Saturday, October 30, 2010

Italian bank financed Cabot voyage to Canada, new research shows

Italy has just moved from the periphery toward centre stage in the opening act of Canadian history. Historians probing medieval archives and a dead scholar's research notes have unearthed surprising new details about the financing of John Cabot's 1497 expedition across the Atlantic Ocean -- the voyage that led to the European rediscovery of Canada some 500 years after the Vikings landed on Newfoundland's shores.

Cabot's landmark journey to the New World aboard the Matthew, completed just five years after Italian-Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus had reached the Americas in 1492, has been viewed by historians as a wholly English enterprise -- despite Cabot's Italian birth -- because of the ship's departure from Bristol and the royal charter granted to the transplanted sailor by King Henry VII.

But a team of researchers led by University of Bristol historian Evan Jones says it has found documents proving Cabot's voyage was made possible by a loan from a London-based Italian bank -- recasting the famous 15th-century expedition as more of a multinational endeavour and rewriting the first chapter of the story of Canada.

Click here to read this article from the Calgary Herald