land of the spices, he fell out of favour and died in obscurity. Whatever happened to John Cabot in his final days is lost to history. What lives on is his place in history as the discoverer of North America.

HENRY K. GIBBONS
PORT AUX BASQUES
NEWFOUNDLAND
OCTOBER 1996

Chapter One - Before John Cabot's Voyage of Discovery


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